Should editors publish Saddam hanging images, video?

By Steve Outing

That’s a no-brainer, as far as I’m concerned. The answer is yes, when you’re talking about online. If you’re thinking of publishing gruesome photos on the font page of your newspaper, or video of the actual hanging on a news broadcast, then (especially in the USA, where we’re still puritanical about such things), don’t do it unless you’re prepared for a public backlash from more sensitive readers and viewers. But there’s no logical reason that I can see not to make it available online — where you can precede it with graphic warnings about what an online visitor will see if he/she clicks that link.

There are a few reasons for this:

  1. This is big news, obviously, and it should be covered fully — and that includes offering images that may offend some.
  2. The photos and videos of the hanging no doubt will be readily available somewhere on the Web. To not make them available (with appropriate warnings) just marks you as an anachronistic editor who’s still trying to enforce his/her own sensibilities on a public that no longer needs editors dictating what they do or do not see. The new-media ethic lets news consumers make up their own minds.
  3. This will reflect my political bias, but I think that US citizens, especially, should see the results of their tax dollars at work. Electoral outcomes in the US have created the mess in Iraq, and I think that American citizens should see everything that their votes have wrought — from Saddam’s hanging to the gruesome violence and despair that is today’s Iraq.

The news media should not sugar-coat the reality of today’s world.

Author: Steve Outing Steve Outing is a Boulder, Colorado-based media futurist, digital-news innovator, consultant, journalist, and educator. ... Need assistance with media-company future strategy? Get in touch with Steve!

16 Responses to "Should editors publish Saddam hanging images, video?"

  1. Marshall Kirkpatrick
    Marshall Kirkpatrick 10 years ago .Reply

    Well put.

  2. Marshall Kirkpatrick
    Marshall Kirkpatrick 10 years ago .Reply

    Well put.

  3. […] Steve Outing: Should editors publish Saddam hanging images, video? “The photos and videos of the hanging no doubt will be readily available somewhere on the Web. To not make them available (with appropriate warnings) just marks you as an anachronistic editor who’s still trying to enforce his/her own sensibilities on a (tags: online newspapers saddam_hussein ethics) […]

  4. Dave DeVries
    Dave DeVries 10 years ago .Reply

    I think every one over the age of ten should see the video. It is THE
    picture of justice. should we revel or take joy in the pictures? No, but
    we need to witness that there is judgement and justice for evil. Your
    desire to coddle the viewing public is why we’re having this discussion.
    This soft underbelly of America is what emboldened terrorists around
    the world to begin with.
    As for my tax dollars at work, were is the coverage of the Iraqis who
    are happy to have us in thier country? There’s only 90+% of them.
    That is good news though, the “big three media giants” won’t hve any-
    thing to do with that.
    What is this new-media ethic you speak of ? I don’t know
    wether to laugh or barff, are you enjoying a “fat one” ? Show me
    the application of justice every time.
    Long live the President.
    God Bless the United States of America.

  5. Dave DeVries
    Dave DeVries 10 years ago .Reply

    I think every one over the age of ten should see the video. It is THE picture of justice. should we revel or take joy in the pictures? No, but we need to witness that there is judgement and justice for evil. Your desire to coddle the viewing public is why we're having this discussion. This soft underbelly of America is what emboldened terrorists around the world to begin with. As for my tax dollars at work, were is the coverage of the Iraqis who are happy to have us in thier country? There's only 90 % of them. That is good news though, the "big three media giants" won't hve any- thing to do with that. What is this new-media ethic you speak of ? I don't know wether to laugh or barff, are you enjoying a "fat one" ? Show me the application of justice every time. Long live the President. God Bless the United States of America.

  6. George Bush
    George Bush 10 years ago .Reply

    here is it : http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xw1u4_saddam-hus

  7. Jake Porter
    Jake Porter 10 years ago .Reply

    I believe we should let the free market decide. I posted the videos, and did so because I believe there was a demand for it, and it was very newsworthy.

  8. Jake Porter
    Jake Porter 10 years ago .Reply

    I believe we should let the free market decide. I posted the videos, and did so because I believe there was a demand for it, and it was very newsworthy.

  9. […] UPDATE IV: Steve Outing also did a post on this topic and says, “No brainer. Publish.” Share and Enjoy:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. […]

  10. Steve
    Steve 10 years ago .Reply

    NO he is a monster and should be broad casted around the world at his worst moment. Let the world see it all!!!!

  11. SENSIBLE
    SENSIBLE 10 years ago .Reply

    WHAT CRAZY ARSE HOLES SOME OF YOU ARE
    now we have sent him to the gallows let us prepair to be rewarded heavely with terror as his fanatics will reap revenge try telling our boys your thoughts when they are out there dam YOU BUSH DAM YOU YOU WANTED THE OIL YOU NEVER WENT TO UGANDA AS THEY HAD NOWT WORTH YOUR WHILE
    BOLT THE HATCHES DOWN AND LETS GET READY TO RIDE THE STORM OF ALL STORMS

  12. SENSIBLE
    SENSIBLE 10 years ago .Reply

    WHAT CRAZY ARSE HOLES SOME OF YOU ARE now we have sent him to the gallows let us prepair to be rewarded heavely with terror as his fanatics will reap revenge try telling our boys your thoughts when they are out there dam YOU BUSH DAM YOU YOU WANTED THE OIL YOU NEVER WENT TO UGANDA AS THEY HAD NOWT WORTH YOUR WHILE BOLT THE HATCHES DOWN AND LETS GET READY TO RIDE THE STORM OF ALL STORMS

  13. […] Steve Outing vraagt zich op zijn blog ook af of media beelden van de executie moeten tonen. Wel op internet, zegt hij, maar niet op de voorpagina’s van kranten, in elk geval niet in het puriteinse Amerika. […]

  14. […] On his blog Outing wrote: “To not make them available (with appropriate warnings) just marks you as an anachronistic editor who’s still trying to enforce his/her own sensibilities on a public that no longer needs editors dictating what they do or do not see. The new-media ethic lets news consumers make up their own minds” […]

  15. Larry
    Larry 10 years ago .Reply

    Thank you, Steve. Just to clarify Mr. Hussman’s opinion re: newspaper use of the web. In his article, he’s not advocating that newspapers should remove themselves completely from the web. He shares good examples of utilizing the web to offer “value … that compliments, rather than cannibalizes, our print edition.” I am certainly 100% in agreement with the idea that newspapers should take advantage of the possibilities the Internet offers in compliment to print, videos, photo-galleries, feedback, interactivity, databases. But I did question his overall premise that “free news for online customers is a disastrous business plan.” I appreciate your sharing your thoughts on that point.

Leave your comment