(In)decency vs Journalism

July 13, 2017

Last night, July 12th, 2017 I shared a post on the 93.3 the Planet Facebook page that was met with significant backlash from listeners. Let me be clear, this is not a retraction or an apology, simply an explanation. Some of you may understand. Others may still choose to disagree but I intend to make my point and purpose known.

TMZ shared a gallery of photos taken inside the hotel room Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell died in on May 18th, 2017. Let me be clear, there were absolutely no photos of the body. It was a collection of photos including an empty made-up hotel room, prescription medication bottles, the exercise band the victim used to take his own life, and one blurred photo of a small blood splatter on the bathroom floor. I shared their link with the [paraphrased] caption "I think it's sick that TMZ shared these photos. I'm thankful at least they showed some modicum of respect and did not share photos of the body. If you are dealing with depression, loneliness, anxiety, or helplessness PLEASE reach out and talk to someone. There will always be someone willing to listen, even me. I'm here." Many of the commenters felt I was hypocritical and downright disrespectful to share the photos that I deemed "sick".

Allow me to explain my reasoning:

I understand that some of you have dealt with suicide in your family. It's tragic and never something to be made light of and I feel for your losses. I also understand that many more of you hold a special place in your heart for Soundgarden, Audioslave, and Chris Cornell's work. However, these photos exist. No matter how much you wish they weren't, they are the ugly truth. They are out there, circling the internet being posted and reposted by various sites as journalistic evidence of an event that happened; photos no different from yellow tape and chalk outlines so often seen on the nightly news. Many of you had a visceral reaction to them because the victim touched closer to home than those you see on the news. These photos made real something that was hurtful but otherwise distant but they do not change what happened. I did not share the link with intent to profit, gain exposure, or feel sadistic pleasure. I shared them because it's important to see the devastation left behind when someone succumbs to their demons.

Choose to believe or not believe me. It's up to you, but I felt it necessary to explain my true intentions.

If you made it this far thank you for reading the entire post.