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Thursday, April 01, 2004

My wife has been angry all day about the local paper showing the graphic images from the murder of American civilians in Iraq. I noticed that RTB steward SKB agrees with her.

First, I want to offer condolences to the families of the individuals who were slaughtered there. God be with you all in this time of tragedy.

I also want to mention that my first instinct was to wonder how willing newspapers would have been to show pictures if they would have helped, or hurt, a particular political candidate. It seems to occur to me more and more lately to question the media's agenda in almost every case.

But I don't think that is it. I think there is a genuine dilemma when reporting these things as to whether or not they should be shown in any detail, or qualified as being graphic, or not shown at all. On the one hand, we deserve to know what is going on there, and this is evidence of the brutality that can arise from such hatred. On the other hand, is it necessary to show these things in full view of those who may NOT want to see them? As my wife said, "I don't want my son to see things like this when he opens up the paper." Being the father of the child in question, I agree wholeheartedly with that assertion.

I'm not sure which is the proper stand for me on this matter. But I do know this. I do not want the media deciding for me what is right, and what isn't. I would rather them show the material, with proper warning, than to censor them from my view. I don't need the "nanny state" deciding that these images are too gruesome for my sensibilities. Ironically, we see a tendency of government to assume this role, on other issues... read: Howard Stern, and Bubba the Love Sponge. Now, does indecency and obscenity compare to gratuitious murder? Only in the sense that only I should determine what is right and proper for me to view.

I was horrified by the images of the American civilians being hung from a bridge. I was appalled, and I was angered. But I was not once angry at the media for showing them. I was angry at the demons who did this evil thing. I wanted someone to right this wrong. And then, I had cause to assess our purpose in Iraq. To eliminate the evil of Saddam Hussein and his loyalists. To free Iraq from tyranny. To leave them a better place than when removed Hussein from power.

The images, thus, reminded me of the pervasive evil that is still in this world, and the danger that is still in Iraq. This is something I think we need to be reminded of from time to time. Insulating ourselves from it will not change it. That does not mean you have to subject yourself to graphic depictions of violence. But, it also does not mean that you should hide it from public view.

ADDENDUM: My wife mentions to me that it's not the images that are objectionable, as much as the fact that they appeared on page one, in full view. The fact that she could not choose to view or not to view them is the basis of her uneasiness with them. I have to admit to that being a pretty good point. The question then is how can that be accomplished in print media? Should the images be placed on, for example, page 8, where they can be removed from the paper and discarded? That's probably not a bad idea.


.: posted by Dave 12:10 PM

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