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Ear to the Ground

Luge Snuff Video: What Were the Networks Thinking?

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Posted on Feb 14, 2010

Days after the luge accident that killed a Georgian Olympian, we still can’t shake the disturbing images and sound of his body flying off the track at 90 mph and striking a steel pole. That trauma was delivered in full high definition by the three major networks, which all reached the same appalling decision to air the footage.

The father of the dead athlete has said he will not watch the video, but why should anyone have? Unlike the wilds of the Internet, the networks are expected to filter out content this morbid and exploitative. One can make the argument that network news ought to be more unfiltered in some cases, such as war. But this is different. This is a snuff film.

Worse, they all did it. Not one of the big three had the decency to uphold the most basic of standards. This is what television has become. Spare us Janet Jackson’s tit, but if someone’s head collides with a steel pole, give it to us with surround sound, again and again.  —PZS

Sources: Washington Post, ABC News

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By elwoodpdowd, February 16, 2010 at 8:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s the usual corporate media hypocrisy- networks love violence but they won’t ever show real killing in Iraq and Afghanistan. Check out column on Counterpunch from yesterday by Dave Lindorf

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By DarthMiffy, February 16, 2010 at 6:01 am Link to this comment

Don’t watch it if you don’t want to. Otherwise, leave the rest of us who CAN deal
with reality alone. The man died needlessly. Someone decided not to cover the
concrete poles on where athletes had expressed fear for their lives. We SHOULD
see the results of actions, such as dead bodies in wars our countries cause and
continue. Not seeing it does not change the reality, but see it might.

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Allan Krueger's avatar

By Allan Krueger, February 15, 2010 at 7:48 pm Link to this comment

The only thing I watch during the Olympics would be the woman’s figure skating - all the young hard bodies are a dream!

Leave the gore to one of Zombie’s movies!

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By bmeisen, February 15, 2010 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

Numbing the public to violence - makes it easier to get recruits to sign up for the next war. I was troubled that websites used still images of the poor man. It was a predatory choice to exploit our ever weaker resistence to voyeuristic instinct, the goal being ... more clicks-throughs? Did the networks get a payoff for running the video? Was it worth it?

I only saw the trailer of Zombieland. Apparently the film invents a new genre: snuff comedy. Hilarious how those bodies get blown apart, banged up and tossed around.

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By tyler, February 15, 2010 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

while i agree that people have the ability to change the channel on something like this, it is overwhelmingly tasteless. 

would YOU like a video of a loved one who died on film being circulated on tv and internet for everyone to watch?

stupid thing to do, thats someones child.

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By bEHOLD_tHE_mATRIX, February 15, 2010 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Olympic competition should be about bringing your best
effort, not risking your life.  I hope the Georgian
sledder’s family gets an excellent global personal-loss
lawyer and sues the crap out of all associated parties. 
Murphy’s law was not headed.  Spectacular speeds, 
spectator vantage and camera coverage took precedence
over participant safety.

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By Matt, February 15, 2010 at 7:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Seriously? You apparently have no free will? When the anchors say, “we’re going to show the video” that’s the point when you can turn it off. That you didn’t, says just as much about you as it does them. (For the record, I turned it off).

Argue all you want about their standards, but in my opinion, you’re not allowed to choose to watch, then be outraged at your choice.

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By diman, February 15, 2010 at 6:15 am Link to this comment

To PSmith…

What is the point of your tirade? Enlighten us the wimps and the lilly-livered boob-tube viewers, what’s your take on this?

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mrfreeze's avatar

By mrfreeze, February 14, 2010 at 9:24 pm Link to this comment

Why would this surprise anyone? The Olympics has become nothing more than an orgy of commercialization and public exploitation. Showing an athlete die sells advertising. It’s “good for business.” And, after all, isn’t that the purpose of putting on the Olympics?

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By atticus, February 14, 2010 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I feel very sorry for his family.But I must say, the whole Olympic thing is stupid. We prols are told we must prepare for global climate change and conserve or do without while the rich and strange jet around the world oblivious to the fact that Native land has been taken.
And just wait until you see what they did to neighborhood gardens in London - home of the next big mess.

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By diman, February 14, 2010 at 7:36 pm Link to this comment

I actually said the same thing to my wife, when they showed the clip of the unfortunate man hitting one of the steel poles on CTV here in Canada. And then they did the analysis of the accident, they brought some experts and showed the clip again, like some god damn snuff addicts.

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