War and death, and the abuse of power, and shining light on those who would leverage the latter to enact the former are, you could argue, the only worthwhile functions of Journalism—the very definition of the profession. It’s the type of thing that James Foley, the journalist who was tragically murdered yesterday by members of the militant group ISIS after having spent two years as their captive, spent much of his career doing, in dispatches from war-torn areas like Afghanistan and Libya and others.
But, as we saw in the case of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 disaster in Ukraine, when it comes to images of death and violence, it can often be hard to strike the right balance between the public’s right to know, and the exploitation of graphic images for their mere sensationalistic worth. Conscientious editors will do their best to walk this line, occasionally making missteps, but trying all the same, to show their readers the things that we need to see, even if we don’t particularly want to.
And then there are the trash people who work at the New York Post.
The editors of the nation’s most reliably despicable front page took note of Foley’s gruesome beheading on video and thought to themselves: this, this right here is good for business, splashing a horrific image of the man about to have his throat slit (now verified) on today’s cover. The Daily News went with an only slightly more restrained choice. All of this came while colleagues of Foley’s pleaded with people on Twitter not to share the video. (I did not watch it myself. The opening still frame was enough to turn me away).
— Louise Mensch (@LouiseMensch) August 19, 2014
In fact, Twitter has said they will suspend accounts that share the video.
That restriction doesn’t seem to apply to the the Post, whose tweeted image remains.
That wasn’t even the most offensive reaction to the murder, if you can believe it. A shit-filled diaper of a man named Chuck C .Johnson, an occasional The Daily Caller contributor, and so-called journalist with the single most punchable face you’ve ever laid eyes on, has judged Foley’s confession in his final moments, likely brought about by lengthy torture, or perhaps a promise of leniency if he complied, as an act of cowardice.
Kind of hard to like James Foley when he blames U.S. government for his killing. Just saying. #ISIS
— Charles C. Johnson (@ChuckCJohnson) August 20, 2014
Very easy to say when, unlike Foley, you are safe in your home, commenting on a real journalist’s work.
Please feel free to let both the Post and Johnson know what you think of their work.