Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Television's Portrayal of the War

New York Times readers speak... and surprisingly, it's not all a load of soporific liberal drivel. Hey, I love reading the New York Times, but read some of the comments sometime... I've written about it here.

In a blog post on the Times titled Beyond the News, Reminders of the War, the Times opens up a forum for readers to leave comments on how they feel television has portrayed the war in Iraq. What results is a fairly consistent diatribe against the media's almost morbid portrayal of the fighting, its obsession with the body count, and its (in many cases) poor, generally green-zone reporting.

Four years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, most Americans still have no direct sense of the war beyond the television set, Alessandra Stanley writes in today’s Arts section. And news programs are not the only place where viewers are exposed to the conflict; it has surfaced as a subplot or subliminal theme on reality shows and sitcoms.

What do you think of television’s portrayal of the war?

March 20th,20073:25 am
I find that the N.Y. Times and other main stream media are somewhat biased in their reporting. Even through the Administration’s policies and strategy has been a complete failure, surely we have done SOME good and helped improve the lives of a significant number of Iraqi’s. Very few stories on that side of the ledger.

March 20th,20075:17 am
Television’s portrayal of the Iraq war has been disturbing to say the least. In past wars, America, despite its imperfections, has always been portrayed as a strong and noble force for good. It now seems as if a culture of anti-Americanism has permeated the media; it now seems as if searching for something wrong with America, while giving our enemies the benefit of the doubt, is the “trendy” thing to do–the “sophisticated” thing to do. I believe it is a sad point in our great country when I, after watching the mainstream coverage of Iraq, have to fight back feelings of guilt for supporting America with the same kind of red-blooded, American patriotism that has always made us great. The American people feel this. Will they be moved to demand that the elite media be reigned in, or will the media succeed, bringing a new era of.. “enlightened” thought to America?
— Posted by Brett

March 20th,20075:19 am
War coverage is limited to a nucleus of reporters hunkered down in the bars of the American Zone — information is obtained from unreliable Iraqi stringers. But that is a lot easier than getting off one’s duff and going out to the countryside to get the real facts. Same goes for the New York Times.
— Posted by Richard Nye

March 20th,20075:22 am
I don’t see that many programs which portray the war. Because I avoid tv porn. And that’s how the war is portrayed in most tv programs I stumble onto. Salaciously. Corruptly. Glorying in the justification of torture. I saw it years ago in English television and thought of it as a sign of the corruption of the English political system. And now we see it in the United States.
— Posted by Jackie Aldridge

March 20th,20075:29 am
Television portrayal of the war in Iraq has unfortuately often helped the suicide-bombers/ mass murderers’ image of themselves. TV reporters keep calling these psychopathic idiots “insurgents”. The mass murderers, who though claiming to hate the West, love to hear from the West on how they are doing, and are pleased to hear themselves referred to as insurgents; it gives them some kind of justification for their rediculace and evil slaughter. Furthermore, TV reporting really does love to dwell on the slaughter. Its as if they didnt see the psychological effect their reporting was having...

March 20th,20077:07 am
I find it interesting that NO ONE listens to the troops because it doesn’t validate all the political fighting and make great news coverage. I remember when Shoshanna Johnson (the REAL war hero) said she agreed with the war, that didn’t make great news. In my opinion the soldiers who actually go to the country has more weight than talking heads who love the camera. When soldiers stood up on Oprah (O’Reilly guest) and said they support the President Oprah immediately shut them down and went back to the whining women who hate the President. Makes better TV!!!! I was angry when the ABC and CBS journalists got injured they were treated like dignitaries. What about our soldiers who die daily for this country? I prefer to hear about the soldiers and their comments because they have EARNED the right to voice their opinions on their Commander and Chief!!!
— Posted by B-more

March 20th,20077:18 am
Most TV coverage of the war has emphasized negative developments and has largely ignored the very real achievements of the U.S. and coalition forces. This is perhaps in part the result of modern journalism’s tendency to exaggerate disaster; it may also be in part the result of the anti-war bias of many of the TV news outlets. There is almost no reporting of heroic efforts. One had to search far and wide, for instance, for articles on the soldier who was recently awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. In years past this would have been celebrated everywhere.
— Posted by Richard Sypher

March 20th,20077:40 am
The ratings are way down: so I guess the war should be cancelled.
— Posted by Frank Baker

March 20th,20078:20 am
The mistake we make is believing we can stay informed by watching any particular news program. Watch Link TV, watch the BBC, watch any other program and then watch some more. Read, study, listen, make inquiries, act on your own. If you aren’t surprised by what you find then you are not working hard enough. Work at it and then sit back and relax and watch Bill Moyers.
— Posted by Roscoe

March 20th,20078:42 am
Where is the coverage of the successful implementation of a democratic and functioning regioal govenment in the Kurdis area of Iraq where the US presence is welcomed and appreciated?
— Posted by R J Ross

Although some are way off:
March 20th,20076:54 am
The TV/media coverage has been to subservient to the current administration’s view when expressing the reality of the conflict.
— Posted by James Moran

March 20th,20077:27 am
The media has gone to geat lengths to support the Bush’s administration’s propaganda that this is a war against terror. The truth is that this war is movivated by arrogance of power and greed. Will anyone be held responsible for the hundreds of thousands innocent victims, and the more than two million iraqies displaced from their homes? I wonder.
— Posted by Daniel Abreu

In truth, television coverage cannot be blamed exclusively. If one does not continuously inquire and follow the stories among multiple news outlets (which is very time-consuming), it is exceedingly difficult to be fully informed, and allows stories to fall by the way-side, or worse. The interested person can only do his or her best though watching television news, reading newspapers, magazines, and of course, blogs. There is no singular outlet in which one can entirely trust to speak the whole truth, or cover all the issues or break all the stories. Daily reading, learning, listening and watching, combined with thought and introspection is perhaps the only road to real edification when it comes to news reporting. But more than likely, it will drive you mad.

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