Saturday, May 22, 2004

Fair and Balanced

What have you been hearing on the news and in newspapers lately about Iraq? Not the war in particular, just about Iraq itself. Have you heard that the economy is improving? Did you know that shopping commerce is up? How about new schools and houses being built? Have you heard about new electric service and satellite TV?

I'll bet you haven't heard any of this, especially if you watch network news or mainstream newspapers. The only news fit to print or broadcast seems to be the bad things that are happening. Especially photos of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison. Don't get me wrong. Those things happened. Do you know when the abuse happened? Last fall. Almost a year ago. But photos are still coming out.

It's despicable that American military personnel was involved. There are some who are supporting the few people involved in this disgrace because they were using tactics designed to get information, or to "soften" them into giving information. Sorry, I can't buy that. Wrong is Wrong period. The object, as I understand, of the military police, in prison situations at least, is the same as civilian corrections officers in the US: care and custody. Keep the prison secure (custody) and be sure that they are not mistreated.

When we mistreat prisoners, whether they are enemy combatants, or being held as material witnesses, we lower ourselves to the level of our enemies. We should take the high road. I'm not saying we should treat them like kings; far from it. But there is no need to treat anyone as they were in Abu Ghraib.

I'm getting off my point. The networks and mainstream newspapers should understand that they are oversaturating the public with Abu Ghraib. The American public will just get tired of hearing of, and seeing it. Show us that the investigation was done, the people involved have been or are being sanctioned, and get on with the next story.

Dwelling only on one side, the negative, is counter-productive. It gets old, it gets boring, and the American public starts to tune it out. Conversly, reporting only the good news can be just as bad. People start wondering what's wrong and what's being hidden.

My point is this: tell us what's wrong, but show us what's right, too. That's fair and balanced. And keeps the public coming back for more.

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