Newsroom executives scrambling to convey the drama of the terrorist attacks
grappled Wednesday over whether or not to show graphic video of victims leaping
from Tuesday's attacks on the World Trade Center.
Many networks and stations showed shots of the buildings collapsing where it
was impossible for viewers to distinguish between bodies and debris.
But some opted for shots that seemed more clearly to be people jumping to
CBS did air footage of bodies plummeting from the World Trade Towers in prime
time Tuesday night, although a spokeswoman said the scenes didn't show people
Fox News network executive producer Bill Shine said his network regretfully
showed footage once or twice.
'That was early, it was wrong and accidental. We have [other] video in house
that we've purposefully not shown and will not show,' Shine said.
CNN and MSNBC declined to show the desperate jumpers.
'We tried to exercise good judgement and restraint and be responsible with
what we show,' said Eason Jordan, CNN's head of newsgathering.
Instead of airing jumpers, an ABC spokesman said the network showed two women
at the scene shrieking in horror as their eyes followed the decent of one body
as it fell to earth.
'We thought that was a better way of showing the horror of the situation
without being gruesome,' the spokesman said.
Local affiliates also wrestled with showing the images. Some affiliates
reportedly used footage from CNN, even though CNN said it didn't air the same
video on its own network.
WCBS in New York showed footage once, while Univision's WXTV in New York
showed it twice.
Fox's two New York City stations took CBS' approach of showing snips of
video, while WNBC-TV says its policy is not to show jumpers.
Jennifer Rigby, news director for WPXI-TV Pittsburgh, which covered the
Somerset, Pa. plane crash said her station did not run any shots. 'After
everything people were experiencing, it just seemed one visual too many,' she
- Allison Romano, Steve McClellan and Dan Trigoboff