Monday, January 18, 2010


The recent earthquake in Haiti has wrought havoc and tragedy. Furthermore, the heart-wrenching and graphic images coming out of the impoverished nation are unusual in several respects; specifically, many of the images we have seen disregard the privacy and dignity of the victims, as noted by this article in the Washington Post:
The usual conventions of suggesting rather than displaying trauma seem to have been punctured, at least for now. Bodies caked in dust and plaster, faces covered in blood, the dead stacked in the streets without sheets to hide them -- these are all violations of the unwritten code that death can only be seen, in the established etiquette of the mainstream media, by analogy or metaphor or discreet substitute.

On Friday, The Post ran a picture of a young girl, seen from behind, her torso crushed by the weight of fallen concrete. The New York Times ran a picture of a dead man on a makeshift stretcher, covered in the white dust that makes so many of the bodies -- living or dead -- look sculptural. The BBC's Web site featured a warning about the graphic nature of its image gallery, which included a young girl looking up imploringly at the camera while a man, half buried in rubble and his face turned away, bled profusely down his back. Old ladies are seen disheveled and almost naked; the bandages on children don't hide the gore.
The article offers some theories as to why these graphic images are being shown. You can read the entire article HERE.

FEATURED QUESTION, in two parts: (1) What is your view as to the reason(s) the media are showing such graphic photos of the devastation in Haiti? (2) Is showing such images appropriate?

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posted by Always On Watch @ 1/18/2010 06:41:00 AM