It's been over two hours since the horrific explosions occurred at the Boston Marathon finish line. While we're just starting to get some concrete facts about the explosions' cause, news reports have basically just been taking a stab in the dark trying to hypothesize what happened. Now, we know the blasts were caused by twin bombs, but for a while there, we had no idea, and yet anchors were referring to "bombs," "attacks," making mention of "Al Qaeda." So, so wrong.
What's more, various outlets persisted in showing gratuitious, graphic photos of the injured and the scene. The one still of the sidewalk splattered with shattered glass and blood is just the tip of the iceberg of the horror show many news stations have been hell bent on showing us -- on repeat. Why is that necessary?!
Don't get me wrong -- there's a time and place for showing the American public graphic, violent images. TV had a major impact on getting the anti-war protests going during Vietnam. But that was different. The disturbing footage of napalm attacks and the like actually served to raise public consciousness about an ongoing, increasingly out-of-control war.
But in more recent years, the news has been so desperate to keep up with warp-speed social media that they're almost forgetting to use discretion with what they're reporting. They've gone crazy hair-trigger. As soon as something tragic, violent, or troubling happens -- from 9/11 to Newtown to today -- they're flashing horrific, morbid images at us nonstop.
What American could forget the devastating replays of the planes going through the World Trade Center and people falling through the sky ...? Same thing is going on right now with this heart-wrenching footage and photos (like a tipped-over stroller, people running and screaming, or exposed flesh and blood) from Copley Square. Why oh why is it okay for the news to thrust these horror shows at viewers on repeat? These are our fellow human beings, not extras in an action movie! Yes, we need to know what's going on, but news sources need to tread more lightly, be more sensitive, consider the humanity involved in the devastating moment. There's absolutely no need for redundant, gratuitous images and inflammatory, fear-mongering language to deliver the facts.
Are you upset by the way news sources have been covering this disturbing event?
Image via BU Interactive News/Flickr