Saturday, October 22, 2011

NEWS BREAK: But Why Graphic Images of the News?

We don't have cable at home. There are lots of reasons for it, but a top issue I have with television these days is the depths into which it has sunk in the name of "entertainment" or "news sharing." We used to watch sports - they're fairly safe - but then the ads for prime time shows started showing the graphic violence rather than just alluding to it. Really? Do you have to show the shootings and slashings and slayings for late-night shows during prime time viewing? During morning games?

But we're in a hotel tonight. We have cable. There's cable in nearly every restaurant or sports bar we pass. Images splash on screens whether we want to see them or not. Images are displayed on screen regardless of the audience at hand, with no thought to the people - particularly children, but we're all affected - exposed to them.

So, the news of Muammar Gaddafi's death was, certainly news, but it was in very poor taste for the mass media to project images of his body, for a butcher shop in Libya to set the body out for display and further image sharing via twits and tweets and posts. Where will it end? Why must we show these images (and not once, but repeatedly and at length in loop or otherwise)? My children certainly don't need to see it. I don't need to see it. You don't need to see it.

Really.

You don't.

When I was in journalism school, we talked about the ethics related to presenting in whatever format images of the deceased. As recently as the 1990s, if you wouldn't want to view the image over your breakfast with the family, they shouldn't be posted on the front page (or any other page). WERE there images of the dead published? Sure. Were they as graphic as our nightly news offers these days? Not typically. But that's gone out the window. In the name of what?

If your father, mother, sister, brother, best friend were killed, would YOU really want to see graphic images of that event? Would you want those graphic images displayed for all to see? Would you want his or her body displayed for all to photograph and share in any way the gore-mongers saw fit? Really? How about YOUR body?

When it comes down to it, Gaddafi was a man, a father, a husband, a friend (to someone at sometime surely). He was, at some time in his life, a lover, a boy, a son. He was a human being.

I know I have family and friends who think I've gone off the deep end in sheltering my children (and myself when possible) from the tragic images our news media and entertainment media (is there a difference anymore?) consider of value. I know they're wrong. I know that images of war, death, gruesome acts serve no purpose but to scar those who otherwise would not come in contact with it. We can be educated about these things without viewing them, considering them forms of entertainment, making games out of them. War, death, murder - they're not games.

Not now.

Not ever.

1 comment:

  1. Totally agree with the news blog...

    ReplyDelete

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