Saturday, September 10, 2005

CNN: Photos of Bodies "Vitally Important"

U.S. won't ban media from New Orleans searches

HOUSTON, Texas (CNN) -- Rather than fight a lawsuit by CNN, the federal government abandoned its effort Saturday to prevent the media from reporting on the recovery of the dead in New Orleans.

Swell, huh?

U.S. District Court Judge Keith Ellison issued a temporary restraining order Friday against a "zero access" policy announced earlier in the day by Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, who is overseeing the federal relief effort in the city, and Terry Ebbert, the city's homeland security director.
In explaining the ban, Ebbert said, "we don't think that's proper" to let members of the media view the bodies. (snip)

Army Lt. Col. Richard Steele, a member of Honore's staff, told CNN Saturday night that Honore was partly misunderstood. Steele said Honore meant that no media would be allowed to be imbedded with teams recovering bodies. However, recovery groups would not prevent reporters from doing their jobs, he added.
"He did not say we're going to ban anybody. We're not going to restrict them from any public areas whatsoever," Steele said. "We don't have any legal recourse to do any kind of law enforcement or anything like that in our role. So the only thing we do is we can control who goes with us; on our aircraft and on our trucks and in our boats, if that applies." (snip)

Reacting to the decision, CNN News Group President Jim Walton said, "We are pleased by the decision. The free flow of information is vital for a free society."
In an e-mail to CNN staff on Friday, Walton said the network filed the the lawsuit to "prohibit any agency from restricting its ability to fully and fairly cover" the hurricane victim recovery process.(snip)

Dead bodies are the free flow of information. Got that. Tomorrow is Sept 11th. How about falling bodies at 32ft per second, squared? I haven't seen any of those flowing freely in about three years, eleven months and three weeks. Where are the bodies of the terrorists? I wouldn't mind seeing a few of those. If all their faces wear great grins, perhaps there's something to that 72 virgins meme. Show us a couple of hundred so we can make up our own minds. How about Mohammed Attta's body? Where is that? He wanted it washed carefully, and no women could touch it. Make me puke! Any dirty pile of ash could double for his body. Mix it in with some corn and feed it to some Hampshires. And I don't mean residents of the Live Free or Die State. Could we see again the pictures of Saddam's Vlad the Impaler sons, Uday and Quasay? Just to be sure they are really dead you know. They looked way too clean the last photo I saw. Just a couple of bruises. With this President, isn't the fix always in? Maybe CNN could look into distributing Zarquawi's snuff videos. With his on the scene production values and their wordwide distributorship, sales would streak to the moon. After all, as AP once assured us, terrorists want their stories told too. Will CNN rearrange the bodies found in attics or alleys? Nothing insensitive of course. But maybe move an arm here, a swath of hair there...better lighting, improved composition, that sort of thing. No? CNN won't do that? Why not? Dishonest...indecent....? (snip)

CNN filed suit against Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown, arguing that the officials who announced the decision were acting on FEMA's behalf.
"For an agency to unilaterally ban all coverage of a major component of its governmental function, that is, recovery of the deceased victims of the tragedy, is unprecedented," CNN argued in its legal brief. "Instead, the agency has made a subjective, content-based determination that publicizing the operation would be 'without dignity.'
CNN's brief argued, "It is not the place of government to replace its own internal judgment for that of a free and independent media."
Because of controversy about how FEMA and other agencies handled the disaster response, CNN lawyers argued, "it is even more vitally important for the public, Congress and the administration to have an independent view of the conduct of this important phase of the operation."

"...subjective, content-based determination..."? Huh? In contrast to an objective, content free determination? They are dead bodies. Very little to no subjectivity remains to remains. At this writing in the 90 degree heat of the gulf, in the name of honest reporting, tough, no nonsense journalism, CNN ought to mail out scratch and sniff cards to millions of viewers. The stench of death clinging to CNN brought to your evening meal in the name of a free and independent media. Free of common sense! Free of any humanity! A dignity free zone! All microphones and cameras in faces of the quick and the dead, 24/7. We're CNN!

I wonder why they haven't tried it yet. What's to stop them? Seemingly nothing in their own hearts. If televisions were already smell-i-visions and FEMA or the FCC said whoa to this one, would CNN crank out another lawsuit? In the name of a free and independent media, of course.

They're all jackals and maggots. Yipping furry animals and swarming masses with segmented bodies. Crawling over one another to be first up with the latest, starkest bit of misery. It's an insult to jackals and maggots using them to make the point. What has become of the restrainst of decent human beings? One person saying "No! Stop. Turn off the camera. It's better we look away, ratings and points be damned. " I'd pay to see that on CNN. Evoke the suffering and mourning, our countryman grieving each others loss and pain. The unity we can reach sharing the burden of suffering, that common human condition. Show us Americans helping Americans, a story which never ages. Were it a television drama, its ratings would never drop, its story never turn stale. After all, the response of most decent Americans to Katrina was, "My God! This is terrible. We must help. What can we do. How can we help." We sent money. We prayed. Some rushed to help, in groups, and alone. Churches took up extra collections. The effort is ongoing. The prayers are continuing. The soul-less pointed fingers and called people dirty names. Other filed lawsuits. Is CNN answering question, "which of you, when your child asks for bread will give him a stone", "We will"?

No comments: