Plymouth Congregational Church

God for All

Should we see everything from Haiti?


A writer on had one or two posts on whether graphic photos from Haiti should be shown around the world.  I’ve posted two photos below, which were originally posted on, as examples.

Years ago – or maybe not even that long ago – pictures such as these would have been deemed too “horrible” to be shown on TV, or printed in the newspaper.

What do you think?  Do you think these types of photos should or should not be published? 


3 thoughts on “Should we see everything from Haiti?

  1. Now that you bring it up Becky, the newspapers used to show some pretty gruesome photos.

    And I agree with Lance that there sometimes appears to be a double standard about what photos are shown.

  2. Very interesting comments Becky. Part of the difference in news of the 50’s and today is that “news” is a revenue stream for all the networks. Therefore, it seems logical that we see more of what’s happened as it keeps audiences tuned in for more than weather and sports thus allowing for more ad revenues. It’s also in keeping with the changes we’ve seen in content of all television and movies. As a world we’ve been desensitized (willingly and unwittingly at the same time).

    I think it’s difficult for us to appreciate the magnitude of devastation in Haiti since in our country we have much higher standards for construction, resources, etc. Seeing how horrible things are can elicit more compassionate giving. Yet somehow our mainstream media wouldn’t dare show the sights of Sadam Hussein’s piles of bodies that he gassed in Kurdish settlements to support why it’s not a bad thing that he was removed from his throne. That double standard bothers me.

  3. I think we’ve come full circle. I recall newspaper headlines and photos from old papers in my grandparents’ basements. Up until the 50’s it was common for a car accident to show the bodies in the car. The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre photos, and John Dillinger’s death didn’t hold back on bloody reality either. Somewhere along the way the media started holding back. Right or wrong…I don’t know. It’s fair to allow the media to report the whole story in more than one dimension — with photos. But on the other hand, I think it’s a good thing the photos of Princess Diana taken at the crash have not been leaked. Am I better off for seeing the luge accident on Friday before they stopped showing it later that day? Yes, I think so — it makes me understand the dedication of Olympic spirit more. Would Oprah be more successful in her ban on texting/cell phone driving if she showed a photo of a mangled person/child under a car? Sadly, probably.

    I just hope there is just intent behind showing the photos/video – is it important that we see the reality they show? Is that what is needed to make us act?

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