Phil Patiris brilliantly wove together images and videos from mainstream TV alongside images and clips from the Gulf War to create  “The Iraq Campaign: A Television History 1991.” His project spoke to the glorification of war in American media and the repetitiveness/likemindedness of big news corporations like ABC News and NBC News. It really struck me to listen to American news describing war while mentally comparing the news I receive back home. For example, while American news reports on how many fighter jets the allies have lost, the Arabic news reports on the number of civilians killed by an American airstrike. Another major difference between the two is that Arabic news is not nearly as censored towards gruesome images as is American news. When bombs drop over civilians, Arabic news stations show the disfigured bodies and spilled blood; I have never seen images nearly as graphic on American news stations. In fact, only yesterday did I discover the ban on showing soldier caskets during the Bush era.

Would American society still support war if they saw more gruesome images or heard more about the atrocities of war? Professor Lamb explained that the 1960s witnessed large protests against the Vietnam war because people saw the images and watched their loved ones leave (with many never returning). If we shifted American news to show more striking images revealing the heinousness of war, would the American government be able to continue military invasions and wars?

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2 responses »

  1. cassidy says:

    You bring up really interesting hypotheticals. I think government war campaigns depend on the lack of images and information about ‘what’s really going on’. This way, they can more easily otherize their opponents and justify their neocolonialism and violence.

  2. lagray700 says:

    When you write, “It really struck me to listen to American news describing war while mentally comparing the news I receive back home. For example, while American news reports on how many fighter jets the allies have lost, the Arabic news reports on the number of civilians killed by an American airstrike.” it really put into perspective how dangerous just having one or a few news sources can be. If/when people read only American news or only Arabic news, it can really create a narrow-mindedness and this can in turn cause more conflict. It’s really important to make sure we get a diverse reading of the news- from different countries and channels because then we can make better judgements and beliefs when we have a wider scope of the issue at hand.

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