In a world of short attention spans and ooh-shiny distractions, news is forced to meet us where we’re at. Hence, the wall-to-wall January 6 hearings and Fox News’ competing ad-free “regular” programming.
Most, if not all, of the news we get these days is highly produced, but some things are seen as crossing the line (a line that moves further and further as attention span shrinks). Certain photos and videos will turn away more people than they grab. When the whole aim is to increase audience, those photos and videos usually land on the cutting room floor.
In the U.S., there is currently a debate about this issue regarding the mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas. Many think that, if any of the victims’ families gave permission, images of what semi-automatic weapons do to bodies—especially children’s bodies—could lead to an increase in gun protections.
There is finally movement in Congress. The House passed a gun reform package, and the Senate came to a bipartisan agreement on gun safety over the weekend.
Will a picture push that even further? What is the power of an image?