Thursday, May 13, 2004

Media Double Standard Watch 2

This is from the Boston Globe.
Poor Nick Berg. The anybody-but-Bush crowd isn't going to rush to publicize his terrible fate with anything like the zeal it brought to the abused prisoners story. CBS and The New Yorker couldn't resist the temptation to shove the Abu Ghraib photos into the public domain -- and the rest of the media then made sure the world saw them over and over and over. But when it comes to video and stills of Al Qaeda murderers severing Berg's head with a knife and brandishing it in triumph for the camera, the Fourth Estate is suddenly squeamish.
I want to remind you that this editorial is from the Boston freaking Globe, a notoriously liberal newspaper, the biggest paper in the capital of a notoriously liberal state. This is John Kerry's hometown paper. It continues.
(T)he CBS News website continues to offer a complete "photo essay" of naked Iraqi men being humiliated by Americans in a variety of poses. But the video of Berg's beheading, CBS says, "is too gruesome to show." No other network and no newspaper that I have seen shows the gory pictures, either.

What exactly is the governing rule here? That incendiary images sure to enrage our enemies and get more Americans killed should be published while images that show the world just how evil those enemies really are should be suppressed? Offensive and shocking pictures that undermine the war effort should be played up but offensive and shocking pictures that remind us why we're at war in the first place shouldn't get played at all?

Yes, Virginia, there really is a gaping media double standard. News organizations will shield your tender eyes from the sight of a Berg or a Daniel Pearl being decapitated, or of Sept. 11 victims jumping to their deaths, or of the mangled bodies on the USS Cole, or of Fallujans joyfully mutilating the remains of four lynched US civilians. But they will make sure you don't miss the odious behavior of Americans or American allies, no matter how atypical that misbehavior may be or how determined the US military is to uproot and punish it.
And it's not like people don't want to see the unedited images. The site with the video that I linked to earlier actually went down due to the flood of hits. Yesterday blogs by Andrew Sullivan, Instapundit and Little Green Footballs all reported record hits. Little Green Footballs claims that the search terms that led to those hits indicate that people were looking for the video or images from it.

I don't think that CBS, CNN or the rest of big media will change their so-called editorial policies, but it is nice to know that I'm not alone in seeing this double standard.

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