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September 7, 2005

Proportion

Photos of New Orleans dead are being strongly discouraged by FEMA, who desire that "the recovery of the victims ... be... treated with dignity and the utmost respect."

Some people are trying to polarize the issue, comparing it with the Bush administration's ban of photographing soldiers' caskets.

I have to side with FEMA on this one. While the management of the whole situation is all bolloxed up, this is not on par with perfectly-polished wooden caskets. These people are civilians, they're not in caskets, they're readily identifiable... and by this point they're going to be bloated and partially decomposed.

Certainly I would not want one of my relatives, missing chunks of flesh and blown up like a balloon, splashed across front page news. Nor do I really care to see anyone else's family members depicted that way. You can take all the pictures of closed, flag-draped caskets in the world -- it's not the same as someone's glassy-eyed grandmother with half her face chewed off by rats.

The media's gone gore-crazy in the past few years. It used to be the evening news wouldn't show blood-streaked pavement or body bags following auto accidents. These days you're likely to find them using their NewsChopper 7 Xtreme PowerVision 7 NewsCam to zoom in on the body bag, if not a body still lying in the street. Since the hurricane hit, I've seen corpses floating in flood water on NBC, ABC, FOX, and CNN.

I can't imagine what it would be like to be watching the news and realize that's my mother or my father or my brother sprawled out on the pavement in glorious high-definition television.

At some point, mainstream media became as bad as the paparazzi.

Posted by Colin at September 7, 2005 6:20 PM

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