@stevenpoole asked a really good question:
What exactly is the "news value" of a picture of a dead body that is not already contained in the information that said person is dead?
Do such images add "news value" to descriptions like:
In a cellphone video that went viral on the Internet, the deposed Libyan leader is seen splayed on the hood of a truck and then stumbling amid a frenzied crowd, seemingly begging for mercy. He is next seen on the ground, with fighters grabbing his hair. Blood pours down his head, drenching his golden brown khakis, as the crowd shouts, “God is great!”
When the news first came out about Gaddafi's execution, the photographs and video images did - not despite, but as evidence for, the analyses of Barthes and Sontag - provide a sense of confirmation, but this sense of confirmation may be adding something other than what I would understand by "news value"; its value lies elsewhere.