Regarding Matthew Felling's Opinion piece "Terrorists' visual warfare uses the media as weapon" (Aug. 4): While asking the media to censor themselves is laudable, it is also impractical. While ethical media outlets would comply, media outlets with an agenda (and several exist, domestic and global) would not, and would gain ratings and money from advertisers eager to reach the largest audiences.
I applaud the thought, but I don't know how it could possibly work. The key freedom in any free society is freedom of speech. The only way to combat bad reporting is with an educated, informed, and involved citizenry. It is much tougher to arrive at, but ultimately so much more effective.
I fully agree with Felling's arguments. Terrorists are using the visual media as a free tool to achieve their unhuman goals and spread fear around the world.
The media should cease broadcasting pictures of captured hostages and cease giving terrorists the chance to speak through the media, while hiding their faces and using Islam as a reason for their criminal behavior. They have nothing to do with Islam, as Islam forbids killing innocent people and always calls for peace and not cowardice.
Dr. Hilmi K. Turky
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
It is true that the media (in the absence of other stories) keeps us breathlessly waiting for another videotaped execution. And, yes, it is true that most networks did not show the horror of people leaping from the towers on 9/11. Maybe that is the problem.
Every day, we have a constant reminder of the horror of war without a constant reminder of why we fight. We forget why we fight.
Regarding Felling's Opinion piece: Let me tell you how a responsible press conducts itself. When the United States embarked on the Manhattan Project to build an atomic bomb, newspaper editors across the country were given a long list of words such as uranium, plutonium, fission, etc. The government respectfully requested that these words not be used in print. The unstated reason, of course, was that the words might furnish our enemies with a clue as to what we were doing.
The government had no power to enforce the request, but it didn't need power. The press complied because they had a sense of responsibility to the country and to the war effort.
Respect, responsibility, and restraint - lacking these qualities, the media have adopted a substitute: Political Correctness. PC is the guiding principle that reminds our media that they cannot insult or demean our enemies; that whatever terrible things happen must be the fault of Washington politicians rather than the "poor terrorists"; that continually reminds us we brought it all - including 9/11 - on ourselves.
Perhaps the next recipients of the Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Broadcasting could reflect for a moment on what it means to support the nation that provides their livelihood.
I agreed with your July 8 editorial "No DVDs on dashboards" in total. However, you left out one line. In addition to the driver having responsibility for himself and his precious cargo, he is responsible for the safety of others on the road.
The action of placing a DVD player on the dashboard is related to the lack of concern for others that is rampant in society.
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