Bhutto’s sanitized assassination

In Culture, Politics, The news biz on December 29, 2007 at 8:51 pm

As has become the norm, American media clean up images of people killed in war or terror attacks. Even Wonkette has taken notice:

During the interview, they showed one of the photographs I swore mainstream media wouldn’t show you (and the one the editors of the New York Times had the stones to put unedited on the front page above the fold this morning). But, did they really show you?

The debate over whether to show the grisly reality of death crops up every time a highly public killing takes place. The last one I recall was after the train bombing in Madrid. Unretouched photos showed body parts scattered about. Some (particularly American) newspapers ran photos that were blurred or retouched to hide the blood.My opinion is, if you’re going to run the photo, don’t fake it.

However, I recognize that, from a purely marketing perspective, readers don’t respond well to gore. One of the worst-moving editions of SmartNews featured soldiers who were burn victims. The photo on the cover wasn’t totally horrifying, but it was arresting — and people didn’t really like it.

Thanks to Robb Montgomery for posting the Wonkette link on Facebook.

  1. It is better we not see it. What about the children? I do not have to think of the horrors and abuses occurring in the world if I cannot see them. The media companies keep their FCC licenses if they do not project imagery that may call into question the U.S. involvement in foreign affairs. It is easier that way, for all.

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