Watching the same war from different perspectives
The April 8 Opinion piece "Whose 'truth' is being reported?" by Mohammed el-Nawawy was utterly fascinating. I envy all who have both the ability to intelligently comprehend more than one language and easy access to more than one country's views.
My cable TV offers almost a hundred channels with multiple newscasts blaring basically the same bright, red-white-and-blue stuff. Being leashed to a very limited worldview will only make coexistence with the rest of the world more and more difficult every day.
Winning the peace would be a great deal easier if more Americans understood how very small this earth of ours actually is, and that our words have a way of echoing out into either war or peace.
Anne Selden Annab
Mohammed el-Nawawy is too kind. I, too, watch US and Arab broadcasts as well as English-language broadcasts from Germany and the BBC. Even before I discovered these alternative sources, I was aware that the US media are little more than propaganda.
It is called "mass media" for a very good reason: It is designed to indoctrinate the masses. Controlled by corporate sponsors and by the government, the truth is something rarely found. Until we free our press and allow independent investigative reporting, the US public will remain ignorant of the ways in which it is being manipulated.
Mohammed el-Nawawy uses the term "contextual objectivity" to describe the difference in emphasis between the Arab and American media.
Protesters across the world objected to the present war in consideration of the enormous potential for civilian casualties. Antiwar demonstrations in the US also cautioned about the possibility of American casualties. Both predictions, unfortunately, have proven to be correct. Given the human cost of this war, the media should not indulge in "contextual objectivity" or any other exercises in euphemism.
V. K. Viswanathan
Regarding the April 4 article "A sharp turn in US perceptions of war": It's true that there is a certain adrenaline rush that comes from watching a war on TV. The soldiers are brave, the weapons impressive. But we have to ask ourselves: How much of this war are we really seeing here in the United States?
My husband just returned from overseas, where the television broadcasts show much more than those thrilling Fourth-of-July-like displays of bombs bursting in air.
Here, the news blackout on Iraqi casualties is almost total. By failing to show the human cost of this war in the United States, the media are cheating us of our right to know the whole truth about what is happening in Iraq. Our ignorance is dangerous, sure to lead to poor choices in the days and years ahead.
The Arabic news channel Al Jazeera presents news from a point of view often very different from that of CNN and other US news media. Alternative points of view are vital to the survival of a democracy.
Al Jazeera has two websites, one in Arabic and one in English. These are an information lifeline for its readers who don't have satellite access. Both websites were rendered inoperative by "hackers."
Such sabotage of an information website is as ugly and dangerous as any attack on a broadcast station or newspaper. It violates our first amendment rights of a free press, and must not be tolerated by citizens of a society that would remain free.
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