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IS THIS NEWS? A detail from a FOX News screen capture shows a mislabeled image in their “Outrageous Injuries” photo gallery. Is it ethical for FOX to publish X-Rays of a possible rape victim as infotainment? (It is not disclosed how the bottle got lodged in the abdomen--likely violently, even if voluntarily, through the man's rectum).

As iMediaEthics wrote previously, photo galleries of bizarre medical images of conditions or injuries do not make ethical medical journalism.

But following on ABC’s footsteps, FOX News is now running a gallery of images of “outrageous” injuries. Is it an adjunct to some illustrative medical reporting? They do not say.

In the “Outrageous Injuries” photo gallery text, FOX offers no reporting of substance, calling into question the news value and ethical fitness of creating and publishing such images.

Shocking images without context appear more like a circus “freak show” than pieces of journalism.

People may be drawn to bizarre injuries as they are to so-called “freaks,” but that alone is a thin reason, at best, to merit publishing them journalistically.

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In addition to the question of news value, the gallery doesn’t even meet the mark in its construction. Slide 8 of 9 in Fox News’ “Outrageous Injuries” gallery was mislabeled as of February 23. The image caption reads “The teenager was taken to hospital with the blade still stuck just above his eye after the attack outside a Tesco supermarket in Southwark that took place in November 2007.”

Yet the slide title is “Bottle X-Ray 2” and the image itself shows an X-ray with a bottle inside a human’s lower abdomen. Was this man a victim of a violent sex crime? No explanation is given.

Because these are X-ray images, the gallery doesn’t risk harming individuals who could be recognized by friends or family by face. However, permission should always be obtained, StinkyJournalism believes,  when exposing that human being as an example of  bizarre medical conditions.

iMediaEthics has contacted Fox News to ask them about the permissions for this gallery, the news value and benefit to their readers, and to alert them to their caption error so that they can correct it.

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More Bizarre Medical Images, This time at FOX News

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