More on Journalistic “Ethics”

I just keep thinking of more things that are wrong with this story.

The FP writer relates how the photographer who watched the little girl die later comitted suicide, supposedly haunted by the things he saw. He then writes:

That’s why I can’t blame Gupta for helping out when he did. On the one hand, he crossed a journalistic line and became part of the story. On the other hand, he probably saved a few Haitians’ lives. Imagine how he’d feel if he had to report on CNN that he’d stay there to watch them die that night?

Apart from that “journalistic line” thing again, the writer is literally saying that it was okay that Gupta intervened and crossed that line because it would have been so hard on him if he had watched them die instead. The focus is not on the people who were dying and needed help – it’s on the journalist/photographer and their feelings. You should save people’s lives if you can, not because it’s the right thing to do, but because later you might get all depressed about letting them die and capturing their suffering to further your career. And wouldn’t that be a shame?

Ugh.

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