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Manassas News & Messenger Wins The Scrooge Award

By Greg L | 16 December 2008 | Prince William County | 16 Comments

Ten days before Christmas, a sanitation worker in Woodbridge was killed in an accident leaving behind a wife and three young children.  The Manassas News & Messenger decided to really get into the spirit of the holidays and splash a picture of the deceased being given the last rites by the Fire Department’s chaplain on the front page of of today’s edition.  Merry Christmas, kids.  Here’s your dead daddy being hawked as a means to sell fish wrap.

And to think that some wondered why I called this outfit the Manassas Urinal-Massager before they changed their name. 

Riley over at Virginia Virtucon is horrified at this, and with good reason. He knows what they’re going through, and he well knows, as just about anyone out there with a semblance of a conscience would, that it’s just outright brutal to be putting pictures of a dead parent in a newspaper.  To put this on the front page is completely beyond the pale.  One just has to wonder what in the heck was going thorough these folks minds when they decided that this could somehow be a good idea.  Would editor Susan Svhilik have published a photo on the front page of one of her dead family members, even outside of the Christmas season?  Yeah, I thought so.

I imagine the letters to the editor are going to be quite something over the next couple of days, but then again I won’t be reading this newspaper and may never know.  I bet I’m not going to be the only one.

UPDATE: Scott’s Morning Brew is completely unsatisfied with the paper’s explanation of what they did.  He calls BS, and I’d agree.

In all my years as a forensics technician (and forensic photographer I might add), I have had many dealings with the media. NEVER has anyone at one of my scenes, ever published such a photograph. And they had plenty of opportunities to do so. But they chose the sensible route. The common sense route. Not the idiotic.

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  1. Riley said on 16 Dec 2008 at 9:42 pm:
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    Perhaps since this paper has changed its name, you should change your name for them as well from the Manassas Urinal-Massager to something more appropriate — like the Manassas Death Merchants.

  2. Emma said on 16 Dec 2008 at 10:15 pm:
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    Could they POSSIBLY have been more tasteless? I hadn’t looked at the paper today. Absolutely disgusting. That paper is staffed by a bunch of semiliterate morons who are completely out of touch with their readership. In the spirit of the season, I am notifying them that I am canceling my subscription and donating the money I would be spending to a worthy cause.

  3. ddpdrinker said on 16 Dec 2008 at 10:38 pm:
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    Before I even saw this on BVBL, I sent a letter to the editor blasting them for the disgusting photo they printed. What a horrible memory to put in print for the wife and children.

  4. DPortM said on 17 Dec 2008 at 6:04 am:
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    When my mother died, the Journal Messenger placed a picture of the crashed plane on the entire “above the fold” section. Imagine being 14 and walking onto your front porch to pick up the newspaper and seeing the crashed plane in which your mother died. It was so horrible that I have virtually no memories of almost 1 1/2 years of my life after seeing that photo.

    Needless to say, I have detested that paper ever since and have never purchased that rag. The Journal Messenger has no consideration for the families of victims - they sicken me.

  5. Emma said on 17 Dec 2008 at 6:28 am:
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    The PN staff have some illusion that they’re providing “cutting edge” journalism, or maybe they’re hoping for a Pulitzer, but they come off as ignorant, illiterate hillbillies instead.

  6. D.J. McGuire said on 17 Dec 2008 at 8:17 am:
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    Hey, it could be worse. The website’s top story was a child porn bust.

  7. Billy Bob said on 17 Dec 2008 at 9:12 am:
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    D.J., at least they FINALLY picked up on the case, after several days
    of ignoring it. I suppose someone over at MJM saw the child porn
    bust on Nat’l TV and figured since it was local, they should do some
    reporting. When you consider how many children this PWC deputy
    sheriff could have been in contact with under the guise of wearing a
    uniform, it’s amazing that it took so long for them to report the crime(s).
    Greg is so adamant when it comes to stuff like this…I am shocked that
    there has been no comment from him. I wonder why?

  8. anonymous said on 17 Dec 2008 at 2:35 pm:
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    Several hundred copies of this newspaper are delivered to and used in public and private schools across the area. Our students should be able to use the local paper as a means of increasing literacy and becoming informed of local and national events. However, flaunting a disturbing picture as the dead worker covered in a sheet with a priest giving last rites is totally inappropriate. As a teacher, I would be concerned what my students were forced to look at (that picture is unavoidable!). This is a good reason to no longer use this newspaper for classroom work as well as to no longer receive it in a home with children present!

  9. citizenofmanassas said on 17 Dec 2008 at 4:54 pm:
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    I suppose they can use the excuse the editor was busy chomping on a bagel and was not asked to sign off on the picture.

  10. citizenofmanassas said on 17 Dec 2008 at 4:55 pm:
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    That is insulting to hillbillies. They are in fact liberal and wish they were the COMPOST.

  11. Chuckie said on 17 Dec 2008 at 5:11 pm:
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    What can you expect, considering who is on their Board?

  12. Anonymous said on 18 Dec 2008 at 7:33 pm:
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    More upset about a picture in the paper than the fact that a man died.

  13. Emma said on 19 Dec 2008 at 6:45 am:
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    Anonymous, you ridiculous troll, that is the whole point, that the family had to see this displayed on most of the front page, and how it might impact the poor children of the dead worker. I assume you’re the same “anonymous” who was picking at those of us who are mourning the Osbourn student. Go to hell.

  14. manassascityresident said on 19 Dec 2008 at 8:44 am:
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    Ditto to Emma’s comment above!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. es_la_ley said on 19 Dec 2008 at 6:05 pm:
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    The MJM is blogging about it here…


  16. es_la_ley said on 19 Dec 2008 at 6:14 pm:
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    # Anonymous said on 18 Dec 2008 at 7:33 pm:

    More upset about a picture in the paper than the fact that a man died.

    Tact is not one of your stronger points. Troll.

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