I was reviewing this morning’s edition of the New York Times Online, and I noticed something that I thought was interesting. In the news there were no less than 8 stories, each different, about the Osama Bin Laden audiotapes, as well as the Al-Zawahiri tapes. Each story has links to past stories, Multimedia presentations, figure tables, and all sorts of gee-whiz cool to watch bits. SignOnSanDiego, the online provider for the San Diego Union Tribune, has 4 stories, each one similarly linked. The LA times had 6 stories. The evil Aljazeera news site had only 1. It has links, but they were to the previous day headlines.
What is it that people can’t stand about Aljazeera? They write the news, like almost any other web site. They report the news, just like FOX and any other broadcast network. They show unedited video, like Telemundo, NNN, and other foreign news agencies broadcasting in America. During the war in Afghanistan, Aljazeera was crucified for showing video of battles, beatings, and pillaging that was going on. It was a topic in every major news show. Nobody even came close to mentioning that Telemundo was showing the same video, that the video was obtained from Aljazeera, or that Telemundo is offered as basic cable to almost every person in the US, while Aljazeera is not carried by any subscription service. In Iraq, Aljazeera is the poster child for wayward journalism, supposedly unbiased but obviously working for the enemy. Yet, for all the bad press it receives, it appears rather tame when you compare it to FOX, Arab-News, or even BBC. They report the news, and that’s pretty much all they do.
Now, I think that they do take a side in the war against terrorism, when they decide to broadcast the messages of terrorists. I can’t for a moment believe that these tapes just miraculously show up on the doorstep of the Aljazeera office, with a sticky on it that say “Play Me.” I don’t for a minute believe that the terrorists happen to be attacking at the very moment that the Aljazeera camera crew was passing through. I am really sure that Aljazeera reporters were not just running around in the street and happened across Osama Bin Laden at the corner, with something to say. No, I am sure that some reporters, probably a few editors, and maybe an owner or two, are sympathizers. That is fine, because that is the way of the world over here.
No, my problem with the media is that they latch on to it, and by claiming it at Aljazeera footage, believe that eliminates them from any responsibility. I think that if you know the terrorists produce video, then you know that the video is designed to invoke a response, and you as FOX or ABC are perpetuating the problem by broadcasting the video. You increase the sense of fear and panic in this country by making people “feel” it. You blast them with 30 channels of bad news, and say later that you are just repeating footage shot by Aljazeera. What you should be doing is NOT showing the footage at all. The same is true of other types of crime. I have mentioned this before, but I was talking to family about crimes against children. I think, statistically, it is lower now than it has been. The problem is that the media hammers us with it, so it appears like it happens all the time. One story broadcast on 20 different stations, in 52 states, across hundreds of cities makes it appear like its happening all over. Remember when they used to say “By the time you finish watching this commercial, 12 women will have been killed by their husbands.” Are you kidding me?
So, what is the solution here? I say, stop broadcasting that crap. Bite the bullet and the millions of advertising dollars that gets generated, and stop showing the terrorists. Sure, you can tell us about them in the news, but don’t beat us over the head with it. That would make me feel safe, and like my fellow warriors over here say, even a false sense of security is still a sense of security.
I guess I will change the topic. Blasting the media is getting old, and there are other things to discuss.
I saw the article in the Washington Post, that the Army has awarded a contract for 70 million dollars to produce ceramic plates for the torso plates on the body armor. They only weigh 5 or 10 pounds. Gee, that’s nice, more crap I am going to have to carry.
I am going to break this post in half and write some more about Election Day in another block.