thoughts from a journalism major on the Fox News blunder

Every now & then, my Communication Ethics class that I took at The University Of West Florida as a journalism major comes back to haunt my brain. This evening is one of those times.

This afternoon Fox News inadvertently aired a car chase gone bad. Apparently, an attempted carjacking ended in tragedy when said carjacker left the stolen vehicle, ran into an open area, and shot himself in the head with a gun.

I don’t watch Fox News so I did not see the event aired live, but from what I read on { reputable} web sites, the accidental airing of this unfortunate man’s suicide was a result of human error.  Shep Smith, the anchor who wa reading the news at the time this occurred, apologized vehemently for this error.

 Tonight I am  thinking about what constitutes  responsible journalism.{ Yeah, I know it is  dangerous when I start to ponder life…please bear with me. Thanks.}

Is it ” better” for news services to air  live action reports of such violent images?

Do  they have a responsibility to censor themselves when it comes to showing violence on the TV? Should bloody & gory  footage such as suicides or other such bloody footage caught on camera be ” fair game” for live newscasts?

 I agree with the former position. I do not think that showing{ albeit inadvertently a suicide of a person is never ” fair game” for TV . 

Those who say that ” live” footage of such  images is real & therefore should not be ” cleaned up” for the  newscasts. Some people argue that we Americans are so  saturated with { fictional}  violence everyday that  real newscasts showing blood & guts *should* be totally desensitized .

But let’s  face it most people know the difference between  the fake guts spilled  during an episode of { for instance} _Bones_ or _NCIS & the video recording of someone’s suicide or { shudder shudder shudder} someone’s death sentence carried out by the State.  Where do we draw the invisible line between informing the public & sensationalized disturbing events in order to try to boost advertising revenue?

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