Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Painting 2 very different pictures of the same war

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Painting 2 very different pictures of the same war

"Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld denounced the network for showing video footage of American prisoners of war, and British military commander Brian Burridge called al-Jazeera's close-up videos of two dead British soldiers "shocking" and "disgraceful.

Is this footage shocking and disgraceful because they are showing violent images or because they are showing footage that will loose support for the war in the US. The footage al-Jazeera is showing is propaganda to support the Iraqi's position on the war.The US uses propaganda to gain support for the war, why can't Iraq?

Mirazi disagrees. An Egyptian-born U.S. citizen who worked for the Voice of America in Washington for 12 years and for BBC radio for two years before joining al-Jazeera in 2000, he defends his network's policy of showing gruesome footage of dead soldiers and civilians.

"There is a feeling in our newsroom that you need to be as realistic as possible and carry the images of war and the effect that war has on people," he says. "If you are in a war, your population shouldn't just eat their dinner and watch sanitized images on TV and video games produced by the technological whizzes in the Pentagon and say, 'This is war.' No. You really need to show every family what your men and women are going through. That's important because the families [of dead soldiers] are going to be the only ones who see those gruesome images when they get the bodies. How about the rest of the American population? How are they going to appreciate their sacrifices? . . . If you leave it to politicians, you won't see anything." Peter Carlson, “In the Line of Fire,” 2003.

I would have to agree that the Iraqi's have the right to see what is really going on in the war. The US does not show the footage of the war as it is happening which gives the American public a sense of distance from the war. Many times people forget how gruesome war can be because we are not exposed to what is really happening. We do not see people being killed or bombs being dropped, or actual combat making the war seem clean and somewhat unreal. If the public was exposed to the war as al-Jazeera presents it, the Americans would rise against the war. Sanitized and censored images of the war keep the American public distant and quiet.I feel that the public has the right and should see these images and form their opinion on the war. I do not feel that the al-Jazeera station is not wrong for exposing the gruesome footage.

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