When media goes too far

Since its origination, the media has used unfortunate events to score big ratings and draw in a larger viewer pool, but when is it plainly inappropriate and even disrespectful? After the video of the death of the Georgian luger, Nodar Kumaritashvili, during this year’s Olympics was aired on NBC, CNN, and YouTube, the question has been asked: where do we draw the line?

We believe that news corporations that aired the death of the luger were out of line. While the family protests the distribution of the tape of the accident, it remains on YouTube today and was replayed on multiple TV news broadcasts for days after the accident.

It is no surprise that networks jumped at the chance to show the video. For decades, television viewers have been entranced by programs such as Scars, 1,000 Ways To Die, and countless other shows about people getting seriously hurt. However, when a video captures the moment of someone’s death, it is the obligation of the media to respect the deceased and their family by preventing the release of the video.

This is not the first time the sudden death of a celebrity has been caught on tape. When Steve Irwin, the famous Crocodile Hunter, was fatally stung in the chest by a sting ray, his death, too, was captured on film. However, the video was never released to the public at the request of his family. This should be the standard that all media outlets hold themselves to–one of respect for the dead and their family members.

The media loves to capitalize on bad news: the deaths of Princess Diana, Heath Ledger, Michael Jackson and now that of the Georgian Olympian. Respect for the dead and their family members’ right to grieve in private–rather than reaching their desired quarterly profits–should be the number one priority of news stations and video sharing sites.

It is the belief of this staff that the line has seriously been crossed. Capitalizing on other’s death and pain is far from okay. Just because these people were famous doesn’t give anyone the right to intrude on the time of pain the families of these people are feeling.

When it comes to the Georgian luger, we feel it was not only inappropriate, but offensive to have the video of his death broadcast throughout the world. This should be a time for his family to grieve in private, not time for media to make money by showing his death to the public. Death is a serious matter, not one that should be used for the entertainment of the world at large or to make a quick buck.