Should the New York Daily News have published the Alton Sterling cover? | The Tylt
The New York Daily News posted an image of Alton Sterling’s body, hands empty on its cover. Extremely graphic footage from Philando Castile’s shooting and from the Dallas shooting have also been widely broadcasted and shared by media organizations and on social media.
Did the New York Daily News go too far by publishing such a graphic image?
Many people are calling out the New York Daily News for prominently featuring Alton Sterling’s body on the cover. They've advocated that the image lacks any regard for human life and especially dehumanizes Black people. None of this is happening in a vacuum. Images of Black bodies have been commodified since the Atlantic slave trade and furthermore in the early 20th century—when photographs of lynching victims were sold as souvenirs. Many say publishing the image in such a fashion commodifies Black bodies and Black death, inflict pain and suffering to no real end.
April Reign points out that the previous video recordings of Black people dying at the hands of police have not changed anything. Those who choose not to believe there is a systemic problem will find ways to explain the situation away. She writes that sharing these images only serves to dehumanize black bodies and serve as a “perverse entertainment.” It does not change minds.
In defense of the cover, Tracie Powell brings a common phrase in journalism: "the job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." The images are difficult to see, but they must be seen. Words are sometimes ignored, but this image cuts to the core. Journalists clearly have the tough job of bringing truths into the light, creating awareness and letting people decide. Those in support of publishing the photos and videos say the image is the most powerful refutation of any argument that tries to defend Sterling’s killing. Plus, some believe images or videos can change history and add to a cultural weight that leads to change. But ...
What do you think: #ShameOnNYDN for sharing the image on its cover? Or is #NYDNRight for informing the public with the image?
Should the New York Daily News have published the Alton Sterling cover?
I openly accept & fully understand (& sympathize) w/ criticisms of showing horrific images. I hate them, but believe they expose injustice.— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) July 7, 2016
CREATURES OF CULTURE