A note on images offered in Boston Marathon bombing coverage:
The publication of this photo is quite remarkable in displaying Jeff Bauman’s terrible injuries [he is at the start of what will be a long and difficult recovery/rehab]. US media are usually much more reticent in offering graphic images of dead or injured in accidents and disasters, and even more so if they are US service men or women, or alleged to be victims or survivors of American military action. Regarding this image: it certainly conveys the terrible reality of the cost to innocent civilians of a terrorist or other attack on US soil or anywhere. But we very rarely see anything as graphic from anywhere else.
This image: some newspapers cropped the images above the knee, but Internet pubs very often showed it all. The speed with which web pubs feel compelled to post items surely had some part in decisions to post. The version at The Atlantic from Associated Press was in fact more shocking; see http://bigstory.ap.org/article/dad-marathon-bomb-victim-had-both-legs-amputated. Sometime after it was displayed, Bauman’s face was obscured, but not before his family and friends learned of his injuries through such images. Other media blurred out his terrible injuries, but not his face. Ethical issues here, anyone?
The photo also offered a genuine hero to focus on. Carlos Arredondo, who saved Bauman’s life, and gave us the typical and easily assimilated disaster/conflict narrative of loss and heroism. And Bauman is now also receiving more attention as a hero than as a victim see: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2314195/Jeff-Bauman-Boston-bombings-hero-lost-son-Iraq-describes-emotional-hospital-visit-man-life-famously-saved.html
It will be interesting to watch further discussion of why pubs went far beyond usual boundaries in this and other images of Boston victims and survivors. A few places useful to thinking about this: http://dartcenter.org/content/boston-marathon-bombings-kill-two-injure-dozens-as-city-thrown-into-chaos#.UXOY3yu63xY and http://www.ochbergsociety.org/http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/infocus/bos041513/s_b08_53227478.jpg