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The Need for Death Photos: Newsworthy or Exploitation?

What Makes a Story Newsworthy?

News can be defined as “Newsworthy information about recent events or happenings, especially as reported by news media”. But what makes news newsworthy?

According to MediaCollege.com there are five factors which are considered when deciding if a story is newsworthy. The values are listed as: Timing, Significance, Proximity, Prominence and Human Interest. List of Factors

In view of the fact that I’m not a journalist I can not dispute the main factors, professionally, in determining whether a story is newsworthy; so I won’t put up a protest about several of the factors. I can understand timing, proximity and prominence. However, I fail to understand why the deaths of a dozen people are less significant than the death of hundreds of people. Perhaps the criterion alludes to the more bodies to count the higher the interest. Where did we go wrong?

EXPLOITATIONNo doubt stories about celebrities and many well-known people meet the criteria for being newsworthy but I don’t see any criteria for posting their death photos. Is there a criterion for that? Or can this one possibly fall under Human Interest? The article states human interest stories appeal to emotion and aim to evoke responses such as amusement or sadness. What about shock value?

Tom Szaroleta, a journalist for The Florida Times Union had this to say: “Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Billy Mays were newsworthy, but not front-page newsworthy. Michael Jackson, on the other hand, was tear-up-the-page newsworthy.”  Source of Story

I wonder if Michael would think his deathbed and morgue photos were tear-up-the-page newsworthy?

Since August of 2009 I’ve discovered a multitude of tabloid trash published with reference to Michael Jackson and other deceased persons, much of which has come under harsh attack by people who declared these articles to be offensive and certainly not newsworthy. What happened to the “Voices for those who no longer have one?” Somewhere along the way, during the Murray trial, the voices got misplaced with the rhetoric of prosecutors Walgren and Brazil. Yes, they were very persuasive and did a remarkable job of entertaining their audience, but I received it as a specialized display which lacked, to a great extent, sincerity. A VERY PROUD DAVID WALGREN AND DEBORAH BRAZIL

Contrary to popular belief it is NOT the truth which sets us free; it is the truth that we KNOW which gives us that freedom. District Attorneys Walgren and Brazil did the world no great favor, they did their job; a job they were compensated for, but with the execution of that job they displayed the worst case of defamation of the deceased I’ve ever seen. To win a case they made a gross and most disrespectful decision to display the death bed and morgue table photos of Michael Jackson. One online tabloid titles it “The final indignity for Jacko”, the UK Daily Mail (September 28, 2011- Use caution visiting this article/defaming photo) UK Daily Mail Article  Photo of the “Proud Prosecutors”

What’s even more appalling, to me, is these prosecuting attorneys used this form of defamation, against Michael Jackson, with the permission of the well-respected Superior Court Judge, Michael Pastor.

The UK Daily Mail isn’t the only media source to plaster Michael’s deathbed photos across the globe but there are countless others. What did they do? They gave the community of haters a seedbed to continue their hate crusade. Yet, we’ve rolled out the red carpet and have given these people high honors. Did we forget to give the prosecutors of the O. J. Simpson trial their awards, too?

I think lead prosecutor, Marsha Clark and her assistant, Chris Darden, did an incredible job but they lost. However, I have no bouquet of roses to give to them and would never think of sending them any.The prosecutors executed their professional duties very well and so did lead prosecutors Walgren and Brazil, but that is as far as it should have gone. How did they merit the rise to the sky-scraping chorus of so much praise and worship? 

Jackson fans applauded the prosecutor when he walked down the courthouse halls, and his performance sparked Facebook fan pages, including “David Walgren Is Hot.” Prosecutor in Conrad Murray case is appointed a judge. Really!!

One last shot at exploiting Michael was the unjust and cruel display of those photos. Yes, I agree with the UK Daily Mail, they took away the final dignity Michael had by displaying, to the world, his death photos. They cared nothing about the family of Michael Jackson and anyone else. Their focus was to WIN, at any cost, and gain a position of notoriety from this landmark case. They were prosecuting the man charged with involuntary manslaughter of the “King of Pop”, Michael Jackson. In their prosecution of the doctor they maliciously published, globally, a photo of Michael Jackson on his hospital death bed and another one of him nude on a cold steel morgue table. It makes no difference that the lower portion of his body was covered with a towel; the man was naked and because the doctor was found guilty the prosecutors will be celebrated forever. The world knew Murray was guilty before the trial ever began. Nothing new about that, what was there to celebrate?

STOP TRAMPLING ON GRAVE OF DECEASEDCadeflaw’s mission has NOT changed. The deceased are not here to defend themselves. We have become their voice. We will continue to call for a law that will hold people like David Walgren, Deborah Brazil and Michael Pastor accountable for their appalling actions toward the deceased. If their mission was one of “shock” they succeeded, but what would Michael’s decision have been to display his death bed photos. I think he would have been devastated. He was not here to engage in the decision. A very small group of people made that decision for him and gave no thought to the embarrassment it caused for this man’s children, family, friends and yes, his fans. I was terribly shocked and embarrassed and still am.

The displaying of the photos was NOT something the world was entitled to see; perhaps the jury needed to see them but not the world. The song and dance I’ve heard about this being a murder trial and the photos had to be shown is nonsense. I’d like for someone to name another deceased person whose deathbed photo has been displayed on national television and the internet. Now these photos are everywhere on the internet; and some unbalanced people even use them for their profile pictures. Nevertheless, we celebrate the people who made the decision to display these photos. I think NOT.

The Cadeflaw Advocates do NOT and will NOT celebrate such a mockery. We continue to call for an anti-defamation legacy law. While we continue to work hard to protect and preserve the legacies of the deceased, I have an enormous difficulty with celebrating people who continue to create arenas designed to blacken the memories of the deceased.

The actions of the California prosecution team made the members of the Westboro Baptist Church look like saints. They make no apologies for the character assassination of the deceased, but the prosecution team hid behind the disguise of prosecuting the doctor to mock Mr. Jackson. I offer no apology for not celebrating Judge Pastor, Walgren and Deputy DA Deborah Brazil. I didn’t see an apology they gave for mocking Michael Jackson, though they did celebrate and Mr. Walgren was rewarded handsomely with an appointment to an office of judgeship. Walgren’s Rise to Stardom Doesn’t he look so proud?

We all know why the media would post these photos, but what is the excuse given by the California officers of the court? They didn’t give one. They didn’t have to because they were celebrated. They didn’t need one. One more nibble out of the flesh of Michael Jackson.

We continue to ask those who believe this is wrong to support Cadeflaw. Let’s do everything within our power to stop or curtail this kind of mockery by calling for a posthumous law that will hold these offenders accountable for their dishonorable actions. Let’s not allow them to hide behind the first amendment or utilize the superficial show of righteousness’ to place a stain on the memory of the deceased. Let’s protect and preserve the memory of the deceased. Those left behind can be hurt.

Photos were NOT newsworthy. They were used to make mockery of Michael Jackson; to evoke reactions of shock, anger and disgust from Michael’s fan-base, family and friends; and to guarantee the prosecutor a rise to STARDOM. Mr. Walgren, you delivered. Congratulations.

I won’t post the photos but I will promise to make sure that every CA legislator receives a copy of each one. They shouldn’t be too shocked since the entire world viewed them on television and the internet is crawling with them. Final Indignity

“By means of the Mummy, mankind, it is said, attests to the gods its respect for the dead. We plunder his tomb, be he sinner or saint, Distil him for physic and grind him for paint, Exhibit for money his poor, shrunken frame, And with levity flock to the scene of the shame. O, tell me, ye gods, for the use of my rhyme: For respecting the dead what’s the limit of time?”  ~Scopas Brune~

MJ Brookins, CAD

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2013 in Advocacy

 

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