Mailbag: Diana's Secrets

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48 Hours Investigates:
Diana's Secrets
April 22 at 10 p.m. ET/PT

It was definitely in poor taste to display the photos of the Princess of Wales just moments after her fatal auto crash. She was often referred to as a great humanitarian for the many selfless deeds she performed during her life. She should be remembered as that kind of person, and not in the context of those pictures.

It saddens me that you chose to air the photograph of Princess Diana in the final hours of her life. I don't believe any thought or consideration was given to the boys when planning for this action took place. Shock value, an exclusive, and ratings, it seems, were the most important bullets on the agenda.

It is so disappointing because the Princess adored America, admired its people and so wanted to live here. A shame you didn't focus more on the good that she did in her short life, and the impact she had on so many lives.

I am a regular CBS News viewer. My wife and I found the use of car crash photos in your piece to be in very poor taste. We have come to expect more from CBS. Very disappointing.
--Gary and Carol

I fail to see what the fuss about the death photos is all about. CBS only flashed a couple of seconds of a photocopy of the photos, not enough to see much of anything. And it was done in good taste. It brought out the sad reality of her passing.

Even in her last moments, Diana was a radiantly beautiful princess, a legend of her time and beloved by millions. I only hope the entire truth surrounding the fatal crash will someday be revealed and those who were really behind it brought to justice.

Imagine for a moment that the BBC decided to show pictures from the dying minutes of one of the best loved women in America, a mother of two children, tragically killed in an accident. What an outcry there would be in America. What an appalling lack of sensitivity, "and from our friends, too." Yet CBS showed such photos of Princess Diana. And how many friends of America were lost, in the name of freedom of the press or grubby journalism of the worst kind?

I was pretty shocked to see these pictures, and see no journalistic value in them. But let's just remember that it was a British documentary that aired autopsy pictures of JFK. And we have forever seen a dying RFK lying on the pantry floor. So I'm not sure why the outrage -- there was no blood or gore. I just can't understand why CBS felt the need to show them. They neither added nor detracted from the story.

I have seen the footage, finding nothing horrific in it at all. In fact, considering what they had all gone through, Diana looked not only peaceful, but dignified. This is something the world needs to see, rather than let their imaginations go on and on.

I speak from experience when I say that for William and Harry, it is the best move made. They can now see for themselves that Diana, their precious Mum was in one piece, and looking beautiful. I wish I could say the same about my lost loved ones.

The photo's are a gift to them both. They may not realize that at this time, but eventually they will. Finally they will have the final doors closed, and questions answered,

I am very sorry to know that there is nothing that American television won't do for ratings. What good could possibly come from your doing this story and showing photos of the dying princess at the crash scene almost six years ago.

Her two sons deal every day with the tastelessness of the media and their
mother. Now, they can include the CBS network and 48 Hours. Isn't it enough that we have a president who has managed to alienate us in the world? You have to add this to the pile. Shame on you.

The show was interesting and done in a sensitive matter. The photos after the accident were, in my opinion, needed to bolster the story's credibility, and did not tarnish or disturb the late Diana's image.

Of all the news magazine stories about Princess Diana, especially in the last year, your broadcast was the most accurate, compelling and candid. I am one of the hundreds of biographers on Princess Diana. However, my book compares her life with that of Princess Grace. You report was very fair.

Hopefully, when the coroner's report comes out next year, all these exaggerated theories will go away and she will rest in peace. However, somehow, because of the almighty dollar, I doubt it.

Showing pictures of anyone in such pain and so close to death is just ratings-grabbing trash TV. I'm amazed at the double-standards at work in U.S. broadcasting at present. It is apparently a national scandal when CBS inadvertently screens a mere flash of a breast from a living woman, but it is deemed acceptable to show for 15-seconds the face of a dying woman.

Thank you from England for your coverage of the death of our beloved Diana. It was honest and compassionate, and of course, sad. ... I would hope that the investigation will persuade people once and for all that the death of Diana was, as has always been said, caused by alcohol and speed -- a combination that has cost the lives of many people in this country and your own.

Princess Di's death is the fault of the French department of transportation that didn't put protective barriers next to the vertical pillars in the tunnel. The same accident in a U.S. city would have been a minor fender-bender.

I am completely outraged that CBS aired the photographs of Princess Diana that were taken shortly after the Mercedez crashed. ... Did anyone stop to think how they would have reacted seeing pictures of their deceased love ones during their final moments of life? I will think twice about tuning into CBS in the future.

I did not see your broadcast, but had I known you would be showing those
pictures, I would have tuned in. I was very saddened at the death of the
Princess and it deeply affected me. I would have liked to have seen her last
photographs. They were taken when she was still alive, and if she had lived
through the accident, no one would have any reason to object to them being
taken. No one knew at the time that she would be dead hours later.

I live in the UK, and I am sickened by CBS that they have published the photographs of the crash scene of Princess Diana's death. CBS can be compared to the "gutter" press that we have in the UK that constantly follow our royals where there is no consideration given to the royals rights to privacy. Like most large organizations, they feed on greed, not considering anyone they hurt on the way.

I have usually enjoyed your program, but this time you went too far. Showing pictures of Princess Diana dying in the car after it crashed was more than tasteless, it was an offensive sacrilege. It doesn't matter that the picture wasn't "graphic." There are more important reasons to keep something like this private.

Out of respect for her position and her memory, not to mention her family, this beloved person's photo should not have been shown. In doing so, you stripped her of her dignity and desecrated what should have been the intimate moment of her death.

I support "free speech" and I believe that you were not wrong to show those pictures that everyone seems to call distasteful. Your job is to report the news and you do that well. There is already too much mystery surrounding the death of Princess Diana. You are doing a very good job bringing the truth to light and I commend you. The truth sometimes hurts and that is the only thing wrong with it.

Thank you for airing the Diana pictures. It was not distasteful in the least. Reality exists. The world mourns her death, but what you showed was in no way "shocking." She died in an automobile accident! Burying your head in the sand is ridiculous.

People knew that this was going to be shown, so it was their responsibility not to watch it, if they thought for one micro-second it would upset or offend them. Keep up the excellent work. Truth is the doorway to reality!
--Bonnie and John

It is with the most sincere sadness and humility that I extend my apologies for the shameful and dispirited conduct of CBS's exposition of Princess Diana's most unfortunate accident. I cannot understand such a distasteful and ignorant display of uncaring emotionless and speculative "journalism." ... This entire article could have been properly aired without further painful damage to the princess' children and loved ones. Those photographs were not necessary for the proper conduct of journalism -- this was not journalism!

I too have to state that the photos of Lady Di were not necessary for this story. I think it was a really bad move on your part to portray these on primetime television. I do have to give you credit, though, in that on your Web site, you show that people objected to this airing and you are portraying both pro and against this display. Please, think twice next time.

The pictures that some people are upset about are the last pictures of America's princess. I think most people feel, like I do, that we would like to see this last photo of her.

... Have we really come to the stage in our evolution where a person's passing is not allowed dignity and privacy? You most likely say that because you did not actually take the photographs, your conscience is clear, but in my opinion, you are as bad as those vultures -- because you used them, too.

Should the Princess have died in her sleep peacefully, and the pictures had been taken minutes prior to her death, the world's population would feel the same way -- and not just because it was Princess Diana. A line has to be drawn to where decency ends and indecent intrusion starts. You have crossed that line and should be ashamed.

The use of those photos was deplorable. It isn't so much the graphic content of the photos to which I object so much as the violation of the sad final moments of a much beloved person. Once again, we are the ugly, unfeeling Americans in the eyes of the world, anxious only to make a buck, thanks to your broadcast.