Don’t film my torso |

Don’t film my torso

Dave Frank
Appeal Staff Writer

Television news stations doing stories on obesity should stop filming the torsos of overweight people because it is rude and unnecessary.

My favorite comedian, Jim Gaffigan, already pointed out that people will eventually figure out that their torsos are being shown on the news, even if the camera frame doesn’t include their faces.

This is true, but filming overweight people walking down the street is also bad because television stations have no reason to do this even if the given story is specifically about overweight people.

Both overweight and non-overweight people already know what overweight people look like. There’s no reason to remind them.

“So you’re telling me about a situation involving overweight people,” someone will never say to their television. “But, if you could, explain to me exactly who these ‘overweight people’ are.”

People at television news stations don’t care that there is no reason to film the torsos of random overweight people and they will continue to instruct people they are in charge of to do this kind of filming.

“Go film overweight people walking down a street who don’t want to be filmed and put on the news,” news station editors must be saying. “Unethical? No, it’s not unethical. We don’t show their faces.”

But, for any other subject, when is filming random people’s torsos for unflattering stories OK? What if the story were about short people? What if it were about disabled people? What if it were even about ugly people/television news anchors?

Also, who are these cameramen standing on the street filming the torsos of random overweight people? What criteria do they follow? Do they have to let people know what they’re doing?

I’ve never seen a video of people walking down the street unless it was for a story about overweight people. If you see a cameraman in that situation, then don’t eat anything.

This is because rude cameramen love not only to film overweight people, but overweight people who are eating something. Fries, a sandwich, ice cream.

“Look at those overweight people walking down the street and eating,” viewers sitting on their couches will say. “They shouldn’t eat.”

These viewers, who are waiting for their favorite reality television show to come on, are the same people who shake their heads during investigative reports about young women who like to have sex.

“I’m glad I watched this,” they will say. “Now I know how perverted our country is.”

The worst thing about filming the torsos of random overweight people, though, is that it is lazy reporting. Why not just ask an overweight person to talk to you?

“You want me to ask an overweight person if I can film them?” a cameraman might respond. “I can’t do that. It would be rude.”

• Contact reporter Dave Frank at or 881-1212.