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How the Mainstream Media Decides What Graphic Images to Run After a Mass Casualty Incident

From Poynter:

Within minutes of the school shooting at Parkland High School in Broward County, Florida, video of the shooting, including shots and screams flowed online. Graphic video of a bloody body gave a hint of the horrors that would unfold. Another student snapped photos while crouched in a classroom while another recorded SWAT officers herding children out of an auditorium. I am not linking to those images here. You can find them easily if you want to.

We have been here before. So many times.  And have to have the conversation again about:

  • How much to show
  • How often to show it?
  • If we don’t show it on TV are the guidelines different for online?

Maybe, we could argue, that we should not shield the public from the violence. If the public, if elected officials saw the images as they really are, maybe we would have a more serious conversation about gun violence.

Or maybe, we should argue that showing the graphic images rewards the shooter and encourages others. It is predictable as the sunrise that this shooting will be followed by a wave of threats that schools around the country will endure in the next week. It happens after every widely covered mass shooting, experts say.  

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