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September 10, 2005

Show The Bodies?

Instapundit thinks (as others he links think) that the LLMSM is being very inconsistent in demanding to show Katrina's dead after citing "taste" for its reason in avoiding showing the victims of 9/11.

And then, of course, there was CNN's famously self-interested decision to avoid showing Saddam's dead.

I think some of Katrina's dead should be photographed and shown to the public. As they say, one picture is worth a thousand words.

So: Yes, I disagree with the military's/civilian authorities' position on this. No special efforts should be taken to keep the press out, other than, for example, safety concerns.

But that still leaves the press in the curious position of being very interested in showing some dead bodies but not others.

Tomorrow is the 9/11 anniversary. How many falling bodies will we see? How many charred corpses being pulled from the rubble?


Over at Hit & Run, Julian Sanchez says that this is justifiable, as we wouldn't want to "inflame" the public and send them out beating up or killing Arabs. I suppose there's little concern about an inflamed mob lynching the first hurricane it comes across.

I don't know. So the press serves as our censor, determining which images we're capable of handling? Which are too dangerous to air?

If I'm going to have a censor at all, fuck, I think I trust the military more. I'd prefer if neither were trying to protect me from dangerous images, but I'm afraid I don't buy the press' claim that they, and they alone, have the wisdom to censor judiciously.

Once you've conceded the need for censorship, it's just a question of who gets to have the fun. Pardon me if I'm not part of the bandwagon to cede even further control of information to our fair-and-balanced, neutral-and-objective, painstakingly fact-checked press.

Are Some Conservatives Being Inconsistent, Too? I think they are. I don't think you can say "We should have shown more footage of the dead of 9/11" and then cite the need to protect the families of Katrina's victims from seeing their loved ones in the media.

Either you protect all families from such distress or none of them.

I wouldn't want to cause a grieving family any more stress, but quite frankly, if you've lost a loved one, I'd say that's your biggest concern right there, and viewing a photograph of the dead would cause only a trivially-incremental amount of additional grief.

Further-- some tragedies are just to big to protect people in this fashion. 9/11, and Katrina, are national tragedies, and the public interest in either is both great and justifiable.

Look, we show the pictures of people killed in murders and car accidents all the time. Few seem concerned that those victims have families as well. Now we're going to say that the families killed in an epic national disaster should not be exposed to further hurt?

So let the press in. Show the bodies of those killed in Katrina. It is important to witness the full horror of the disaster.

And then let's talk about the press' permanent embargo on showing the bodies of the victims of Islamofascist terrorism.

Update: The feds won't bar reporters from snapping photos of the dead, though they also won't allow them on rescue missions (which is their right, it seems to me).

CNN brought the suit against FEMA. FEMA gave up, prudently.

I don't suppose there's any way to bring suit against CNN to force it to report on all of Saddam's killings in the years it avoided doing so to keep its precious Baghdad bureau open, huh?

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posted by Ace at 07:04 PM

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