I watched CTV's complete coverage of the lastest return of dead soldiers from Afghanistan. I have always argued that the media must be allowed access to these solemn events because it illustrates the true cost of war. However, having said that, I must say I found today's extensive coverage somewhat distasteful. I believe there is a way to tell the true story without sensationalizing the event to produce good television.
I quick shot or two of the families would seem sufficient to convey the message. What I saw today was a complete fixation which seemed to betray a sense of respect. Do I need a camera following the family everywhere, extensive closeups and even some disturbing audio to make the point? The plane lands, this is the first opportunity for the families to openly grieve- is there not some way to allow a few private moments before we begin "shooting"? I felt uncomfortable watching such an intimate moment, like I was intruding. Brought to tears as you sense the gravity, but you still feel like you shouldn't be there.
Most of the families want the coverage, as a way to honor the sacrifice and show the respect deserved. However, in my mind today's two hour coverage of every moment crossed a line that is unnecessary. Let the families have a few private moments, without the added stress of feeling like they are on stage. The next time I see this "event" I'm not watching, it feels like exploitation. I think there is a more tasteful way to cover these ceremonies, that doesn't have to devolve into reality television.