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October 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Once again, it was al-Jazeera that was far ahead of all other news organizations in reporting on the death of Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi. While some U.S. networks were waiting for confirmation of reports that Gadhafi had been killed, al-Jazeera was already airing cell-hone footage of Gadhafi’s body being dragged through the streets near his last stronghold, Sirte. Once they had received permission from al-Jazeera to use the footage of Gadhafi’s bloodied corpse, however, the networks quickly put it on the air — warnings attached — drawing criticism from some viewers. NBC News issued a statement saying, “We want to give our audience the most accurate reports possible without crossing a line into offensive or unnecessarily graphic material. We feel the footage that has aired meets those boundaries, and we’re constantly in touch with producers about what is and is not acceptable.” ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider commented that “these images are the very definition of news.” In its report, the Associated Press said that the footage “test[ed] media organizations around the world on their capacity for showing gruesome pictures.” It said that it had received a seven-word email from a medical student in Cairo: “Stop it. We have seen enough already.”