We have all seen the deeply disturbing video of George Floyd being choked and killed by the knee of a police officer, while the officers ignored the pleas of bystanders. This has led to an unprecedented movement worldwide in support of achieving racial justice and putting an end to police brutality.
In displaying the upheaval over racism in America and around the world, journalism continues to play a vital role in society. Journalists are able to inform us of the demonstrations in a city around the country or around the world and amplify voices that need to be heard.
However, one problem that I have and I am sure that many other Americans have is the constant display of the gruesome video that depicts the senseless killing of George Floyd on news networks.
The video is definitely important.
It awakened the impulse in humanity to act and secure justice. It showed people who did not believe that police brutality is an important problem that they are wrong. Finally, it led to action. The police officers in question have finally been charged (not yet convicted) for the crime.
I believe that at this point showing the video of the killing repeatedly in a short broadcast or on a cable news network is unjustified and it is not in the best interest of the people. People should hear the voices of those impacted by police brutality, observe and join the peaceful protesters, and look at the history of this nation to figure out how to come up with a better future. They should not have to endure seeing this inhumane video upwards of ten times in a thirty minute broadcast when a news anchor, public official, protester, or anyone for that matter could just speak of it.
This is not a problem that is limited to this specific incident. Whenever a terror attack or school shooting happens, graphic images and videos are shown. These are not only of the incident, but also of the perpetrator of the acts. The names of the killers are broadcast constantly and their backgrounds are discussed. This is traumatizing to survivors, loved ones of those killed, young people, and the general population. Imagine seeing a person you have known your whole life get killed in a violent video. That alone is enough to inflict widespread psychological trauma in a person for the rest of their life. After losing someone they care about, individuals have to face the graphic videos of the killings and images of the person who took the person they care about away from them. As a member of Generation Z, I can say that we have not only heard about these incidents, but seen graphic videos about them and heard the killers’ names repeatedly whenever this takes place. This has and will continue to affect the mental health of the youth.
On top of this, on some extremist websites, these terrible crimes are celebrated and there is a competition to see who can get the highest kill count or the most media attention. There have been efforts to combat this by simply saying “the killer” or “the perpetrator,” but many of these practices are forgotten when the next major incident happens.
There are valuable conversations happening in this country right now and I believe that there could be more constructive ones if the people that want change are listened to and this video is no longer shown in television broadcasts.
Sign this petition if you support this cause. If you have an alternate view, you can let that be known too.