Ed Driscoll

OUR MEDIA, IN DAMAGE OVERDRIVE:

OUR MEDIA, IN DAMAGE OVERDRIVE: Brent Bozell makes a great point in the middle of his weekly media column, which was probably written before video of Nicholas Berg’s beheading surfaced:

Does America have the “right to know,” to see every image of smiling American morons at Abu Ghraib? To see every image of the horrors of the war? Contrary to what they might say on the chat-show circuit, the media themselves do not have an absolute position on that. Look no further than March 31, when a vicious mob shot four American contractors, mutilated them, burned their corpses, dragged them through the streets, and hung body parts from bridges. Like the prisoner-abuse story, this was the ugliness, the horror of war. But in this case, most in the media determined the public did not have a right to see the pictures.

Notice the great irony behind the Abu Ghraib pictures. Because they are less graphic and disturbing, since the prisoners are being humiliated, and not killed, they are more acceptable for airing, and then more acceptable for complete over-airing. The end result is that Americans are inundated with visuals of injustices committed by Americans, and lost is the reality of far graver and more frequent atrocities committed against Americans. Reality gives way to the perception of reality, all in the name of “news.” [Emphasis mine–Ed]

Now, the media elite are showing us the most remembered gloomy images of Vietnam, the war America lost when Americans lost heart. By putting those Iraq pictures next to these, the media are vying for similar results. If not, why make all the comparisons? Why are our media taking sexual humiliation and comparing it to the Kent State shootings, or more outrageously, the mass murder at My Lai? Do they have no ability to distinguish between these, or do the ends justify the means, with one image just as good as the next one?

It certainly fits the profile of why they justified running footage of Fallujah in March, but not of the 9/11 attacks by Al Qaida on our own soil. Or as Glenn Reynolds writes, the media’s viewpoint is that “Publishing images that might inflame Arabs against Americans is responsible journalism. So is not publishing images that might inflame Americans against Arabs.”

Nicholas Berg’s killers directly cited the images from Abu Ghraib as their justification for beheading them. I wonder if the media feels complicit.

Well, actually, I don’t.

UPDATE: Speaking of damage overdrive, one of Steve Green’s readers emailed to tell him:

The Berg family was sandbagged in their grief by an AP reporter who told them for the first time that their family member had been decapitated and the video of the murder was online. An AP photographer was on hand to record the family’s response. The father collapsed on the sidewalk in tears.

Green has contact info for AP, for those who like to discuss this example of fine quality journalism with them.