500 Words – Airing Insurgent Videos

I was rather perplexed when my friend told me about a sniper video that had aired on CNN International. I was perplexed because the video depicts insurgent fighters in Iraq sniping U.S. Soldiers.

According to a blog entry about airing the video, David Boss defends the decision to air the video. The video was deemed “newsworthy” because October was a deadly month on Iraq, with most of the deaths (of U.S. Soldiers) being from sniper fire.

Simply airing any video of insurgents inflicting casualties on our Soldiers is just feeding the propaganda machine for insurgents in Iraq. The newsworthy-ness of the the video may have been justified by CNN, but it is not justified by me. There is a radical difference in culture between those in the U.S. and the insurgents in Iraq. While people in the U.S. watching the video may gasp at how awful the insurgents are, the insurgents may view the video as documented justice. In other words, Americans may not view the video as propaganda, but the insurgents may.

Let’s bring this home with an analogy. Imagine that the Beltway snipers had a video recording of their sniper attacks against American citizens. Now imagine that CNN released this video for the entire world to see. Americans would be absolutely outraged, and the families of the victims would be in upheaval. Now why is it okay to release a video showing Americans defending our freedom getting sniped down by insurgents? What is the actual “newsworthy-ness” of that?

I have a sister in Iraq right now, and I would be absolutely appalled if some news organization were to release a video showing her death. I would be even more outraged because some terrorist cell in Iraq was able to showcase their “triumph” on a world stage. The fact that CNN aired the video shows the terrorists that killing Soldiers is a “newsworthy” item. In fact, the insurgents can now show the world their “triumphs” over the brave men and woman trying to instill democracy in Iraq.

Airing the video was extremely distasteful. CNN used poor judgment in showing the video simply based upon the fact the the videos showed U.S. Soldiers being targeted and killed. I am sure the families did not approve the release of the video. David Boss states in the blog entry that the decision to release the video was debated intensely at the “highest levels here at CNN.” Below is probably what happened in that “intense” discussion.

Man 1: Airing the video should be CNN’s highest priority. U.S. Soldiers are being killed at an alarming rate and we must show the American public the way Soldiers are being killed.
Guilty Conscience 1: Airing the video would be distasteful and will only serve to demoralize the Soldiers in Iraq. Furthermore, the insurgents over there would just be encouraged to keep killing if we show the video.
(Guilty Conscience 1 is secretly delivered a pink slip)
Executive 1: Airing the video will improve our ratings and piss off a whole lot of bloggers. More advertising dollars for us!
Highest Level Executive: Sold!

That’s my 500 Words.

Writer and software engineer Ronald Huereca has been a developer at notable agencies like iThemes and 10up. His varied background has him working with WordPress since 2006, eventually creating his own plugin which, of course, lead to more. He spends quite a bit of his time volunteering with the WordPress project as a core and polyglot contributor. With all of his passions, writing has been the way Ronald expresses himself best. He has written both technical books as well as fiction. Some of his works include Project Mayhem, Mindefusement, and WordPress and Ajax. “You can only delay the inevitable” is his favorite quote. Ronald enjoys reading Stephen King and John Grisham. When he’s not writing, Ronald dreams of building websites filled with cats yawning, disclaimers his strong opinions, sings karaoke, and advocates for empathy surrounding mental health.

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