When you’re in the media, you face some difficult decisions.
What to publish. What not to publish. What to show. What not to show.
Despite what many people might think, most times the media gets it right, putting decency and respect above page views, readership and ratings.
Tuesday night was not one of those times.
Just hours after a heartbreaking double stabbing in an Abbotsford school that left one girl dead, several TV stations were broadcasting a video showing one of the stabbings inside the school during their evening news shows.
Other outlets shared the gruesome video – that was just as horrifying to listen to as it was to watch – on their websites.
Many people were outraged and shared their disgust on social media. And even after the Abbotsford Police chief pleaded with people, including the media, to stop sharing the video out of respect for the families, the video played on.
— IHIT (@HomicideTeam) November 2, 2016
I had several people reach out to me personally to say “this is what makes people hate the media”. Can think of nothing to say in defence. https://t.co/lmXw3XKEBS
— Darlene Heidemann (@DarHeidemann) November 2, 2016
— ReNewton Nation (@ReNewtonNation) November 2, 2016
Godden said public should stop circulating viral video of stabbing at #Abbotsford Secondary School. “This video is a trigger to trauma.”
— Jennifer Saltman (@jensaltman) November 2, 2016
Absolutely disgusted that @GlobalBC has posted the video from Abbotsford Senior. The media makes things so much worse for the victims.
— Kirsten Sage (@kirstensage) November 2, 2016
Some would argue that refraining from showing such a video is tantamount to censorship, arguing that such hard-to-see images that hit you in the gut are what affect change.
We don’t think this is about censorship at all. Rather, this is about human decency, especially in the crucial hours after a tragedy where next of kin must be notified.
Perhaps had the police been searching for the suspect, an argument could be made that showing it was important. In this case, the suspect was already in custody, so showing it was needless and sensationalist.
It’s no wonder media gets a bad rap.
— The Now Newspaper (@TheNowNewspaper) November 2, 2016