With all of the headlines flying through the newspapers and websites regarding the Boston Marathon and recent catastrophe, I couldn’t help but be appalled by what I saw: Pictures of bloodied-up spectators lying in agony as they received medical attention, plastered all over the front pages of every paper. All I could think of was, were that me, I would be absolutely FURIOUS and DEVASTATED by seeing myself in the news like that.
I would post an example of the pictures I’ve been seeing but, to be perfectly honest, I don’t support them at all and therefore I refuse to spread them around any further.
Seeing these images reminded me of how common grotesque photos are in the media world. It made me ask myself, “Why do we publish such things?” You don’t have to look far to find the answer. First of all, it got my attention. Often, the images make me want to cry. I realized the strategy in this: Seeing the images drew me in to see the article and possibly read it, to maybe even buy the paper. To make me care more about people I don’t know. Then I thought, what does that tell us about the media? About ourselves?
For one, are we such horrible people that we couldn’t take notice or shed a tear for people without seeing with our own eyes their pain? Is seeing really believing? Do we really need to ogle over distress, injury, and death to amuse ourselves and remember we aren’t that person on the front page? Does it ever inspire us to actually change anything or get up and help someone? Isn’t reading a newspaper often like… rubbernecking at a car accident?
But I think the real question is this: What is wrong with the photographers and the journalists who write these articles? What is wrong with the person that stood there with a camera over a suffering human being so he or she could snap a photo and continue on to the next disaster? What is wrong with the person that picked the goriest photo and zoomed in on a victim’s face to accompany a front page article highlighting the worst parts – if not very end – of someone’s life? These people are doing this as a career for profit. Is it for anything else? I hope not. How can you say “I want to be a journalist so I can take pictures of dying people”? You don’t. You say, “I want to be a journalist because I want to write and have my articles selected and make money.”
So you go out and write what it takes to get you that front page article. You do it at the expense of others. Meanwhile there are people suffering, medics working undercover, and you get all of the glory for someone else’s death. It’s dog eat dog.
That’s why I think journalists are some of the lowest people on the planet.