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Stupidity Begins at Home II

May 13th, 2004 - 9:23 am

Australia’s Tony Parkison compares the media’s general refusal to run the Berg video with their enthusiasm for showing (real and fake) prisoner abuse pictures:

The mainstream media was right to withhold publication of images of a knife being put crudely to the throat of Nicholas Berg. But the ethical questions remain profoundly troubling. Do we accept that sometimes the truth is too obscene, too confronting? Do we accept there are good reasons to expose readers and viewers to inhuman savagery on this scale?

If the answer to both questions is yes (as it surely must be), we need also to acknowledge that by imposing selectivity for the best of reasons, we create the risk of a distorted view of how this conflict is playing out. If we are prepared to be shocked and scandalised by some images, but not others of a more graphic nature, is there a danger we are shielding our eyes from germane if deeply unpleasant facts, that might better inform our understanding of the realities and our choices for what lies ahead?

Read the whole thing. Please.

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