An Ethics Lesson: Why CBS Aired Graphic Death Video

In August 2015, CBS’ 60 Minutes re-aired some of the most graphic video it has ever aired. (It first aired in April 2015.) The program included video of victims from Sarin gas attacks in Syria.

Scott Pelley explains the decision. Watch the interview, which includes clips of the video in question:

“If you don’t see it, I don’t believe the impact truly hits you,” Pelley tells Silvio. “Even though people will be disturbed by what they see, it has to be seen.”

Eyewitness cellphone videos, broadcast on 60 Minutes, show the aftermath of the 2013 sarin gas attack and the horror that victims of all ages suffered — including seizures, vomiting, and respiratory failure.


Ask your students, what would have happened if Jews in Germany and Poland had cellphones and could have posted their plight on the Internet?

“That’s not the kind of thing you want to report on for a couple of days and then walk away and never remember again,” Pelley says. “You want to never forget that that kind of thing happened — and that’s where 60 Minutes comes in.”