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Thread: Media Censorship During War?

  1. #1
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    Media Censorship During War?

    Just wanted to know how everyone felt. The media is sometimes embedded along with troop divisions. It is true that the government will sometimes do things to ensure that pictures of war that are deemed exceptionally grisly are censored.

    The question is - how far should this go? Should it exist at all? If so, when and where could it justifiably be used?

    I personally think that censorship should be required to ensure that distinguishing photos of dead soldiers cannot be published in the United States, but I'm not sure if it should extend beyond that. While I don't feel that censorship is usually just in any sphere of life, as it restricts information about what really is, this seems like it borders too nearly on a respect issue.

    Opinions, thoughts?

  2. #2
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    I don't think the media should be any where near the war. To many biased views on both sides of the fence just totally confuses people and they create their own battle that never seems to be a good thing for anyone trying to get the truth.

    I understand this is slightly off topic but I feel strongly that the media sends the wrong message most of the time and the American people are throughly confused due to that fact.
    Last edited by Smashmouth; 07-27-2008 at 01:24 PM.

  3. #3
    Years ago, I remember seeing the bodies of some of our soldiers dragged through the streets in Mogadishu. I thought it was in very poor taste for our media to show that on the evening news.

  4. #4
    An idealist might say "We should show everything so people would know the true cost of war."

    And is true that the majority of Americans are so distanced from the foreign policy decisions of this country that they have no idea what we're doing abroad and to who.

    But showing dead US soldiers or civilian casualties on TV does nothing to win or stop a war. Any responsible citizen should understand what it means to go to war and what will inevitably happen. They don't need to see it everyday when they turn the news on.

    There should be a place for it in documentaries, books, dvds and such, but not on the nightly news. It should be available for people who seek it, that is their right.

  5. #5
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    [QUOTE=MachineGunFunk;2649624]There should be a place for it in documentaries, books, dvds and such, but not on the nightly news. It should be available for people who seek it, that is their right.[/QUOTE]

    So would you propose maybe like a reverse "statute of limitations" kinda thing on photos that you'd use of dead soldiers? Can't do anything with it for forty years say but then it's groovy, stick it in a textbook?

    On the flip side, you say it should be available to people who seek it. Sounds great, I'm all in, but then how does that protect the dignity of the families of the lost?

  6. #6
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    [QUOTE=SanAntonio_JetFan;2649587]Years ago, I remember seeing the bodies of some of our soldiers dragged through the streets in Mogadishu. I thought it was in very poor taste for our media to show that on the evening news.[/QUOTE]

    One hundred percent agree. But what if they hadn't? Would we know about how big of a cluster**** that whole even was? But then on the flip-flip-side, was that worth it? I don't know.

  7. #7
    [QUOTE=The Paranoid Jet;2649681]So would you propose maybe like a reverse "statute of limitations" kinda thing on photos that you'd use of dead soldiers? Can't do anything with it for forty years say but then it's groovy, stick it in a textbook?

    On the flip side, you say it should be available to people who seek it. Sounds great, I'm all in, but then how does that protect the dignity of the families of the lost?[/QUOTE]

    Question 1:

    Textbook it after 20 years, and high school textbooks should have it. No more whitewash, honesty will help educate. We're not perfect, but we are a great nation. Showing some mistakes along with our history of good deeds, I think, will instill greater national pride and help fight voter apathy.

    Question 2:

    The family would have to sign off if the soldier was to be identified. If the family does not sign off, then the soldier cannot be in the film. You have to be respectful to the family, but there must be a middle ground here for truth and respect.

  8. #8
    Hysterical how in a real debate about a real issue without any mention of political parties or Obama/Reagan circle jerks, there are so few responses.

    But hey, it's a football message board... I shouldn't expect great intellectual insight.

  9. #9
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    [QUOTE=MachineGunFunk;2650615]Hysterical how in a real debate about a real issue without any mention of political parties or Obama/Reagan circle jerks, there are so few responses.

    But hey, it's a football message board... I shouldn't expect great intellectual insight.[/QUOTE]

    Good point i see this all to often as well Machine

  10. #10
    [QUOTE=MachineGunFunk;2650615]I shouldn't expect great intellectual insight.[/QUOTE]

    You're just realizing this now? What are you....new?:D

    I am of two minds on the topic of "grisly reporting". One one hand, it serves the (I think vital) purposes of both showing what our enemy does (i.e. the results of suicide bombings, beheadings, ect.) and ensuring our Citizenry know exactly what the cost of the War we're waging is. These are not videogame characters, they're our fellow Americans, kids mostly.

    On the other, the idea of showing blown apart or beheaded Americas IS a mite bit distasteful and I can see how some would say disrespectful.

    So it's a battle, as I see it, between two different ideals, one that says we need to know whats going on (both ways) and one that says "have respect for the dead".

    Not an easy issue, and when you factor in things like American pruddishness about anythign uncomfortable (i.e. death and sex) and a media who has no intention or desire to see the Citizenry educated or informed (only entertained), we get what we have today, which is.....not much.

  11. #11
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    Free market. No govt. regulating necessary. If the consumers decide that gory images are too much, then the consumer will not watch or purchase said media outlets products. Information, be it either a dead body or real reasons to wage war, should not be controlled or metered by the federal govt.

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    [QUOTE=PlumberKhan;2650816]Free market. No govt. regulating necessary. If the consumers decide that gory images are too much, then the consumer will not watch or purchase said media outlets products. Information, be it either a dead body or real reasons to wage war, should not be controlled or metered by the federal govt.[/QUOTE]

    Well, I morally disagree but strictly from a policy standpoint if you were to implement such a system I would make sure that soldier's families would be well compensated for such images, wouldn't you?

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    [QUOTE=Warfish;2650749]You're just realizing this now? What are you....new?:D

    I am of two minds on the topic of "grisly reporting". One one hand, it serves the (I think vital) purposes of both showing what our enemy does (i.e. the results of suicide bombings, beheadings, ect.) and ensuring our Citizenry know exactly what the cost of the War we're waging is. These are not videogame characters, they're our fellow Americans, kids mostly.

    On the other, the idea of showing blown apart or beheaded Americas IS a mite bit distasteful and I can see how some would say disrespectful.

    So it's a battle, as I see it, between two different ideals, one that says we need to know whats going on (both ways) and one that says "have respect for the dead".

    Not an easy issue, and when you factor in things like American pruddishness about anythign uncomfortable (i.e. death and sex) and a media who has no intention or desire to see the Citizenry educated or informed (only entertained), we get what we have today, which is.....not much.[/QUOTE]

    This is exactly how I feel about the conflict.

    What does your gut say Fish? Mine leans more towards censorship, I think.

  14. #14
    [QUOTE=The Paranoid Jet;2650896]This is exactly how I feel about the conflict.

    What does your gut say Fish? Mine leans more towards censorship, I think.[/QUOTE]

    Well, mine learns a wee bit towards "show it" these days, but thats mostly because I think we as a people need to be more informed and more knowledgeable and frankly more aware of whats going on. I think far too much and far too often, your "average" American Citizen simply pays it no mind.

    I think it is possible with some work to really drive the point home and be "graphic" but do it in a manner that at least tries to respect those who've died in service to us.

    Of course, the trouble with the "graphic" option is that a biased media (in either direction) can use shocking graphic images to push their own agenda via selective display, rather than really educate the poeple on all aspects. I'd say thats happened already, but I'd rather not rehash the tired old dead-horse "biased media" debate now.

    But of course, maybe I am giving my fellow Americans too much credit (I probably am). Odds are they'd see any potential graphic images, shrug like their watching an action movie, and turn back to American Idol........

  15. #15
    [quote=The Paranoid Jet;2649524]Just wanted to know how everyone felt. The media is sometimes embedded along with troop divisions. It is true that the government will sometimes do things to ensure that pictures of war that are deemed exceptionally grisly are censored.

    The question is - how far should this go? Should it exist at all? If so, when and where could it justifiably be used?

    I personally think that censorship should be required to ensure that distinguishing photos of dead soldiers cannot be published in the United States, but I'm not sure if it should extend beyond that. While I don't feel that censorship is usually just in any sphere of life, as it restricts information about what really is, this seems like it borders too nearly on a respect issue.

    Opinions, thoughts?[/quote]

    I think there should be only one form of imposed censorship - no reporting any material that endangers an active operation by giving away strategically important information (such as locations or objectives of troop movements) - and one of self imposed restraint (not publishing images of recognizable dead bodies, not publishing names of the dead before relatives are notified, etc.)

    Other than that, none at all.

  16. #16
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    [QUOTE=doggin94it;2651061]I think there should be only one form of imposed censorship - no reporting any material that endangers an active operation by giving away strategically important information (such as locations or objectives of troop movements) - and one of self imposed restraint (not publishing images of recognizable dead bodies, not publishing names of the dead before relatives are notified, etc.)

    Other than that, none at all.[/QUOTE]

    Okay. I don't hate this, but I see a possible flaw of idealism and I want to show you a possible consequence and see if you're still okay with it.

    So I'm a photographer over there. I have a self-interest in getting my work published, because it could mean a lot of money and a better life for my family. Oh, geez, there's an American serviceman. His skull has actually been cleaved in two, and he's been mutilated. A shot with full facial clarity will get me on Newsweek, and they will publish it because it will sell papers and get publicity. I have to do it, right? Like, I'd love to be idealistic, but Jesus, it's my family, and what could be so wrong about showing reality? He was alive, now he's dead, so why not show the world?

    Basically, I just feel that a limit of self-imposed restraint is extremely likely to result in images that are beyond shocking (because maybe we all deserve to be shocked once in a while) but that become disrespectful. Or, I might ask, is that the price to pay for removing censorship? I'm asking seriously, I don't think it's self-evident. Is freedom of the press and freedom of information more important than an individual's or a family's respect? I just don't know anymore.

    So doggin, does your principle still hold even under this extreme situation?

  17. #17
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    wait, is the question her about what controls the GOVERNMENT should place on the free media???? :huh:

  18. #18
    [quote=The Paranoid Jet;2651999]Okay. I don't hate this, but I see a possible flaw of idealism and I want to show you a possible consequence and see if you're still okay with it.

    So I'm a photographer over there. I have a self-interest in getting my work published, because it could mean a lot of money and a better life for my family. Oh, geez, there's an American serviceman. His skull has actually been cleaved in two, and he's been mutilated. A shot with full facial clarity will get me on Newsweek, and they will publish it because it will sell papers and get publicity. I have to do it, right? Like, I'd love to be idealistic, but Jesus, it's my family, and what could be so wrong about showing reality? He was alive, now he's dead, so why not show the world?

    Basically, I just feel that a limit of self-imposed restraint is extremely likely to result in images that are beyond shocking (because maybe we all deserve to be shocked once in a while) but that become disrespectful. Or, I might ask, is that the price to pay for removing censorship? I'm asking seriously, I don't think it's self-evident. Is freedom of the press and freedom of information more important than an individual's or a family's respect? I just don't know anymore.

    So doggin, does your principle still hold even under this extreme situation?[/quote]

    Yeah, I think it holds. Disrespect is not a basis on which to restrict freedom of the press, because that would chill very important speech which could be termed disrespectful (just look at the Mohammed cartoon controversy, for example, or a lot of the political commentary in our airwaves today for example)

  19. #19
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    [QUOTE=Mean Bro Green;2652014]wait, is the question her about what controls the GOVERNMENT should place on the free media???? :huh:[/QUOTE]

    Well, that's one question we could ask. It was the one I was originally asking. What do you think?

  20. #20
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    [QUOTE=doggin94it;2652054]Yeah, I think it holds. Disrespect is not a basis on which to restrict freedom of the press, because that would chill very important speech which could be termed disrespectful (just look at the Mohammed cartoon controversy, for example, or a lot of the political commentary in our airwaves today for example)[/QUOTE]

    I suppose that also introduces an interpretation problem - how do you define what is disrespectful.

    Okay, I concede. Now I'm swung back to the "no censorship" side. But it's still close. I just can't get over how crushing it would be to see my wife or son or daughter split apart six thousand miles away on the cover of a magazine. Hell, seeing that wedding photo of Ty Zeigler or whatever his name was was crushing enough for me and I never knew him.

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