Tuesday, October 25, 2011
The murder should NOT be televised...
Recent world events have gotten me to pondering the responsibility of the very institution of which I am a part. I am referring to the media, and in particular those outlets that report the news of the world.
I was appalled this week to hear of the killing of Moammar Gaddafi. For a country who are interested in democracy, summarily torturing and executing someone is not a very good first step, but it is what happened. What was more appalling to me was the media, who felt the need to broadcast various videos that were shot with what appear to be camera phones. They did not just show photographs of a deposed dictator’s dead body, but live action of Gaddafi being punched, dragged to the ground by the hair, kicked and stomped, and most revoltingly, sodomized with a long knife, as he shrieks and falls to his knees in agony. At times the camera is so close to his bloody head and face that I’m surprised his blood didn’t smear the lens. It is also possible that his murder was filmed as well, but the video is very jerky and there is a constant rat-a-tat of gunshots all along so it is impossible to tell exactly which shots might have been the fatal ones. It was so brutal, this video, that I can’t imagine that the last thoughts of Gaddafi were not bprayers for it to be over. I know that was what I was thinking as I watched this nonsense.
I was also appalled last week to see a similar lack of scruples from a couple of so-called media outlets. With the trial of Cr. Conrad Murray going on in Los Angeles, a picture of a dead, post autopsied, and nude Michael Jackson was shown to the courtroom, and a photograph of that image was broadcast around the world. Apparently the concept of human dignity has escaped some of these entities, whose goal now seems to be to shock, instead of inform. One was an internet website, but the other, sadly was a major TV network, who I thought would take the high road, but didn’t.
I, and the world, do not need to see this. It serves no useful purpose to show Michael Jackson, who brought so much joy to the world, deprived of his last bit of dignity. For many the image of his lifeless and naked corpse, sprawled on a table, will be the image that comes to mind. I certainly hope that his children did not see it.
As for Colonel Gaddafi, he was an evil man, but that is why there are procedures in place to deal with crimes against humanity. They, at least in theory, keep the world from taking a backward step as we supposedly become more civilized.
There was a time when media was more responsible, and more selective and thoughtful in what they presented. There is the famous story that reporters knew that President Kennedy was bedding down starlets left and right, but that out of respect for the first lady, they did not use that information to hurt him. Those days of restraint are sadly gone, and it is a free for all. Paparazzi line up for big money shots of celebrities, and when they get them it is all over the internet and airwaves. The former King of Pop dies of a drug overdose and we get to see him stripped, literally, of all dignity. And a dictator is violently tortured and killed on video.
Just tell me want happened. I don’t need to see it.