Sunday’s episode of 60 Minutesfeatures graphic footage of a chemical weapons attack on the suburbs of Damascus in 2013 – and even before the episode was broadcast, CBS released a video pre-emptively defending its decision to show the tape.
In the video, 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley explains that the graphic footage is a necessary component to convey the true tragedy of the attack, which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,000 Syrian civilians, many of whom were children, as well as the horrifying results of sarin gas.
“These kinds of things happen in this world too often, because people don’t see them and don’t know why, of all the weapons in the world, why sarin is banned by almost every country on earth,” Pelley says. “We wanted to just stop and show it to the world so that people can understand the hideousness of this weapon.”
Pelley admits that he and the other producers who worked on the story walked out of the editing room “shaken” after looking at the footage each day – and are fully aware that the segment will draw complaints from some viewers.
“Those complaints aren’t unfounded, but this is the right thing to do,” Pelley says. “Even though people will be disturbed by what they see, it has to be seen.”
Watch Pelley’s explanation below. Do you think 60 Minutes was right to show the footage?
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)
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