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Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Reporting For The Enemy
A major press conference occurred at the American Enterprise Institute, with graphic videos and pictures of torture and abuse.
Only 4 or 5 reporters showed up.
Here's a profound quote:

Terrorism is sometimes called asymmetric warfare — America had to adjust to new tactics to deal with small bands of terrorists who were able to turn our airplanes into weapons against us. Now it turns out that we also face asymmetric propaganda — where the terrorists gain a p.r. advantage precisely because what they do is so horrific that our media aren't able to deal with it.

The U.S. military hasn't figured out a strategic way to deal with this problem.

But neither has the press.

Media analysts like Washington Post ombudsman Michael Getler admit it sounds "sanctimonious" to justify publishing prison abuse photos — but not al Qaeda beheading videos — in the name of showing "the reality of war." But that is just what he did.

AEI spokeswoman Veronique Rodman, puzzled by the minimal interest in the Saddam torture video, is sure that if it was a video of equally horrific torture committed by U.S. troops, the press would find ways to show or report it.

Reporters have to face up to the fact that right now, if we highlight the wrongs that Americans commit but not — out of squeamishness — the far worse horrors committed by others, we become propaganda tools for the other side.

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