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Fox News Poll: 77% Opposed National Enquirer Publishing Whitney Houston Open Coffin Picture

February 25, 2012

The past few days has seen a national backlash on the National Enquirer for its shameful front cover image of the body of Whitney Houston in her coffin.  As I stated this publication is “sleazy, tawdry, and completely soulless”.  I ask again if the editor of the National Enquirer requires sedatives to sleep at night after being such a whore for money all day long?

This week Salon posted one of the best paragraphs on the matter.

But there’s a pretty obvious line of taste to be drawn between public memorial or a family wake and plain old crass corpse-ogling. The National Enquirer was not disseminating an image that was ever intended to be shared. If it were, there might be a photo credit on it, or at least the Enquirer would own up to how it obtained it. Instead, it’s doing what the Enquirer does, loathsomely reveling in “all the details” of what the paper itself describes as her “private” viewing. A representative of the Newark funeral home where the photo was taken told E! Thursday that she was “very angry, very upset” about the image, adding, “We would not do that.” Someone, however, clearly did, and is no doubt right now waiting for a substantial check to clear. (Fox estimates the payout for the picture could have been as high as six figures.)

This afternoon I was alerted to the news of a poll by readers to Fox News that shows many others who are not media commentators (or bloggers) hold a very unfavorable view of the invasion of privacy and decency by the National Enquirer.  Common decency was thrown out the window for the bottom line by the National Enquirer.

The Washington Post declared that “a line had been crossed.” The website  Jezebel called it morbid and the site The Daily Caller added: “Running an  image of Whitney Houston’s lifeless body on the cover is pretty par for the  course for The National Enquirer, but it’s still a bit much.”

“The Enquirer struck again with  its latest cover featuring Whitney Houston in a casket. It’s just another  disgusting display of how low celebrity obsession can stoop. Regardless of how  they obtained the picture — and the likely exorbitant price they paid for it,  the Enquirer should have thought twice about this post-mortem portrait,” Denise  Warner, the Executive Editor of the website told Fox411. “No  one needs to remember Whitney preserved in formaldehyde. And it’s certainly not  an image that is necessary in the discussion of her life and death.”

When polled on Wednesday, over  100,000 readers weighed in on the National Enquirer cover. Forty  percent of readers said that the Enquirer publishing the photographs  was a shame, but par for the course for them. Thirty-seven percent said that it  was reprehensible and 21 percent said they saw absolutely nothing wrong with  it.

“Whoever sold that photo of  Whitney Houston in her coffin to the National Enquirer sold their soul in the  process,” one fan tweeted yesterday.

Another added on the social media  site: “So ppl really scooped this low by selling Whitney Houston dead in her  coffin photo shame on you, she can’t even rest in peace.”

3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 26, 2012 7:48 PM

    Thanks for the comment. I am glad you brought this aspect up about this post.

    There is a difference between the use of photos of dead bodies following the horror of the Civil War, WW1, the photos from the concentration camps, or even the corpse pictures of Brezhnev, Andropov, Chernenko, and that of how Whitney Houston’s coffin pic was both obtained and then used. There is a difference between what the NE did this past week, and a news network showing dead people from a famine. There is a difference between the coffins returning to Andrews of the dead soldiers of our wars—a topic I strongly advocated for—and what NE did.

    The reasons for the differences are many. The public has a right to know what our government does, and how it uses tax dollars. Pictures of international wars and the effects that result are needed for historical documentation. When a world leader, or statesman is displayed for the public and international media there is a right to photograph and transmit the image. Over the vast majority of our nation’s history graphic and disturbing news photos have been used as journalists and editors make judgment calls on what best tells a story and conveys the larger truths.

    With the Whitney case someone had to lurk into a funeral home with a cell phone for a picture of a dead celebrity. Then it was sold for a considerable amount of money that then allowed a rag to make even more money. There was no news value to the photo.
    Apart from copyright considerations we both know there is no newspaper in the nation that would have found the picture newsworthy and then published it.

  2. Gern Blanston, freelance malapropist permalink
    February 26, 2012 7:25 PM

    There is a photo on the cover of the (I think it was Friday) print version of the New York Times. It is of a dead Syrian man, wrapped in a white cloth held aloft by several other men. The locations seems to be a street or perhaps a recently bombed-out building. There seems to be no roof, the photographer must be perched on a wall, the angle is about 7 feet or so above the corpse. The dead man’s face is clearly visible. Darkened blood appears below one eye on what was probably a handsome face. The man is young. His eyes are partly closed and their lack of consciousness and focus is very evident. He doesn’t look “stupid” slack or drooling, He does not look undignified. His surroundings do.

    The fact that a reporter sought out this moment and recorded it for publication on a front page, seen by millions of people who do not care one bit about this man – that was just “good journalism”.
    Two dead bodies, two front page images. Two human lives. Two different standards?
    That bothers me. I know you really like Whitney, I have famous people I like too. The Syrian man (his corpse now fleetingly famous) had people who care about him also.
    What’s good enough for “foreigners” is not good enough for our fellow Americans. Think of any American victim of any tragedy – if a reporter had focused on the half-closed eyes of Gabriel Giffords after her having been shot, would it be on the front page of the NYTimes?
    I can’t imagine that happening.
    But dead Ay-Rabs are like fallen leaves, display ’em while they’re freshly fallen and colorful.

  3. Gern Blanston, freelance malapropist permalink
    February 25, 2012 11:34 PM

    Apparently you have no idea about the publication of the Dale Earnhardt autopsy photos. Famous people have always had thousands of people view them/laying in state etc.
    I think publishing autopsy photos pushed the margin of decency way past a PREPARED body in an open casket being snapped.
    And really? she is “unable to rest in peace”? Whitney doesn’t care. Whitney doesn’t know. She was an addict, she probably hadn’t felt peace in the last many decades of her LIFE, why is it a priority now? Contradictory isn’t it?
    People’s response to death and the whole embalming thing , it’s all weird. I have distant relatives who were in the mortuary biz, the stuff they do to bodies is freaking strange. Breaking fingers so they can be arranged to look :”natural and relaxed”, all kinds of stuff like that. It’s gross and strange. I don’t thing snapping a pic of the end product is any stranger than the bone-snapping blood-draining tufted satin behavior itself. But then, I’ve never really excelled at etiquette or ritual, a lot of it seems random and surreal to me. Fortunately only 5 people (or maybe 3) would attend my own funeral, so it really is a non-issue for me. I hope no one spends a lot of money to jack my corpse up with chems and then stand around saying how happy and relaxed I look. . Yuck.
    Crazy crazy stuff.

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