News sources defile footage of dead tyrant
Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.
In this era, people love to see. They loved to see freedom springing up from some of the harshest governing countries in the world. They also loved to see the death of one of the harshest dictators of this century.
But how much should be shown of the death of someone? Is it not satisfying enough for us to hear that a person who has done so much wrong has been killed? Is a picture of his corpse still not enough?
Apparently we needed to see clips of the final moments of Muammar Gaddafi’s life in order to be satisfied with his death being a just one. We needed to see him bloodied and bruised, tormented and crying out for mercy.
Just because the video clips of his last minutes alive were available doesn’t necessitate broadcasting them to the world through American news sources.
True, Gaddafi was a terrible ruler, and many innocent people lost their lives under his regime. But he also had a family. He had people who cared about him and to show his death in such a widely celebrated, graphically detailed way seems to disrespect their right to grieve more than it does to highlight the justice done.
This is not only the fault of the news organizations that broadcast the videos, but also the people watching them. They push the view count up on the videos and the site traffic up on the websites.
But is it OK to continue showing the videos simply because they are increasing viewership and essentially making money? Or perhaps the better question is why are people so interested in watching the final moments of Gaddafi’s life?
Technology has forever changed the way Americans get information. They have access to almost anything with a few simple clicks. They demand instant access to whatever is trending at the time. Whether it’s a song, a game, a joke, a country or even a person’s death, people want to know and see it all immediately.
For Gaddafi’s death though, it doesn’t seem that people want to know and see his last minutes for the purpose of claiming justice for those he killed while he was in power. We didn’t have to see videos of those innocent people’s last minutes to label them as unjust. So why must we plaster Gaddafi’s final steps on every news website and in every time slot of the evening news?
If news stations reported on Gaddafi’s death, telling us how he was killed, who killed him, when and where he died, that should be enough. If they showed a picture of him after he was dead, that should be more than enough proof of the end of his life and harsh leadership.
Images aid in setting the tone to any story and are sometimes necessary in graphic situations. Even video footage of news events can be extremely beneficial in most cases. It shows history to the world in the most realistic way possible. But when the video only serves the purpose of repetitively providing graphic, detailed images of a person’s death, it simply becomes unnecessary.