Grisly tabloid photo captures our inhumanity

To publish or not to publish? That was the debate in media circles this week after the New York Post printed a horrifying photo of a man named Ki Suk Han who had been pushed onto the subway tracks and was trying to avoid getting hit by a train. In its typical bombastic fashion, Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid offered up the image as cheap, decontextualized news pornography for infotainment junkies. “Doomed” blared the headline in giant type, with the macabre subhead telling readers “this man is about to die.”The Post’s singular goal, of course, was to attract eyeballs. To do that, the paper’s editors opted to tap into the same impulse that prompts drivers to gawk at grisly highway accidents. In response, critics, like my Salon colleague Mary Elizabeth Williams, excoriated the paper for engaging in a “shamelessly tasteless stunt” that was all about exploitation.”This wasn’t like the historic front page stories of the My Lai massacre, or of crowds lynching men in the South, or of Kent State: photographs of dead bodies that arrived with a demand for action and justice,” Williams wrote, summing up the pervasive criticism. “They were pictures that told a bigger story about a major news event … What does the Post have to say, aside from the fact that an apparently disturbed man pushed a commuter toward his death?”Continue Reading…

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Grisly tabloid photo captures our inhumanity

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