Posts from May 20, 2004

The Snuff Times

The Snuff Times

: I found myself shocked by the number of dead people pictured in today’s New York Times.

Page A1: A photo of a man carrying a dead child the age of my own child.

Page A10: A photo of a dozen corpses of people killed in Gaza, shrouded with their faces staring out.

Page A13: A photo of Iraqi men carrying the bodies of the dead from “an attack by American forces” off a truck.

Page E 3: A photo of a dead Confederate soldier under the infamous photo of the leashed prisoner at Abu Ghraib.

In my time as an editor, we thought long and hard before putting a picture of a corpse in the newspaper — not so much to protect the audience from an indelicate image but to respect the dead and not to exploit their image.

As we’ve discused here lately, we don’t need editors protecting us from news; that’s not the issue. But as we’ve also discussed here, when you choose to use — or not use — photos such as these, you are necessarily making a political decision. And using images of dead children on your front page is not something that should ever be done lightly. So is The Times just as quick to run pictures of the dead killed by Palestinians as Israelis, by Iraqi terrorists as American soldiers?

: UPDATE: Meanwhile, the editors of the Lowell Sun run a picture of two men kissing on the day gay marriage is legalized in Mass. — smacks of news to me — and get a few dozen complaints and so now they act as if this was a shocking mistake and they’ve learned a lesson.

Wonder how many pix of dead bodies they’ve run.

The families

The families

: I hate to say this but some of the 9/11 families have finally gone overboard. I have the utmost respect for them, for what they have lost and endured and stood for. I stood back as they insisted on their view of what to do with the World Trade Center site, though I did not agree about treating the ground as if it is sacred when it is the memory that matters. But yesterday’s 9/11 Commission hearings were the last straw for me. I held my tongue yesterday because I wasn’t sure the families were the ones heckling Mayor Giuliani but today the papers confirm that they were the ones yelling ugly words. I understand their anger; even Giuliani does; who wouldn’t? I understand that the commission hearings are a joke and aren’t worthy of respect. But Giuliani is. The memory of the heroes and innocents is. They don’t deserve this kind of nasty behavior. And as Giuliani said yesterday, it is vital that we remember: “Our enemy is not each other, but the terrorists who attacked us…. The blame should be put on one source alone, the terrorists who killed our loved ones.”