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The Christopher Jusko Murder and the Campaign Against Photographs of Dead Bodies – The Awl

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Recentlyanewsorganizationpublishedaphotographofaratherrecentlydeadbody。

Theformerpersoninquestionphotographedhadbeenmurderedandpresumablythenewsoutfitfeltthatamurderonitslocalturfhadsomenewsvalue。

Thevictim’sfamilyandfriendswereabouttenkindsoffurious。

Meanwhile,writtencoverageofthemurderanditscircumstanceswasvigorousandregularonanumberofNewYorkCity-basedwebsites,includingGothamistandtheTimes,inlargepartbecauseittookplaceintheEastVillage。

Year-to-date,therehavebeenfourmurdersintheEastVillage’sNinthPrecinct,thoughIcouldn’ttellyouwhattheotherthreewere。

It’sreasonablethatthisisanitemofnews。

Theotherpublications’storiesincludeneighborsbad-mouthingthevictimandtheiraccountsofseeingthebodyandalsopraiseforthecharacteroftheallegedkiller。

Butit’sthepicturethat’senragedpeopleandsentthefamily’sfriendsandsocialnetworksintoacampaignoffuriousmail。

Eventually,thepublicationapparentlyreasoneditjustwasn’tworththeharassmentandtheytookdownthe?

photo。

“SomeonewithabsolutelynoconsciencesnappedacellphonepicofhisbodybeforethepolicearrivedandsentittoGAWKER。

comwhopublishedit,unlikeeveryreputablenewssitethatranphotosofthecoveredbody,”thevictim’sunclewrote。

Hewantedpeopletowritetheeditoraletter?

—?

“towritethisarrogantlittleshitanote,”ishowheput?

it。

Andthen?

later:

It’sisasadrealitythatweneededtomountsuchaneffortandbringtheHammerofGoddownonthemtorectifysomethingthatshouldneverhavebeenanissueinthefirstplace。

Don’tbefooledbytheseeminglyaltruisticpostontheGAWKERsiteconcerningthephoto’sremoval。

RemySternwasadamantinhisrefusaltoremovethepicturebeforelastnight。

Thecreditforit’sremovalliessolelyatthefeetofallofyouwhotookthetimetovoiceyourdisgustandrevulsionatsuchirresponsibleyellowjournalisminit’sworstincarnation。

Therewasalesson。

“Apparentlywhenenoughvoicesareraisedinoppositiontosomethingsoimmoraltheoffendershavenooptionbuttoconcede。



Thatmightbetruebutit’salsotrueinthisworldthatwhenagroupofpeoplesendastreamofinvective-filledemails,soonerorlater,onedoestendtonotwanttodealwithit。

Whenthevictim’sunclewrote“HammerofGod,”he’snotreallykidding。

Theemailswerepretty?

intense!

Thefamily?

—?

ifnottheirrandomsocialnetworkacquaintances?

—?

are,Ithink,entitledtobehaveprettymuchastheywishatsuchatime。

Iftheywanttospendthedaysafteratragedywritingblisteringemailstothemediaaboutaphotograph,that’safarbetterchannelingofragethanhuntingdowntheallegedkiller’sfamilyforretribution。

Andifyouputyourselfintheirshoes,Ibetanycoverageofthemurderatallfeelsinvasive?

—?

at?

best。

Andstillitallkeepscomingbacktothebody。

“Everyreputablenewssite…ranphotosofthecoveredbody,”hewrote。

Sothat’sokay。

It’stheideaof“disrespect”tothebodythatrankled。

Forthoseofuswhoaren’tChristianorreligiousatall,thisideacanseemsoodd?

—?

asweirdasthe(expressed)rationalefortheBushadministrationbanningphotographsofwardead(photographswhichsurelydohavedecidednewsvalue?

—?

lesstrueinthiscase)orasweirdastheideaof?

heaven。

Theonemediacritictoaddressthiscametoaconclusion。

“Havingtospeakwith,say,thefriendsofamurderedman?

—?

astheTimesdidinitsJuskocoverage?

—?

willmakeajournalistthinktwiceaboutpublishingaphotooftheman’sbloodycorpse…。

Gawkerprobablybelievesitslackofengagementwithitssubjectsmakesitmoreindependent?

—?

morefreetoreporttheactualtruth,thatis,ratherthanatruthmitigatedbyemotionalconsiderations。

Inreality,thisdisconnectsimplyallowsthesitetobemorecallousinitscoverage。



Thiscertainlyreaffirmstheideaofpublishingphotosofdeadbodiesasanexplicitinsult,a“callous”one,onemadefromadistance。

Ifweknewthebody,orifweknewthepeoplewhoknewthebody,thisreasoninggoes,wewouldn’tdarepublishphotosofit。

Becausetodosocanonly,apparently,be?


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