The New York Daily News has been slammed on social media for its insensitive reporting of Wednesday’s fatal WDBJ shooting that left a reporter and a photographer dead.
The cover of Thursday’s edition of the tabloid paper shows features a close-up shot of suspect Vester Flanagan as he fired at Alison Parker while doing a standard live shot with an interviewee at Bridgewater Plaza near Moneta, Virginia.
Three parallel photos from the point of view of the killer reveal Parker’s horrified expression as the gun fires,with the headline “Executed on Live TV” wrapping around the shocking images.
The graphic reenactment quickly sparked outrage on social media, with people voicing their disgust and threatening to boycott the paper.
“What’s so stunningly ugly about the NY Daily News front page is that it’s the image the shooter wanted us to see,” one Twitter user wrote.
“Absolutely appalled they’re putting this out. All for an extra dollar,” tweeted another. “Sickening how the front page of the NY Daily News tomatoes chose that as a cover than this #WDBJ,” was a further person’s judgment.
Both Parker, 24, and photographer Adam Ward, 27, were killed, while the woman being interviewed, Vicki Gardner, was shot in the back but survived.
Flanagan, the suspect in the shooting and a former colleague of the two journalists, died later Wednesday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after leading police on a car chase, authorities said.
The screen grabs on the Daily News’ front page are taken from video posted on a Twitter account under the name Bryce Williams — a pseudonym Flanagan used as an on-air anchor — which showed someone walking up to the WDBJ news crew and pointing a gun at them.
Another tweet said, “I filmed the shooting.” The Facebook and Twitter account have since been suspended.
The video shows the gunman approaching Parker and Ward as Parker conducted a routine interview for a local story. The shooter appears to take his time aiming the gun, presenting it and then withdrawing it, before composing the angle of his video and firing at the reporter.
Flanagan faxed a 23-page manifesto to ABC News on that morning in which he hinted at his plans and their motivation: “What sent me over the top was the church shooting. And my hollow point bullets have the victims’ initials on them.”
The former reporter had a history of anger issues and was fired from the station in February 2013 and was reportedly escorted out of the newsroom by security.
See the tweets ripping the Daily News below.
The strong reactions against the NY Daily News cover, and the refusals to share it, give me hope that good does indeed trump evil. #WDBJ
— Meagan Millage (@MeaganMillage) August 27, 2015
I worked in the industry for a long time, laid out 100s of front pages. I am physically ill by NY Daily News. Ashamed to be a New Yorker.
— Chris Strub 🇺🇦 (@ChrisStrub) August 27, 2015
NY Daily News, seriously!? Your cover is disrespectful to not only Allison, Adam, & their families but to everyone who had to see that cover
— jub (@jubronic) August 27, 2015
the entire NY Daily News editorial team needs to be F I R E D
— Alex Labeck (@BigRedDiva) August 27, 2015
Actual humans at NY Daily News thought that was a good idea. It's unfathomable. Not to mention it has to go through many during production.
— Zack D'Ulisse (@740JZD) August 27, 2015