Obviously we’re not the only ones who’ve noticed the Factor’s habit of decrying exploitation while displaying the evidence, but nothing I could say can match Miller’s look of incredulity near the beginning here. In O’Reilly’s defense, I don’t know how one would go about turning DM’s advice into some bright-line rule against shock video of any kind. It’s always going to be a judgment call between the value of the image as a catalyst for some sort of policy response to injustice versus its titillation quotient. An easy example of the former is the Rodney King video; an easy example of the latter is the Girls Gone Wild video of Spitzer’s hooker shaking her thang, which Bill couldn’t resist airing (follow the link up above). I posted the video myself of the girl in Florida getting beat up, not because it was exciting but because you genuinely couldn’t appreciate how vicious it was without seeing it. Which is to say, if the image is the only way to truly understand why a particular piece of news is newsworthy, then hey. (That goes double for, say, the Mohammed cartoons, but that’s a separate issue.) Factor in the viewer’s own philosophical perspective on injustice — doves want to see the coffins coming home from Iraq but not necessarily replays of the 9/11 jumpers, hawks vice versa — and how do you draw any universal line? Miller’s right that this does feel gratuitous and unnecessary, but considering that the photos will make you want to vomit, they’re awfully strong medicine in raising awareness about “quirky” little polygamous sects like Jeffs’s. Cue Potter Stewart.

Tags: Florida