When It’s No Longer A News Story.

Remember what your parents told you: Don't believe most of what you hear. And only half of what you see.

The American Press has to balance what they present as news, and what is sensationalism. Without the balance, they’ll be no more credible than reality TV.

No one will ever be more supportive of a FREE PRESS than me. As far as I’m concerned, the very fabric of democracy is contingent upon a press that is free to report, investigate and criticize. Without it, there would be no checks or balances.

However; at one point, freedom of the press crosses a line where it supercedes journalism to become voyeurism (reality TV) camouflaged as news.

With the prisoner abuse scandal in Iraq, the media has crossed the line.

It is remarkable how every visual news reporting service in print and television can’t seem to publish and air too many images of humiliated Iraqi prisoners that make America and Americans look as bad as they possibly can.

This is no longer news. The constant display of this sorry event has become nothing more than titillation with the promise of MUCH MORE TO COME.

Where in all of this is there value to the people (you and me) who have a right to know? How am I served by seeing the same sordid images virtually every time I open a newspaper, magazine or turn on my televison set?

There are several other factors in this orgy of news sensationalism that should also be very bothersome to anyone paying attention.

ESPECIALLY THE MEDIA DOUBLE STANDARD.

The Arab/Islamists have been recorded on video and in photographs doing far worse to their victims. Yet; we are virtually always told by the same media serving us this daily diet of how horrible America is, that for the sensitivities of their viewers, they can’t show the details of Arab (or other) atrocities because they are too graphic. Or they never make what happens on that side public.

A perfect case in point was the murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl. Even though the execution was carefully recorded by his Islamist murderers, it was too much to be shown on US or Canadian television.

Why?

Was the media worried, that showing the graphic murder of Pearl would somehow affect the way we viewed Islamists? Shouldn’t we have had that option, the same way the rest of the world has the option to decide how to view the Americans?

The same can be said about hundreds (or more) of atrocities that make the Arab world look bad. Especially the murder of Palestinian Arabs at the hands of other Palestinian Arabs for the “crime” of maybe collaborating with the Israelis.

It is no secret that the Palestinians take their victims out to places where they murder them in public view, and then either drag the body for all to see, or leave the corpse as a reminder. This the media doesn’t show us. Why not?

During the days of Apartheid in South Africa, every image that could be shown to make the White government look bad was published and aired ad infinitum.

However; the murders of dissenters to Winnie Mandela, by way of a burning tire placed around the neck of her victims, was mostly kept off the television screens and out of the publications.

It is true that the “necklaces” were reported, but virtually never shown in their truly grotesque reality. Why not?

The same can be said about the slaughters in Rwanda. There are vaults of video and photographs that recorded the gruesome murders of some 800,000 people, and the dismemberment of many thousands more. Yet, according to the Western media, these images were too much to be shown. Why?

The media likes to have it both ways. Let’s make the Americans and the Israelis look bad. But at then same time, let’s not show the other side.

To many “journalists”, the argument for this double standard, is that we in the West must be held to a higher account. It sounds good. But in reality, it’s a crock.

If we want truth and integrity in journalism, there is only one standard that fits all.

What the American media (and others) are doing with the images of the Iraqi prisoner abuses is nothing more than self promotion and political posturing. It is simply to sell more publications, get more viewers, and inevitably get Bush.

It is unfair, unprofessional, and in the final analysis detrimental to the well being of America, American troops in the field, and America’s quest to bring a little democracy to the rest of the world.

Should the media have the right to do what they’re doing? Absolutely!

Should they be milking this event to the detriment of their country and the safety of their troops? Absolutely Not! But that won’t stop them.

The good news, is that the American people are starting to get more pissed-off with the media, than they are with the Bush administration.

George W Bush went on television today (May 10, 2004) with a ringing endorsement for his Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld. And in the latest polls, it seems that more than 2/3rds of the American people agree with the President.

If the media aren’t real careful, people will be turning to the late night talk-show hosts and Conservative talk-radio for their daily dose of news.

In the meantime, remember what your parents told you: Don’t believe most of what you hear. And only half of what you see.

1 Comment

  • Thank G-d that he has never absorbed the old adage “better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and prove it”. His proof is marching on….

    Fred Schoenberg, Vero Beach, FL

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