Gadaffi OK, but Whitney 'too far'?

In America, The National Enquirer is getting a lot of flak after its admittedly rather tasteless front page on Wednesday, featuring a photo of Whitney Houston in-casket, which was subsequently republished by Fox News and gossip site Jezebel. The Washington Post didn't publish it, but gave directions to where it was published under the banner 'If you’d like to see the photo to gain context'.

On this side of the pond, though, even the Daily Mail and the Mirror declined to publish the picture in full, instead using pixelated versions - perhaps surprising when you cast your mind back to the front pages of October 21st last year, which simply weren't mirrored in America.

Indeed, to get an intact copy of the Whitney image for this post I HAD to look through American sources - there is simply no full reproduction of it in a UK media outlet that I have found.

Is our press guilty of double-standards then, content to publish gory photos of a deceased dictator but not to reprint less gory ones of a celebrity?

When it comes to showing dead people in newspapers, should the barometer be gore or fame, offence or decency?

Would this picture be OK if Whitney had been a tyrant? Would Gadaffi's be unacceptable if he'd done a bit of charity work?

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

Comments

I myself find this an interesting moral dilemma. Whilst personally I think neither have merit and just purely tasteless and morbid, it's a fact of the business that these are the pictures which make people buy the papers. What would the gadiffi story have been without THAT photo?

By Jem Collins

I think there is a definite public interest argument to all of this. Seeing the image of Gadaffi was crucial to an important story that was in the public interest. Without that image the full story cannot be told. It's one thing to say Gadaffi was maimed before his death, it's another thing to see it.

In comparison what does seeing a dead Whitney Houston add to that story? I would wager that it doesn't really add anything.

By Alister Houghton