Tuesday, February 13, 2007

CNN, CBS, ABC Pimp Dead Woman

Here's where I get into personal quagmires. Should media be transparent? Yes. Should we be able to have access to all the information? Yes.

But if I want to read about a shootout in a mall in Utah, should I have to see this?
CNN Front Page

What if I'm just perusing the news (This image was on the home page of CNN.com)? What if I'm a member of the family who hasn't been called yet?

Okay, I'm over the lone body on the floor. Click the story.
CNN Body Story

Aww, Jesus, man. Going through her pockets? So I check the other sites: CNN, CBS, and NBC have all followed suit. Who did not? Our bastions of decency are MSNBC and FOX News (yes, aware of irony).

I'm all for impropriety. I'm all for shaking up the establishment. Hell, I've even written about bottles up arses. But this is someone's daughter/mother. There's a certain level of decency that needs to be taken into account when these images hit the newsroom. That I see them on the front page disregards that decency, disregards common respect.

Question: Would it be wrong to show the dead shooter? Or: Would it be less wrong to show the victim of the shooting if we could be emotionally vindicated by the pool of blood surrounding the kid in the trench?

So, CNN, CBS, and ABC: WTF? These pictures came from a photographer to the Deseret Morning News, sold on to AP, sold to you. You chose to post them. I can even sympathize with needing to bring the immediacy of the situation home to us. But give us readers fair warning.

After Columbine we were introduced to a new spectre: The Trench Coat Killer(s). This faded and came back in fits and starts, mostly in other school shootings. "Troubled Goth Teen Who Listens to Industrial Music and the Cure Picked on, Kills 2 With Gun and Trench Coat." Or something like that. It's back.

Let's make it clear, though: the trench coat is not a marker of someone who will kill, simply a symptom of it; no one hides a 12-gauge shotgun in a semi-sheer powder blue microweave windbreaker.

No, it's too late. It's merging with 911 vigilance. There is a part of my brain that will see a suspicious tan-skinned person in a trench coat and I will freeze. And then he will kill me.

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