From: Wade T. Smith (email@example.com)
Date: Wed 26 Mar 2003 - 11:56:33 GMT
This is a report about some of the active cultural performances that
are presently being made available in the landscape- but notice the
different landscapes being tilled and furrowed. Memetic activity
modifies and shapes and effects the cultural landscape. Cultural
absorption and presence shape the memories of the individuals. Remember
that many individuals live only in a landscape walled by a single
Differing TV images feed Arab, US views
By John Donnelly and Anne Barnard, Globe Staff, 3/26/2003
WASHINGTON -- The Arab world sees pictures of bloodied bodies of young
children. They watch scenes crowded with corpses, including gruesome
images of dead American soldiers.
Americans see almost none of that. Their view of the war in Iraq,
through television and print, is dominated by long-distance photos of
bombs going off in Baghdad and intimate battlefield scenes conveyed by
reporters who are traveling with US and British soldiers.
The two contrasting visions of this war, one seen by Americans and the
other seen in the Middle East, help to sharpen differences over the
conflict, say analysts and diplomats.
''Friends from Syria are sending e-mails to me, asking what are the
people in the US telling you about the images of civilian casualties,''
said Imad Moustapha, chief of public diplomacy at the Syrian Embassy in
Washington. ''My answer to them is very simple and sad: `Sorry, no one
is seeing those images here.' ''
In the Middle East, one US diplomat, speaking on condition of
anonymity, spoke of watching CNN and Fox News one minute and Al-Jazeera
and Abu Dhabi TV the next, thinking he was watching different battles.
''The Arab world is seeing trips to the hospitals, grieving parents,
while the American cable stations and networks are showing the troops
in the field,'' said the diplomat. ''The trouble is, it is creating
different memories of the war, and it will reinforce the anger here
about what the US is doing.''
US media have shown pictures and written stories about civilian
casualties, especially from Baghdad. Television stations and print
publications have also shown still photographs and edited video footage
of seven US prisoners of war. News executives have said that their
ability to independently cover civilian casualties, especially in the
southern city of Basra, has been limited because of the dangers of
In contrast, Arab newspapers and television stations in Abu Dhabi,
Lebanon, Dubai, Qatar, and elsewhere in the region have placed a heavy
emphasis on civilian casualties, especially those involving children.
One station showed the scalp of a child that reporters said had been
blown off in a bombing. The segment showed the scalp from three
In recent days, both television and newspapers have featured the image
of a young girl being pulled from rubble by an older man in a kaffiyeh.
It was impossible to know if the girl was dead or alive. She was
wrapped in a purple shawl, and both her legs were partially cut off.
Some US stations have approached Iraqi casualties with skepticism. In
some segments of children in a hospital, reporters have added a caveat
that there was no way to independently verify whether the victims had
been hurt in air raids.
In the most controversial broadcast, Al-Jazeera decided to air gruesome
pictures taped by Iraqi television of dead American soldiers outside of
Nasiriyah. American television stations declined to do so.
During a televised briefing in Qatar, Army Lieutenant General John
Abizaid, deputy commander of Combined Forces Command, chided a reporter
for Al-Jazeera for the network's decision to air the video. ''The
pictures were disgusting,'' Abizaid said, adding that he would not want
other stations to show the video.
A reporter from Xinghua News Agency of China asked whether such
pictures would badly influence the morale of the US troops or the
American people. Abizaid said he believed it would not hurt troop
morale or damage ''the resolve of our people.''
''We're a pretty tough people,'' he said.
But some analysts said that if Americans viewed the pictures shown to
the Arab world, their view of the battles would probably change.
Edward S. Walker Jr., president of the Middle East Institute and a
former assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, said the
difference in media coverage is ''one of the huge reasons there is such
a disconnect between us and the Arabs.''
''They have one view of the world, and we have another view,'' he said.
''We are going to treat this war differently than almost any other country will. We don't want to undermine the morale or support of the troops. It's not a time when people want to attack the president, so I believe it is natural that there is a certain amount of self-censorship going on.''
Jeffrey Schneider, a vice president at ABC News, said that some
pictures of bodies, including those of American troops, won't be shown
because they would violate the network's standards. ''We're confident
we are giving our viewers a full and accurate and balanced
understanding of this war and all that that entails,'' he said.
Schneider contrasted Al-Jazeera's broadcast of the dead American
soldiers with a report by Ted Koppel that showed dead Iraqi troops on a
battlefield. The ABC cameraman took the pictures ''at a distance, so
you couldn't identify their faces,'' he said. ''You told the story that
people were killed on this particular battlefield without exploiting
Hafez al-Mirazi, Washington bureau chief for Al-Jazeera, said he was
surprised by the reaction in the United States to the broadcast of the
footage of the dead Americans and pointed out that his network had
carried equally gruesome footage of dead Iraqis.
''The US media did not carry anything from us of those casualties,'' he
said. ''The American TV carries us live when there is bombing in the
skies of Baghdad, the shock and awe. But when it comes to the
casualties from the Iraqi or the American side, they don't want to see
Mirazi said those graphic images have disturbed people in the Arab
world, but there hasn't been outrage of showing the pictures.
''If we didn't show them, that would not be realistic journalism,'' he
said. ''In America, there is some kind of difference of perspective and
environment. The American audience are more accustomed of video games,
particularly after the Gulf War of 1991.
''In the Middle East and the Arab world, people are accustomed to
seeing the corpses,'' he said. ''They see the victims of these
Mark Jurkowitz of the Globe staff contributed to this report. John
Donnelly reported from Washington; Anne Barnard from Qatar. Donnelly
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story ran on page A1 of the Boston Globe on 3/26/2003. © Copyright
2003 Globe Newspaper Company.
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