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Fri Jul 25, 2014, 06:59 PM

Reel Life & Real Death

Tonight on “Erin Burnett OutFront,” the host was moderating a discussion on CNN’s coverage of the warfare in the Middle East. One guest, Michael Oren, expressed his opinion that it is wrong for the media to carry photographs of dead or injured children. He noted that in Israel, the media will not even show a wounded soldier’s face.

I disagree strongly with Oren, who served as Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. from 2009 to 2013. My disagreement on this specific issue is distinct from my opinion of the current violence.

Americans of my generation grew up watching the US war in Vietnam on the evening news. Newspapers and magazines featured photographs that documented the hell that war created.

When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., read an account of the widespread suffering of children in Vietnam, he decided he needed to speak out forcefully against the war. This article in “Ramparts,” by William Pepper, featured photographs of children burned by napalm, that haunted King’s conscience.

By the time Ronald Reagan became president, the military-government had determined they would not allow journalists access to warfare in the future. The reasons for this are obvious. Reporting on wars has never been the same. Instead, it comes across in a highly sanitized form, that hides the true nature of war from the American public.

There is really only one reason that journalists are able to present photos of dead and injured children to their audience: because this war is killing and injuring hundreds of children.

This raises one question -- what impact do you think the current coverage is having on the public's perception?

Thanks!
H2O Man

41 replies, 1940 views

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Arrow 41 replies Author Time Post
Reply Reel Life & Real Death (Original post)
H2O Man Jul 2014 OP
Cooley Hurd Jul 2014 #1
H2O Man Jul 2014 #5
Cooley Hurd Jul 2014 #7
H2O Man Jul 2014 #13
jaysunb Jul 2014 #2
H2O Man Jul 2014 #6
Uncle Joe Jul 2014 #3
H2O Man Jul 2014 #8
awoke_in_2003 Jul 2014 #4
H2O Man Jul 2014 #10
Tierra_y_Libertad Jul 2014 #9
H2O Man Jul 2014 #15
Jefferson23 Jul 2014 #11
H2O Man Jul 2014 #16
Jefferson23 Jul 2014 #19
H2O Man Jul 2014 #27
Jefferson23 Jul 2014 #28
spanone Jul 2014 #12
H2O Man Jul 2014 #18
Skidmore Jul 2014 #14
H2O Man Jul 2014 #20
malaise Jul 2014 #17
H2O Man Jul 2014 #22
malaise Jul 2014 #25
sabrina 1 Jul 2014 #21
H2O Man Jul 2014 #23
sabrina 1 Jul 2014 #30
H2O Man Jul 2014 #32
G_j Jul 2014 #24
H2O Man Jul 2014 #33
hobbit709 Jul 2014 #26
H2O Man Jul 2014 #34
Scootaloo Jul 2014 #29
H2O Man Jul 2014 #35
Scootaloo Jul 2014 #37
H2O Man Jul 2014 #38
JI7 Jul 2014 #31
H2O Man Jul 2014 #36
NYC_SKP Jul 2014 #39
H2O Man Jul 2014 #40
NYC_SKP Jul 2014 #41

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jul 25, 2014, 07:12 PM

1. Excellent view, my friend!

 

The censorship of reality is never beneficial to society as a whole. It never has been.

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Reply #1)

Sat Jul 26, 2014, 02:09 PM

5. Thanks.

I think it is always fair to question the motives of those who seek to censure the media. In fact, in many if not most cases, I think one has the responsibility to question those motives. In a case involving warfare, I think that is especially true.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #5)

Sat Jul 26, 2014, 02:16 PM

7. I'm not a tragedy whore (meaning I'm not one who gets off on seeing horrific scenes), but reality...

 

...needs to be consumed and addressed.

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Reply #7)

Sat Jul 26, 2014, 02:29 PM

13. Right.

If a media source exploits that type of thing, I know that I would read/watch/listen to them. Only a diseased mind would find such things stimulating.

Yet a responsible media may have to at times report in a manner that makes good people uncomfortable. And the government should not be deciding what can and can't be reported.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jul 25, 2014, 07:15 PM

2. Same as always...

out of sight...out of mind.

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Response to jaysunb (Reply #2)

Sat Jul 26, 2014, 02:11 PM

6. Right.

This fellow said that the Palestinians "purposely" allow photos of dead and wounded children to be taken. No kidding! Why wouldn't they? And who, other than those responsible for killing and wounding those children, would object?

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jul 25, 2014, 07:17 PM

3. It's distorting or warping public perception.

Thanks for the thread, H2O Man.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #3)

Sat Jul 26, 2014, 02:20 PM

8. That it is.

"Perception management" is often a dangerous thing.

I remember years ago, during the Reagan military aggression in Central America, how few photos or filmed images appeared in the news. (As the post above notes, "out of sight, out of mind." One edition of the YIPPIE! newspaper, OverThrow, featured a color photo on the front page; it was of a table of children's heads, that the military in El Salvador was showing off as trophies of war. These were Native Peoples' children, who merely wanted to live off their ancestral lands. It made me feel physically ill to look at. And it convinced me that the people Reagan was backing were morally ill.

It is important for Americans to know exactly what is going on in the Middle East. Both "what" and "why." And I say this as a person who believes 100% that Israel has the right to exist, and not be the target of vicious thugs. There really needs to be a two state solution. I do not see how recent events make any progress towards advancing that, or empowering the majority of human beings who are not invested in hatred.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jul 25, 2014, 07:43 PM

4. They learned from Viet Nam...

 

when it is on your living room TV every night, many people become anti-war. With embedded "journalists", war is nothing but an abstract idea to most people.

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Response to awoke_in_2003 (Reply #4)

Sat Jul 26, 2014, 02:25 PM

10. True.

One of the most significant points from that era was when Walter Cronkite noted, on air, that the war in Vietnam was a stalemate. LBJ told those around him that he had just lost "middle America."

Nixon wasn't able to exercise any degree of power over the media, at least for long, because he was so hostile towards them. Those using Reagan knew that by making their puppet appear friendly and patriotic, they could change the nature of war reporting.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Jul 26, 2014, 02:23 PM

9. “News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising.” Lord Northcliffe

 

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Response to Tierra_y_Libertad (Reply #9)

Sat Jul 26, 2014, 02:29 PM

15. Wonderful!

Thanks for that!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Jul 26, 2014, 02:28 PM

11. Michael Oren has dreadful ideas...horrific really. K&R

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Response to Jefferson23 (Reply #11)

Sat Jul 26, 2014, 02:31 PM

16. I don't really know

much about him. But I surely found what I heard yesterday troubling.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #16)

Sat Jul 26, 2014, 02:40 PM

19. Fair enough. I will leave you his wiki page and a recent OP ed of his. I doubt I need

to point out that what he is advocating will bring the death toll up significantly.

Israel must be permitted to crush Hamas
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/michael-oren-israel-must-be-permitted-to-crush-hamas/2014/07/24/bd9967fc-1350-11e4-9285-4243a40ddc97_stor

Michael Oren
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Oren

Did Oren talk about this here, and the reasons behind it?

IBA censors B'Tselem radio spot listing names of Gazan children killed; B'Tselem to petition HCJ, spot gets massive exposure on social media

http://www.btselem.org/press_releases/20140721_children_killed_in_gaza_have_names

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Response to Jefferson23 (Reply #19)

Sat Jul 26, 2014, 04:28 PM

27. Wow.

That is beyond troubling .....thank you for the information.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #27)

Sat Jul 26, 2014, 04:30 PM

28. You're most welcome. n/t

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Jul 26, 2014, 02:28 PM

12. sunlight is the best disinfectant

the true horror of war must be presented. dead children cause outrage. hopefully enough to influence the end of this never ending war.

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Response to spanone (Reply #12)

Sat Jul 26, 2014, 02:39 PM

18. Definitely.

It is difficult for me to see any way that the current actions will do anything other than insure the continuing cycle of hatred and violence.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Jul 26, 2014, 02:29 PM

14. I think the way modern warfare is conducted so distances

men from the carnage that there is almost a videogame quality to it for the public. Blips on a radar screen, dots on a map, euphenisms in an article. The public goes about its pursuits blissfully unaware that there is death at the nose of a missile, at the point of a bullet. That the misery left behind is not just lives lost to death but to the obliteration of livelihoods and real property. I remember the coverage of Viet Nam vividly. I don't, for the life of me, understand the ability of a public which can sit through endless slasher movies and other such graphic video violence, turning away from the horrific results of the real violence unleashed in the world.

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Response to Skidmore (Reply #14)

Sat Jul 26, 2014, 02:46 PM

20. Extremely important point.

Thank you for that.

War is sanitized in so many ways ....from the manner in which people can kill with drones, to the way in which it is reported.

I think that this is connected to the lack of focus the general public has, for example, on the very real needs that veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq have, and which too frequently are not being met. The sanitized coverage allows for shitheads on the rabid-right to blame President Obama for something that really isn't his doing. (There are many examples of the VA doing outstanding work, and the shitheads would never think of crediting President Obama for those.)

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Jul 26, 2014, 02:31 PM

17. I agree 100%

Remember that Bush and Cheney wouldn't even allow coverage of military bodies returning home.
They know reality changes views on killing and it's worse when it's women and children.

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Response to malaise (Reply #17)

Sat Jul 26, 2014, 02:54 PM

22. Yes.

That was a pathetic chapter, and the media deserves a bit of the blame for not focusing more on the Cheney-Bush administration's vile policy.

This type of thing continues to expand in other areas. I was at a site in PA a while back, where a large gas industry plant was being constructed. It "violates" federal law for a citizen to photograph the environmental devastation there, in building the plant. The reason they give is, of course, "national security." A terriblist might use a photo to plan an attack. Bullshit. Anyone can pull off the dirt road, and look at it all day long. The only reason for that restriction is a private industry doesn't want the public to see what it is actually doing -- it ain't so nice as the commercials on television pretend it is.

My youngest has one year of high school left. After that, I'll be out there with my camera, as a citizen-journalist. A "vacation" in a federal pen could result, of course. But I'll save the government money -- I won't eat. (grin)

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #22)

Sat Jul 26, 2014, 03:06 PM

25. This

The only reason for that restriction is a private industry doesn't want the public to see what it is actually doing -- it ain't so nice as the commercials on television pretend it is.

You made me laugh with the I won't eat bit but you are a genuine citizen-activist. Sadly there aren't enough citizen-activists on this planet these days.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Jul 26, 2014, 02:53 PM

21. It's obvious why those killing other human beings don't want the evidence shown,

but WE need to see it. The public blindly supports wars like the Iraq War eg, because they believe that nothing really bad is happening. That we have these 'smart bombs' that know how to find only the bad guys.

I have noticed too going all the way back to 2003, that it is mostly those who support these horrific wars who are 'outraged' by what they now call 'war porn'. Really? I guess the new term is 'telegenically dead' or whatever it was Netanyahu called dead Palestinian children.

I believe that it is those who support these wars who should HAVE to look at what they are supporting, if they can't, then they should not be taken seriously when they argue in favor of them.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #21)

Sat Jul 26, 2014, 02:56 PM

23. Thank you.

You are right on target, as always.

"War Porn"! I've been thinking of creating an acoustic group, and making some anti-war songs. That's a good name for a group, isn't it?

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #23)

Sun Jul 27, 2014, 12:39 AM

30. Lol, yes, it is. I first heard the term when I insisted on posting Dahr Jamail's excellent photo

journal of the Iraq war. There were so many beautiful children, dead and wounded, it was heart-rending.

I was on a Right Wing dominated board at the time. They were outraged, I told them that this is what they were supporting and if they didn't like it, they shouldn't support it. Since they supported it, I told them they should be forced to look at what they were supporting, imo of course.

So they got this talking point from somewhere, probably one of their Think Tanks, 'War Porn'. I remember being sickened by it, to use the word 'porn' in relation to dead children. So I kept on posting them. And they kept on calling it 'war porn'. And I kept on telling them they were dead children, babies, like their own if they had them.

Do you play the an instrument, the guitar? That sounds like fun and War Porn would be a good name for a group playing anti-war songs.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #30)

Sun Jul 27, 2014, 07:51 AM

32. Never well, though

I used to play guitar. (My biggest "event" was playing with friend David Peel, many years ago, at a Woodstock reunion.)

When my older daughter was about 12, she asked if she could play my guitar? Sure. Within the afternoon, she taught herself to play her favorite Bob Marley song. Thus, my guitar became her guitar. Three of my four children are musically gifted, and the girls have been playing a bit this summer.

My biggest contribution would be writing lyrics. I've done that for a few area groups over the decades.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Jul 26, 2014, 02:57 PM

24. yes

simply supply a warning for graphic photos. They reflect reality, a reality that we are part of.

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Response to G_j (Reply #24)

Sun Jul 27, 2014, 01:42 PM

33. Good idea.

Thanks.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Jul 26, 2014, 03:09 PM

26. If people got to see what war looked like, then they wouldn't be so enthusiastic about having one.

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Response to hobbit709 (Reply #26)

Sun Jul 27, 2014, 01:43 PM

34. I agree.

It isn't a John Wayne movie.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Jul 26, 2014, 05:43 PM

29. Michael Oren is a scumbag.

 

And I agree. We need to see what our hands have wrought - and yes, our hands, we are up to our necks in this.

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Response to Scootaloo (Reply #29)

Sun Jul 27, 2014, 01:45 PM

35. Yep.

It's curious how the right-wing rants about religious objections to certain health care options for half the adult population in the US. But not a peep out of them about US tax dollars going for this. Amazing, really.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #35)

Sun Jul 27, 2014, 01:55 PM

37. Because the right wing enjoys dead Arabs

 

And I'm gathering, so do many who at least lay claim to being on the left.

That's the bottom line. They enjoy the dead.

And our politicians cater to these creepy, creepy people, because doing so is easy - it maintains the status quo, it keeps the MIC dollars flowing. it means they never actually have to rise, to take a moral stand. Standing up is more work than staying seated, after all.

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Response to Scootaloo (Reply #37)

Sun Jul 27, 2014, 02:08 PM

38. Yep.

That's why I prefer to call the Americans of that persuasion "necroconservatives," rather than "neoconservatives."

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Jul 27, 2014, 12:45 AM

31. it would be interesting to see what is shown on tv in Israel

"He noted that in Israel, the media will not even show a wounded soldier’s face."

i wonder if public opinion would change if they did show more.

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Response to JI7 (Reply #31)

Sun Jul 27, 2014, 01:46 PM

36. He said that

if a camera is near a wounded soldier being treated, someone will lift a sheet to block the soldier's face.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Jul 27, 2014, 11:59 PM

39. I must have missed this OP, terrific post.

 

I kick and rec, better late than never...

Best regards, H2O Man!

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #39)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 08:53 AM

40. It was hidden within

about fifty shades of grapes OPs.

Thanks1

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #40)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 10:09 AM

41. True, that! OBTW:

 

...I recall a little something about a possible run for local office.

Any developments on that front?

I just had two head surgeries, so my memory might be foggy...

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