American media obsession with showing dead bodies of everyone but their own

American media obsession with showing dead bodies of everyone but their own


Try as you may, you won’t see a photo of a dead American citizen published on any of the country’s top media websites or splashed on their TV screens.

But the same international journalists who exercise restraint when it is them on the receiving end do not extend the same courtesy to other people across the globe.

You can believe The New York Times when they say they publish photos of dead bodies“to give our readers a clear picture of the horror of an attack like this” but we all know they are flat out lying.

The New York Times came under attack after publishing a gory photo of victims of the 14 Riverside terrorist attack.

The image shows four people hunched over after being shot dead by the attackers who stormed the Dusit hotel complex at 3pm on Tuesday, 15 January.

When emailed about the issue by Citizen Digital, Zach Montague, a senior NYT editor said: “We take the same approach wherever in the world something like this happens — whether it’s a mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nev., or a terror attack in Toronto or London — balancing the need for sensitivity and respect with our mission of showing the reality of these events.”

But a quick check of how they have covered stories of killings in other parts of the world tells a different story.

Take the Las Vegas story where Stephen Paddock carried out the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds of others at a music festival, for example.

There is not a single image of a dead person from the attack that happened on the night of October 1, 2017.

Next, I checked their coverage of the London terrorist attack where a total of 52 people lost their lives when four suicide bombers attacked central London.

Here, the New York Times did publish a photo of a dead person but it was one of the terrorists with a cop standing over him.

Unless you read the caption, it is hard to tell if he has been pinned to the ground alive or dead and it was taken at night so that still does not hold water.

Let’s move over to the Toronto terrorist attack which they carried with the header “Toronto Van Driver Kills at Least 10 People in ‘Pure Carnage’.

Also here, as is expected, not a single photo of a body was published on their website or social media platforms yet this despicable act happened on the streets of Toronto.

Even going back to September 11, 2001, not a single image of a dead person from the attack that shook the world and killed thousands.

The issue of the “The Falling Man”, a photograph taken by Associated Press photographer Richard Drew of a man falling from the North Tower of the World Trade Center to his death after the terrorist attack drew so much ire from the media and the public.

America, on average, has a mass shooting every single day and while the media does cover the stories, they never at any point show images of the dead and I will quote them here: “to give our readers a clear picture of the horror of an attack like this.”

The Media Council of Kenya has “A handbook on reporting terrorism in Kenya” which outlines rules on how journalists should cover such incidents.

“Publication of photographs showing mutilated bodies, bloody incidents and abhorrent scenes shall be avoided unless the publication or broadcast of such photographs will serve the public interest,” it says.

There is heavy debate on use of dead bodies in news reporting but majority agree that the dead should not have their images published whatsoever.

Susan Sontag, an American writer, filmmaker, philosopher, teacher, and political activist wrote extensively on why the use of dead bodies never yields the expected results.

In her 2003 book, Regarding the Pain of Others, Susan, who died in 2004, argued that the publication of graphic images, rather than shocking people of conscience into action, such photos might give rise to “opposing responses. A call for peace. A cry for revenge, or simply the bemused awareness, continually restocked by photographic information, that terrible things happen.”

So, dear American media, either you show all bodies of the dead or show none at all.


New York Times

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