I was talking with a co-worker about Lara Logan’s (CBS Chief Foreign Correspondent) recent appearance on The Daily Show. She posed the question, “When was the last time you saw a dead American soldier on TV?” She was making the point that media in the U. S. has been MIA on the war in Iraq (except for that victorious march into Baghdad).
My co-worker’s take was: “The only reason to show a dead American soldier would be to turn someone against the war.”
Or maybe that war is news and death is part of the story?
Actually, I didn’t have a response. I can understand that view coming from W or Rumsfeld (back in the day). But how many citizens feel the same? How many would rather not to see the bloody reality of war on their TV screens?
By this logic, we also shouldn’t be seeing the critically wounded at Walter Reed. Or can we translate missing limbs to a “don’t-let-their-sacrifices-be-in-vain” message?
So I’m asking myself why we saw more dead troops during the Viet Nam war, and it came to me. We had lots of reporters on the front lines in that war. But not so many on the mean streets of Baghdad.
In the old days, you could make a career filing reports from the front lines. Sure, you could shot, but you weren’t likely to wind up the star of a YouTube beheading video.
Naw, American journalism took a pass on this war. Better to let the Brits cover this one.