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Horror Show: Nightmarish Images Emerge From Iraq
Soldiers Armed With Digital Cameras Bring The Warm Home

NICK-BERG-FAMILY
On Tuesday, Michael Berg, center, hugs his daughter, Sara, as his son David stands
nearby, after learning the details of the killing in Iraq of his other son, Nick.


Farhad Manjoo, writing for Salon (free day pass available) theorizes as to why 26-year-old freelance contractor Nick Berg did not become a media story until video of his horrible decapitation was played on an Arab website.

From a government which has, for years, held sway with the American press, when spin control from the White House, since 9/11, has all but guaranteed favourable press for the Bush administration across the United States, times have certainly changed. The brutal realities of war have been brought home in a new and horrendous way, as digital age ‘travelogue’ pictures and videos are transmitted back home from the war front, sent by e-mail, or posted on websites.

And the senior ranks of the Bush administration reels with each new revelation.

“The video of Berg’s beheading that so dominated the news on Tuesday is just the latest example of how gruesome digital images are forcing us, and forcing the government, to confront the awful reality of war,” writes Manjoo.

We were never supposed to see the pictures that are now pouring out of Iraq. If the U.S. government had its way, ‘embedded journalists’ would have reported only on what the American administration wanted us to see and read. There would be no pictures of dead soldiers returning, of Iraqi prisoner abuse, or of Canadian and American civilians held at the mercy of the shadowy enemy.

That amateurs — American soldiers employing new technology — have emerged as the journalists who have created the iconic images of the Iraq war represents a watershed change in the way we receive news, and a shattering and revolutionary new way of documenting the world around us.



Posted by Raymond Tomlin at May 12, 2004 12:10 AM in Politics

   

3 Comments

I heard commentator Charlie Rose say in a conversation with Tim Russert last night that the Iraq debacle could be the worse foreign policy disaster in American history. The fact that it is even being posed in those terms by someone in the US media elite suggests this is a much bigger problem than any of us can comprehend.

But do the soccer moms and Nascar dads understand this?

I'm sorry- that was a really dumb comment. Come on now- there have been journalists critical of the US in Iraq from the start. There have literally be over 10,000 journalists from around the world, and much of the news throughout the time has been negative to the US. Are you blind to all of that?

Adam,

The suggestion is, perhaps, that early mainstream U.S. media coverage of the war in Iraq was largely uncritical. That now, of course, has changed.

I'm curious as to what comment, in particular, you thought was dumb? That "we were never supposed to see the pictures that are now pouring out of Iraq. If the U.S. government had its way, ‘embedded journalists’ would have reported only on what the American administration wanted us to see and read."

Or, that "spin control from the White House, since 9/11" has pretty much given the Bush administration a free ride?

Yes, there has been coverage critical of the Bush White House since the misadventure in Iraq began, but rarely has that criticism appeared in the mainstream U.S. press.

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