How far is too far? The question echoes across the history of authentic mediated depictions of the dead and dying. The NY Post begs the question with its Tuesday cover: a photo of Queens native Ki Suk Han about to be struck and killed by an oncoming subway train.
The commercial urge to shock for revenue, now more evident than ever a “race to the bottom” among flailing, embarrassingly desperate print publications like the NY Post, looks intriguingly like the merging of tabloid journalism and real journalism. The convergence of the will-to-shock and the real into a distilled pseudo-reality (pseudo by omission) is frightening. It’s a primitive ancestor of fear-mongering-for-cash (the essence of our country’s most recent military misadventures.)
Hopefully when print journalism has issued its final death-rattles, the denizens of the internet will step up to the plate, and find a way to commercialize responsible, quality news. Rather than exploiting the innocent dead, and highlighting random criminal evil for a cheap buck. Let’s move on.