September 13, 2005

Positivity: A “Three-Time Flippin’ Hero”

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

An excerpt could not possible do this story justice. It’s so amazing that the editor of The Charlotte Observer wrote a special note to his readers that began by saying “Trust us, we checked it out.”

When you read the whole thing, you’ll see why he had to.

Katrina: The Hypocrisy about Showing the Bodies

Filed under: Business Moves,MSM Biz/Other Bias — Tom @ 5:50 am

A few days ago, CNN sued so they could “show the bodies,” and the feds caved.

HOUSTON, Texas (CNN) — Rather than fight a lawsuit by CNN, the federal government abandoned its effort Saturday to prevent the media from reporting on the recovery of the dead in New Orleans.

Joint Task Force Katrina “has no plans to bar, impede or prevent news media from their news gathering and reporting activities in connection with the deceased Hurricane Katrina victim recovery efforts,” said Col. Christian E. deGraff, representing the task force.

How noble of CNN. Now relatives wondering where there lost loved ones may first learn of their loved ones’ deaths, complete with grisly pictures, from live TV. Whatever happened to “pending notification of next of kin”?

Now for some contrasts and some historical perspective:

  • 9/11 victims–Major media mothballs all pics of people jumping from the Towers and of their splattered remains on the ground. Jonah Goldberg dissects ABC’s limp excuse for not showing the horrors (this item and next HT Ed Driscoll).
  • April 2004, Showing the pictures of the bodies hanging in Fallujah–This time MSM goes gung-ho. Here’s ABC (HT Mudville Gazette) “If we try to avoid showing pictures of bodies, if we make it too clean, then maybe we make it too easy to go to war again.” The fact that I believe it was a miscalculation is beside the point (I believe more people became angry at the enemy than became convinced that we should bug out); it’s laughably inconsistent with the previous item.
  • 2003, Pictures of Saddam’s mass graves were shown much more frequently by foreign news services (warning: video at link is very graphic and disturbing) than by American media. At the end of this post, Ace snarks: “I don’t suppose there’s any way to bring suit against CNN to force it to report on all of Saddam’s killings in the years it avoided doing so to keep its precious Baghdad bureau open, huh?” That would be nice, but dream on.
  • Of course, there is no such reluctance on the part of the Mainstream Media to show the coffins of returning dead soldiers from Iraq. Thankfully, the government has seen fit to prevent that. I’d be a bit sympathetic to the press if it had shown more interest in the mass graves and the 9/11 horrors, but now I say: Too bad, so sad, guys.

Compare all of this to how the press handled World War II. Then, they deliberately avoided showing pictures of American soldiers killed overseas so as not to hurt morale, while making sure (with some limits) that people saw at least some images of the Holocaust. Based on how 9/11 and Iraq are being handled, it’s clear that today’s press would have taken the exact opposite positions in both cases.

What a pitiful series of disgraces, and poor business moves to boot, as evidenced by the continued decline and loss of readers/viewers in traditional print and broadcast media.
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UPDATE: Oh, and we can’t forget this one: NBC would not show mass graves of Saddam’s victims but communicated the outrage of Saddam’s lawyers over the release of pictures of their client in his undies, treating it “like a human rights violation.”