Thursday, June 17, 2004

Enough! Enough! Now it's Deborah Orin in the New York Post who's saying (in an op-ed piece with the libelous title "Reporting for the Enemy") that newspapers and TV networks won't show extreme violence because they all hate Bush:

The video only lasts four minutes or so — gruesome scenes of torture from the days when Saddam Hussein's thugs ruled Abu Ghraib prison. I couldn't bear to watch, so I walked out until it was over.

Some who stayed wished they hadn't. They told of savage scenes of decapitation, fingers chopped off one by one, tongues hacked out with a razor blade — all while victims shriek in pain and the thugs chant Saddam's praises.

Saddam's henchmen took the videos as newsreels to document their deeds in honor of their leader.

But these awful images didn't show up on American TV news.

In fact, just four or five reporters showed up for the screening at the American Enterprise Institute think tank, which says it got the video via the Pentagon. Fewer wrote about it.

No surprise, since no newscast would air the videos of Nick Berg and Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl getting decapitated, or of U.S. contractors in Fallujah getting torn limb from limb by al Qaeda operatives.

But every TV network has endlessly shown photos of the humiliation of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. troops at Abu Ghraib. Why?

"Because most [journalists] want Bush to lose," says AEI scholar Michael Ledeen, who helped host the screening of the Saddam video....

THIS IS UTTERLY PREPOSTEROUS. Agree with the networks' standard or disagree, but at least acknowledge that it's been a single standard so far: Avoid images of bloodshed or extreme physical brutality. The networks won't even show bloody Abu Ghraib dog bites; they're damn well not going to show the cutting out of tongues.

If the administration and its supporters really want this material to be seen, they should post it on the Internet. The footage will be linked all over the Net; the shockmeisters at Ogrish will certainly post any such footage as soon as it's made available.

But that's not the point of all this phony self-righteousness, is it? The point is to use the victims of Saddam's torture chambers to scare the media away from reporting evidence of the Bush administration's less horrendous but still appalling moral failure.


By the way, this all takes place at the same time that the FCC is arguing that children are unwittingly compelled to have sexual thoughts when Bono exclaims "Fucking brilliant!" on TV after winning an award. (No, I'm not making that up, as anyone who heard the FCC lawyer interviewed last week on This American Life knows.)

So what's the Bushie standard here? Broadcast one incidental "Fucking" used as a vulgar euphemism for "Really" and face a huge fine -- but fail to broadcast video of fingers being sliced off and get accused of treason?

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