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ABC will cease airing WTC explosion clips

Footage will be used if it is 'critical to the editorial integrity' of a piece

ABC News has decided to stop airing some of the most dramatic videotape related to last week’s terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Alphabet news topper David Westin has asked reporters and producers to cease using tape of the two planes slamming into the Twin Towers, the explosion that followed and the crumbling of the two buildings. If stories require some visual image, ABC will use still photos.

The network may end up showing some of the footage in question, but only if it is “critical to the editorial integrity” of the story, an ABC News spokeswoman said. In that event, decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Westin made the decision Monday, after deciding that the use of such scenes didn’t serve much of an editorial or public service, particularly since the images have already been seared into the nation’s consciousness. Viewer response also played a role in the move, ABC anchor Peter Jennings said during an on-air announcement about the decision Monday night.

Late last week, ABC said it would sharply cut back its use of the World Trade Center scenes.

A CBS News spokeswoman said the Eye had no plans to institute a similar networkwide policy on footage; decision is up to individual broadcasts.

Meanwhile, an NBC News spokeswoman said the Peacock didn’t have a blanket policy either, but that the footage is airing less. “We will only use it when it is appropriate and germane to the story,” she told the Associated Press.

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