September 07, 2005

Media Necrophilia

From Editor and Publisher:

Forced to defend what some critics consider its slow response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said on Tuesday it does not want the news media to take photographs of the dead as they are recovered from New Orleans.

FEMA, which is leading the rescue efforts, rejected requests from journalists to accompany rescue boats as they went out to search for storm victims, Reuters reported.

A FEMA spokeswoman told the wire service that space was need on the rescue boats and assured Reuters that "the recovery of the victims is being treated with dignity and the utmost respect."

"We have requested that no photographs of the deceased be made by the media," the spokeswoman told Reuters via e-mail.

Burke and Hare at least advanced the cause of medicine. The media desire to exploit the dead of Hurricane Katrina cannot even claim that level of social utility.

After reading the barely concealed disdain in this Editor and Publisher article, one has to ask; what is to be gained by displaying the pictures of bloated, putrefying corpses pulled from the flood? Does it serve to advance the cause of future disaster preparedness? Do it help to explain the loss of a family member, by showing his dead child on page 1A for all to see?

What is the media's true desire here, and is that motive worth sacrificing the basic respect we have for the dead and their living families?

The Editor and Publisher article displays a certain journalistic necrophilia in its desire to abuse the bodies of Hurricane Katrina's victims for perceived political gratification.

Interestingly, I cannot recall such a macabre desire of the media to show drowning victims in more northern climes.

Update: The Anchoress has more, and it isn't for the faint of heart.

Another Update:

Posted by Confederate Yankee at September 7, 2005 06:54 PM | TrackBack

The press wants a photographic record to substantiate their already stated claim that race is a contributor to the death toll numbers. With 65 percent of the NOLA population being black and the perponderance of the non-mobile (non-transportation owing) population also being black, one can only conclude that the perponderance of the dead will most likely also be black. However, a nice photographic record only serves to advance the "it's all the fault the presidnet and his conservative right wing" mantra of the MSN. A few pictures of dead bodies always help the liberal machine drive their misguided message home - or at least they think so. That's my take anyway.

Posted by: John Yetter, CW5, USA (Retired) at September 7, 2005 08:48 PM

There was no "collage of corpses" in the media after 9/11, or after the tsunami, or the Bam earthquake, etc, etc.

Why start now? Of course *cough* their motivations *cough* couldn't possibly *cough* be policitcal.

Posted by: Tony at September 7, 2005 11:03 PM

The domestic focus these last two weeks has left them way behind on the official count of People Bush Has Killed. They have to catch up somehow, and New Orleans is so much more convenient than Iraq.

Posted by: Bryan C at September 8, 2005 04:50 PM