Sunday, May 22, 2005

Unseen & Untold

The LA Times has conducted an investigation into why American newspapers are hesitant to publish images of the dead and wounded in Iraq. After a "review of six prominent U.S. newspapers and the nation's two most popular newsmagazines during a recent six-month period," the general conclusion is that these media outlets are afraid of making their readership uncomfortable, provoking hostile responses (read: sending pro-war yahoos into a tizzy), and contributing additional pain to the families of any of the casualties.

While I'm sympathetic to the editors who have some tough decisions to make on which photos to run, their sensitivities, however well-intentioned, translate into censorship. They're a primary reason why Americans continue to see Iraq through a cartoon lens.

Until that changes, the media in this country is doing a disservice to everyone involved in this war. If Americans are willing to sign off on the carnage abroad, then surely it's not asking too much of them to get upset at the dinner table a few times when a marine gets blown to bits by an RPG or a six year old Iraqi gets a bomb dropped on his house.

We live in a violent world. And when Americans contribute to that violence, as is the case with Iraq, they most definitely shouldn't be allowed to hide from it.