Saying there is a need for disturbing images in order to increase awareness of an issue is a little macabre. And it’s something I don’t totally agree with. There is already the idea that such photos are published for sensationalist reasons rather than to aware and such a difference in reasoning should be easy enough to discern. While tragic photos of children injured in a war being fought in their front lawn could be seen as looking to inform ones readership on the real cost of war, the photos floating around the web of the victim of the “Miami zombie” can be seen as nothing more than sensationalist, serving no other purpose but to satisfy a morbid nations need to see just what exactly the results of a drugged up failure ripping a man’s flesh from his face, biting off his nose and gouging his eyes out looks like, all while holding our stomachs and pretending the very thought makes us sick. Rumors of the attacker being on a new designer drug doesn’t help matters; the publication and hype surrounding this story can almost force it to stray into propaganda territory. For a long time after the attack, bath salts were blamed for attacker Rudy Eugenes actions. The story alone was probably enough to swear confused teens all over the country off bath salts, the government unable to find a way to regulate them yet. Releasing the photos would have really driven the point home.
When we look at the reasoning behind why a certain photo is released or used by a news source, disturbing or not, we must never think that a photo was chosen simply because it looked fitting. Does a news source want to make money publishing grotesque photos of a man missing his face? Do they want to increase relief to a country in need of it by publishing tragic photos of a disasters aftermath? Do they have some sort of investment in something that would cause them to only showcase one side of a story? It’s questions like these that should help determine the motives behind a story and who we should really be trusting.