EDITORIAL : The Web site that first drew attention by posting the unauthorized filming and leaking of Saddam Hussein’s execution has spread a viral video of the last moments of Claudia Suits’ life, as two police officers struggle in vain to resuscitate the 29-year-old Little Ferry mother of two after she was hit by a car on Route 46 outside Teterboro Airport.
LiveLeak, a vi deo sharing site that invites users to post and share videos related to current events, politics and war scenes, seems to believe such footage has news value — when, in fact, it’s ghoulish, heartless and cruel.
The video apparently was taken by rubberneckers with children in the vehicle and has been reposted variously, including by a former North Bergen police officer on CLIFFVIEW PILOT ‘s Facebook Fan Page. It was immediately removed, and the poster was banned from both the site and the fan page .
“Turn around. Turn around,” a male voice — apparently of the person shooting the footage — tells the youngsters as the vehicle rolls by, just before a uniformed officer can stretch crime-scene tape from the airport fence across the highway’s northbound lanes.
CLIFFVIEW PILOT published its own photo — only from a huge distance and with Suits’ body obscured. The photo conveys the urgency of the situation through the actions of police. Nothing else is necessary.
The video, however, is up close: It begins at the western end of the accident scene and continues past emergency vehicles before centering on the officers giving Suits CPR. She is on her back, in jeans, her legs sticking out toward the road.
LiveLeak boasts of “redefining the media” and engaging in “citizen journalism.”
On its site, LiveLeak says: “Media on LiveLeak can sometimes be graphic in nature. However, we only accept graphic media that contains sufficient factual background information and/or media that contains news value.”
That trumps compassion?
Claudia Suits had two children, a husband, a family —
all in overwhelmingly intense pain right now. Hopefully, they never see the clip. Unfortunately, the Internet never forgets: Even if LiveLeak removed the clip, it likely would resurface elsewhere.
Those who shot the video couldn’t delete it, or keep it in their pockets? What kind of insensitivity does that show? If only they could be prosecuted. Or the owners of LiveLeak.
Three years ago, the BBC program “Panorama” broadcast a show about how young people were getting physically assaulted and knocked unconscious.
When Panorama asked LiveLeak about the “extremely violent videos” posted to its site, co-founder Hayden Hewitt refused to have them taken down.
“Look, all this is happening,” he said. “This is real life, this is going on, we’re going to show it.”
In another interview, Hayden Hewitt said: “We like being subversive… on a large scale.”
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