We asked who would distribute the inevitable Saddam Hussein execution video, and the answer was the same as for every other question in 2006: You. We won't bother posting the clip here, but your friendly neighborhood YouTube has dozens of duplicates available for your Faces of Death viewing pleasure. So presented with this huge gift of a news story during the holiday dead zone, how did media outlets finesse the grisly, standards-and-practices-breaking problem of airing an execution?
Supposedly taken by a cell phone, the grainy shaky-cam footage — a charming supplement to the more sanitized government version — doesn't look like it was taken all that surreptitiously, but an Iraqi investigation into who shot it has been launched all the same. Like most print outlets, the New York Times reported on the Story of the Video angle once and again; no networks dared air the full clip, though Fox was the first to air portions of it on Saturday. Such niceties were not observed online, with Fox showing the full video (up to and including the close-up of Saddam's broken neck), while CNN.com stopped with the placing of the noose. Everyone who showed the cellcam clip claimed they did so because of the journalistic value of the accompanying audio, which recorded the various taunts and shouts between Saddam and his guards. Hooray for context.
Hussein Video Grips Iraq; Attacks Go On [NYT]
Hard Choices Over Video of Execution [NYT]
Networks air more Saddam execution video [Reuters]
Iraq probes grisly Saddam death video [AFP]
The Cameraphone Witness [Screens]