HARRISON – Media made right decision in not showing video of Abbotsford school stabbings

Photo of suspect in stabbing released by police.

Photo of suspect in stabbing released by police.

THERE’S AN old adage in television news — if it bleeds, it leads.

harrisonhed-sep2016Or at least that’s the way it used to be as media organizations often fought to get the most graphic images possible in a bid to pad their ratings, and by extension their advertising dollars.

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

About Mel Rothenburger (9230 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on HARRISON – Media made right decision in not showing video of Abbotsford school stabbings

  1. Richard Carlson // November 4, 2016 at 11:22 PM // Reply

    Canadian media should be recognized and applauded for not stooping to broadcast the brutal footage of this type of attack.

  2. I realize that your point was about not showing such a brutal crime but the crime began with total neglect of a mentally ill person, we are completely ignoring our mentally ill in the name of human rights, this was an opportunity to also advocate for some mandatory help for them.

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