WTVM Editorial 6/3/16: No need for graphic video

WTVM Editorial 6/3/16: No need for graphic video

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Thankfully, Harris County Deputy Sheriff Jamie White is recovering from a shot to his face fired a close range during a routine Memorial Day weekend traffic stop on I-85 north of Columbus.

As the deputy lay wounded, a passerby shot cell phone video, which inevitably, she posted on Facebook.

News Leader 9 made a swift and clear decision not to allow anyone to post that video of the deputy's injuries to our Facebook page. We also chose not to air the graphic video on our news.

Our digital content manager, Tanita Gaither, made the correct decision - and made sure to remove any links or posts that contained the video.

Some who posted on our Facebook page disagreed. Marisol Quinones wrote: "It's graphic and terrible yes, but I feel people need to know."

But the majority of people on our Facebook page supported our decision not to use the graphic video.

Mark Cooper from Newnan wrote: "Thank you!!! Finally a news outlet that is more concerned about respect and human decency than ratings. The woman who took the video should be arrested for failure to render aid."

Kimberly Myers-Thomas posted: "Thank you WTVM for using good common sense some don't have anymore."

Even more importantly, the majority of Facebook comments supported Deputy White. Lindsey Howard Grubbs WROTE, "Praying SO hard for his healing, and family! I can't believe anyone would post such a thing!"

Utopia Simpson posted: "Instead of people filming the incident, they should have been helping. And filming is NOT the way to help."

Denise Richardson said the video was graphic and in bad taste, adding, "How can you film this and take your selfie while doing it? Truly sad."

Finally, this post from Patti Scalf: "There are people who don't understand boundaries. This is a perfect example."

We couldn't agree more, Patti.

Facebook is a wonderful way to communicate but it has its limits. Showing deputy white in his most vulnerable moment is something no one needs to see.


General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to hsteuart@wtvm.com or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee
1909 Wynnton Road 
Columbus, GA 31906

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