May 13, 2004

The Media Have Overplayed Their Hand

It's not just Jeff Jacoby who spots this. I think everybody has spotted the double standard. Jeff just phrases it a little better:

As I write on Wednesday afternoon, the CBS News website continues to offer a complete "photo essay" of naked Iraqi men being humiliated by Americans in a variety of poses. But the video of Berg's beheading, CBS says, "is too gruesome to show." No other network and no newspaper that I have seen shows the gory pictures, either.

What exactly is the governing rule here? That incendiary images sure to enrage our enemies and get more Americans killed should be published while images that show the world just how evil those enemies really are should be suppressed? Offensive and shocking pictures that undermine the war effort should be played up but offensive and shocking pictures that remind us why we're at war in the first place shouldn't get played at all?

Yes, Virginia, there really is a gaping media double standard. News organizations will shield your tender eyes from the sight of a Berg or a Daniel Pearl being decapitated, or of Sept. 11 victims jumping to their deaths, or of the mangled bodies on the USS Cole, or of Fallujans joyfully mutilating the remains of four lynched US civilians. But they will make sure you don't miss the odious behavior of Americans or American allies, no matter how atypical that misbehavior may be or how determined the US military is to uproot and punish it.

Posted by jk at May 13, 2004 09:54 AM

Rush Limbaugh's take on this was, "Our enemy's very tactics are so horrible it's unspeakable, but when it comes to our aberrant behavior we just can't stop talking about it."

Posted by: johngalt at May 13, 2004 12:17 PM

The Media double standard is a result of the philosophical double standard that, unfortunately, most Americans live by these days. Those of us who believe that consistent rational thought is a value see the clear comparison:

The worst of Americans humiliate naked prisoners and most Americans disapprove and work to figure out why and prevent a recurrence.
The worst of our enemies decapitate CIVILIANS while they are alive and conscious and as far as I can tell, most of the Arab world sees nothing wrong with that and tells us we deserve such fates.

A logical comparison of these two actions results in the inescapable conclusion that Americans, generally, favor life, peace, and human rights while our enemies prefer death, violence and pain. Our way IS objectively superior given human life as a value. The next inescapable conclusion is that we are justified in doing whatever is required to ensure the safety of our way even at the expense of theirs.

Now many Americans have a problem. We have been taught that since all human life is valuable (possibly true) that all human life is EQUAL (definitely not true). We have been told that diversity is of value in and of itself and their culture is equal to ours just because it exists. These falsehoods permeate our cultural philosophy and force those who have not examined them to ignore their own logical conclusions. To ignore such conclusions requires that one abandon consistency as a value.

One of the results is the media double standard so eloquently described above. Another result is described below in JohnGalt's, "Truth and Legitimacy." The long term results could include the collapse of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. The solution: Recognize that the first requirement of survival is consistency with reality and evaluate all of your thought processes with that guide. i.e. Check your premises.

Posted by: dagny at May 13, 2004 12:53 PM
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