Fox News' Suicide SNAFU: Suspect's Kids Watched Dad Kill Himself

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Last week, Fox News accidentally aired a video-feed of a car-jacking suspect blow his brains out on live TV.

The dead suspect has been identified as 33-year-old Jodon Romero, a multiple felon who led police on an hour-long chase after at firing at cops following the car-jacking.

The fact that Romero killed himself -- and Fox aired the suicide on live TV -- is unfortunate. The fact that Romero's kids watched the footage is what makes it tragic.

Our sources in Phoenix, Arizona, confirm to the Voice what's been reported in local media outlets: Romero's kids watched their father shoot himself in the head. They didn't watch it live, but they found the footage on the Internet.

Buzzfeed was the first to publish footage of Fox's screw up. Buzzfeed's video was also published by Gawker, the Phoenix New Times -- a Voice sister publication -- and various other online publications, including us.

Fox's SNAFU -- and its distribution by web-based publications -- has sparked a debate over whether police chases should be broadcast live.

Police chases have little-to-no news value -- we watch because there's the possibility that something tragic will happen. Then, when something tragic happens, we act stunned and outraged that it was aired on live TV. But we still watch -- every time.

Arizona Republic columnist E.J. Montini penned a column about Fox's decision to make a police chase in Phoenix national news.

From Montini's column:

I know that we as a society are obsessed with technology. I understand that we are even MORE obsessed with the grotesque, macabre and tragic possibilities of "reality" television.

But, come on.

In what universe is a carjacking in Phoenix national news?

That is, unless you're hoping to capture something just this grotesque.

I'd hoped we'd learned our lesson in 2007, when helicopters from Channel 3 (KTVK) and Channel 15 (KNXV) were covering a police chase when they collided above Steele Indian School Park. Pilot Scott Bowerbank and photographer Jim Cox of Channel 3 and pilot Craig Smith and photographer Rick Krolak of Channel 15 died in the accident.

Maybe this is one of those lessons we'll never learn.

Common sense and common decency lose to ratings every time.

That said, others have defended the the broad distribution of the video because -- in the words of Gawker's Hamilton Nolan "it is news." And Farhad Manjoo, of Slate, defended Buzzfeed's decision to publish the video, tweeting that "I'm with @BuzzFeed. People are talking about a thing on Twitter. Posting stuff people are talking about is what BF does. This is their job."

We want to know what you think: are police chases "news" worth redistributing on the web once they turn tragic?

Cast your vote below.



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14 comments
aarieem9
aarieem9

Die sexuellen Energien des 28jahrigen Hlynur erleben einen Kurzschluss, als er entdeckt, dass die Frau, mit der er geschlafen hat, die Geliebte seiner Mutter und vielleicht von ihm schwanger ist. Vor dem Hintergrund des pulsierenden Nachtlebens in...

Rabbi_Pedro
Rabbi_Pedro

I didn't know they televised FOX News inside juvenile hall

Rabbi_Pedro
Rabbi_Pedro

They RUN

The cops CHASE THEM

We WATCH

What's the big deal?

Wayne
Wayne

Locally, car chases should be televised...on a national level: no.

GreenEyedLilo
GreenEyedLilo

@PensPuddles @coco_rivers @Column55 You have no idea how much I wished that man's loved ones were all far from a TV.

FlorieGray
FlorieGray

@Column55 During the last few minutes, Smith was shouting for them to stop the feed; apologizing after. He is far better than Fox deserves.

gynnady
gynnady

I'll be the 1st to admit I get as caught up in the hype over a car chase as anyone and for as prurient a reason as any:  I want to see if something happens.  I don't *want* anything to happen or for anyone to get hurt, but if it does I want to see it.  but newsources shouldn't cater to our basest wants.  that eyeball part of me shouldn't be the part that gets aimed at.  there's news value to following a chase with a camera--it might be noteworthy later--but to follow it live with all harm and injury displayed like it was an hour's midafternoon entertatinment, this is just wrong. 

PensPuddles
PensPuddles

@GreenEyedLilo @coco_rivers @column55 the whole thing is so sad... Can't even imagine how his family feels..

coco_rivers
coco_rivers

Can't even imagine it, just awful. Fox should be ashamed. @GreenEyedLilo @PensPuddles @Column55

PuckUInTheGlass
PuckUInTheGlass

@GreenEyedLilo found it in less than 5 minutes, but why were they looking for it? Not as shocking if they wanted to see it.

PuckUInTheGlass
PuckUInTheGlass

@GreenEyedLilo the fox news suicide thing... His kids weren't watching live, they looked it up on the internet. Sucks that they probably....

GreenEyedLilo
GreenEyedLilo

@PuckUInTheGlass I'm disgusted that websites like Gawker, which I don't think needs my views anymore, put it up, too.

PuckUInTheGlass
PuckUInTheGlass

@GreenEyedLilo I agree that the video shouldn't be online at all, but if you dig a little there are much MUCH worse things online.

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