I was surprised to see CNN this morning air a gruesome dead body for around 30 seconds. Not famous or infamous, her face and wounds blocked out, the woman was on the floor splattered in blood. Before showing the photo, the CNN host anchor warned viewers “if you have kids in the room, get them out” then the news network lingered on the pic for half a minute. The case involves a South Florida man who turned himself in to Miami-Dade police today after allegedly killing his wife and posting a confession and the photo of her blood-stained body on his Facebook page. That was the pic CNN showed. Twitter response was swift and outraged. “A man murdered his wife & posted it on FB. CNN then posts its shock, along with the photo of the dead woman. Classy.” “wolfblitzerCNN has gone too far showing the picture of the murdered woman that was posted on Facebook. Most disturbing before lunch.” While gruesome gangland murders have long been a staple of TV news, it’s interesting to note that last month MSNBC showed a photo of Trayvon Martin’s dead and bloody body on air. MSNBC host Tamron Hall later apologized for the depiction on her show, calling it “an awful mistake”. But CNN is not apologizing — yet.Obviously cable news has looser standards than broadcast. But I wonder if the TV ratings war is what’s prompting these moves. It does give Jeff Zucker’s pledge to more broadly define what is news a grisly edge.
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