When the New York Post splashed a picture of Ki Suk Han's final moments on its cover yesterday, it managed to do a rare thing: get the general public interested in journalism ethics. People were incensed, and in the New York Times, David Carr examines why that is. The picture of Han desperately trying to get out of the path of an oncoming subway train symbolizes many deep-seated feelings: our inherent suspicion of the media; our fear that no one will come to our aid when the worst happens; our terror over the idea that public spaces have increasingly become fraught with danger; our fear of death itself.
Carr thinks the Post "milked the death of someone for maximum commercial effect." But in the New Republic, Tom McGeveran writes that, sure, the cover was tasteless—but that's exactly the point. The Post is a tabloid, and it knows what will sell papers. "It's fine to hate the conversations the Post chooses to foster and insert itself into, but it's a tougher thing to tell it, or any newspaper, that it ought to be better than the people who read it," McGeveran writes. Click for his full column, or Carr's. (Read more New York Post stories.)