How far removed from the real world do you have to be to think publishing, with no warning, a graphic image of a dead or
dieingdying person covered in blood is fine? Newsweek’s Tumblr even calls the posting of the grotesque image “a necessity in an age of media-driven rumors”.
No, Newsweek, it fucking isn’t. Unless you think your readers are knuckle dragging, celebrity-masturbating, morons. Are your Tumblr followers people unable to understand something without you pushing an image of a corpse in their face?
I can only assume the people in charge of the Tumblr feeds for both Newsweek and The Atlantic live in some corner of an office, detached from the real world in some kind of bubble. The kind of bubble where reason and logic, common sense and common decency become warped by deadlines, hits, spin and hype.
I hate the internet sometimes.
Link here, warning: graphic.
Edit: I should probably point out the reason I name Newsweek and The Atlantic specifically is because they’re the two publications I follow on Tumblr who posted the image.
Edit 2: Newsweek have posted a video of “Muammar Gaddafi’s corpse being kicked through the streets of Sirte”. And I kid you not, they say “We’re posting it because many others have”. That is not a good reason.
Edit 3: The Guardian’s website has the image on its front page. Anyone going online to read the news in the UK will have that image unavoidably shown to them. Am I completely out of touch with what’s acceptable?
We didn’t mean to offend anyone with what we published here yesterday regarding Gaddafi’s death. We chose to do so because those images bear witness to the historical events that unfolded in Libya as the months-long rebellion overran the remaining walls of a fallen dictatorship.
These images, while graphic, were broadcast on multiple TV networks (CNN and al-Jazeera to name two) and led the front-pages of newspapers around the world. If we abstained, would that be “the high-road?” Or would we be missing out on covering a slice of history, and failing to convey the whole story to you guys? Keep in mind: we aren’t chasing deadlines on tumblr.
Occasionally the photographs and videos coming out of the Arab Spring uprisings just straight up suck. From them, we’re reminded of the absolute brutality of humanity. But, at the end of the day, Gaddafi, Ben Ali, Mubarak are out of power. That’s a direct result of the prevalence of camera phones, and the very fact people like you were able to witness the violent crackdowns on protesters in nearly real-time. It’s only fair that goes both ways.
NWK nails it. I’ll add that, after much conversation in the office about how to present this content, we took our cue from other news organizations and, when a few Tumblr followers mentioned their concern with us posting graphic images with no warning, switched to posting images in-text, with a warning, so they had to be expanded in the dashboard. That said, this criticism is welcomed. If you have issues with the way images and videos are presented here, please feel free to Ask Us Anything or shoot me a note here. - JK
I don’t really understand how someone could be so offended. I mean, okay, let’s try to isolate the things that might make people uncomfortable in these pictures/footages:
depiction of human suffering: (that is, if you’re able to put aside the fact that it’s Gaddafi from the start) I can think of any number of situations in which we must brave images or the reality of human suffering. Have you ever seen a homeless person, perhaps a maimed or mentally ill homeless person? When you turn on the television and you are shown (‘unavoidably’ might I add) starving children in PSAs, should you be just as angry?
goriness/scariness: two words— movie trailers.
the last thing I can think of is that maybe because it is REAL? but then 1) isn’t that what the news is for/about, at least we should dearly hope so? and 2) would you rather not bear witness to something because it’s too real?
how is “too real” even a legitimate concern?
also, the tone of the complaint in general seems to really narrow in on the feeling that s/he was very suddenly confronted, nay, assaulted with this picture when s/he didn’t choose to be. Given that s/he “follows” these two tumblrs, I think it’s safe to assume that s/he knows the caliber of material produced. Then we can say the real shock or disappointment presumably comes from some discrepancy between how s/he expects the organization to respond to Gaddafi’s death (by announcing it, with words) and how they chose to represent the event (with words and picture/footage). But are the picture and footage so flagrantly out of line? Are they really despicably distasteful? Do representations like them not deserve the name and reputation of a respectable news organization? Really?