this just in: war is ugly

Tim Cavanaugh of Reason.com comments on the differences in coverage between Al-Jazeera and American networks. In particular, he discusses the oft-mentioned pictures of American POWs, but also those of bloody Iraqi casualties. Both sets of images have been broadcast by Al-Jazeera but not by the major networks here.
“I must admit I too was more bothered by pictures of dead American servicemen than by that of a dead Iraqi kid (…) But I cannot share Drudge’s and I suspect, many other Americans’ feeling of outraged violation at these broadcasts. (…) A country that goes to war and then expects to see no evidence of war’s actual results is not a serious country. And Al Jazeera is remarkably consistent in its presentation of horrific, chaotic and disturbing imagery, regardless of its origin or its potential for swaying audience opinion. (…) What was most troubling about the images of American bodies in enemy hands was that they gave a strong impression of a war effort so badly derailed that our forces can’t even collect their own casualties (…) This has been Jazeera’s real triumph so far in the campaign. Unlike any of the American, British or European news networks available overseas, Jazeera (and to a lesser extent some of its Arabic knockoffs) is presenting a coherent and convincing picture and that picture is of an American war effort going disastrously wrong.”
Cavanaugh’s observations underscore how our views and opinions, here in the U.S. and in the Arab World, are shaped by the images we see. So the question is, who is winning the information campaign?

Read the complete commentary from Tim Cavanaugh. Link via Arts and Letters Daily.
And, of course, there is also Salam Pax’s first-hand account of life in Baghdad right now (not for the squeamish.)

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3 Responses to “this just in: war is ugly”

  1. Erik Says:

    I wouldn’t say that the war effort is going desasterously wrong. It certainly is going differently from the way America originally anticipated.
    I am disturbed by the disparity of time spent on the victims of the war. To me, there is no difference between the tragedy of the death of an American or an Iraqi in this war that has no real purpose or sense or justification.

  2. Steve Says:

    Morrishgirl has a one sided view just like A-J does, They have no problem showing our freshly killed troops and POW’s but when showing the other side it’s the little children and innocent civilians inadvertently wounded. Where are the Iraqis troops that have been killed? If A-J aired that they would be cut off! Tell A-J to follow that Republican Guard force moving south right now and real soon they will get some great pics!

  3. moorishgirl Says:

    Al-Jazeera has indeed shown Iraqi troops in the hands of the US, so you can rest assured that those got coverage as well. But my point in commenting on Cavanaugh’s article is not who is showing what, it’s the fact that 400 million people on one side are shown brutal images of casualties while 275 million people on our side are shown long distance shots of bombs being dropped, thereby deepening the gulf between perceptions on either side of the pond.

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