THERE’S AN old adage in television news — if it bleeds, it leads.
But there’s always been a line over which they were reluctant to cross, but in the U.S. in recent weeks, they have, showing video of people being shot dead, or viciously beaten during robberies or violent altercations.
Canadian media were confronted with a similar scenario this week, as cell phone video captured the brutal knife attack on two young teens in the Abbotsford Senior Secondary school.
It was posted to social media, and some people chose to view it. Mainstream television for the most part also got their hands on the video but wisely chose not to air it for their audiences.
And that was the right decision to make. While it makes for good reporting to capture images of police and paramedics, or firefighters doing their jobs, there’s no need to show graphic images of victims being savaged to have viewers understand the gravity of the situation.
They get that someone has been stabbed to death, without being subjected to watching the gory deed in all of its horrific detail.
It’s much more than respecting the rights of the victims, or their families, or protecting evidence for police investigations, it’s a matter of common sense, and good judgment.
Listen to Jim Harrison’s editorials weekdays on Radio NL, and to the Jim Harrison Show at 9:08 a.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.