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Beheading Video & the Media

Reported by Melanie - June 22, 2004 -

Terry Keenan substituted for Neil Cavuto today on Your World. In the second segment, Keenan introduced Robert Lichter of the Center for Media & Public Affairs to discuss media handling of video depicting beheadings.

What I found most interesting about what Mr. Lichter said was: Showing video like this in the United States, "creates resolve, which is why you're not seeing conservatives and the Bushies criticizing this too much." (Yes, he did use the word "Bushies.")

COMMENT: Between MSNBC, CNN and Fox, I believe Fox runs the most "terror filled" video. They have "stock" video of masked men carrying huge guns sneaking through deserted buildings, of people going through an obstacle course in the desert and of people firing into a vehicle. The video is replayed frequently, usually just before or after a commercial break or when introducing a segment.

On June 17, Neil Cavuto said this about the video depicting Paul Johnson, Jr.'s body: "I want the world to see evil. I want the world to look closely at the images of Nick Berg, and now Paul Johnson."

On the flip side, this is why the Bush administration does not permit publication of pictures or video of flag drapped coffins of soldiers killed in Iraq. That might "create resolve" against the war.

Repeatedly airing this kind of video, speaking poorly of other countries and other belief systems, and expressing hyperpatriotism like Fox does, makes for quite a subliminal psychological cocktail for their viewers. No wonder I sometimes feel angry after monitoring a show.