There is a video death obsession that is prevalent among varied sects in all corners of the planet. The huge success of videos such as the ”Faces of Death” series, which contain actual footage of varying and rather unfortunate ways people have met their maker, so-called “snuff films,” and other tasteless exercises in video wretchedness, are big business. That big business may be about to get a little bigger.

When Steve “the crocodile hunter” Irwin was killed by a stingray over the weekend, he was filming a special for an upcoming broadcast. This means the cameras were rolling, and now there’s speculation about whether or not that footage will be released. Probably not, according to those with pull at Irwin’s program, but history tells us different.

The footage of Steve Irwin’s final moments alive may never be shown to the public, the head of the US TV company that broadcasts his show said today.

Billy Campbell, the president of Discovery Networks, which owns the Animal Planet channel, said it was far too early to decide what footage viewers would see from Irwin’s fatal trip on the Great Barrier Reef.

This is all pending a discussion with Irwin’s widow, but one would imagine that out of respect for his children, this material would never be shown publicly.

Ah, but there’s the problem. “Respect” is quite often trumped by “money.”

Somehow, somewhere, a regular Joe who happened to be working on location or who has access to the footage is being contacted by every tabloid journal show, video website, or maybe even al Jazeera, and having some serious AUD’s thrown at him.

Unfortunately, the odds are high that the decision on whether or not to release the footage to the public won’t be made by any suit at The Discovery Channel or member of Irwin’s family – It will be made by money.

The footage will most likely be on You Tube or some such place within a couple of weeks.

Rest in peace, Mr. Irwin, at least until the video vultures finish their long, circled descent. Crikey.


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