CNN Airs Video from Iraqi Insurgents

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on October 25, 2006

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Directions

-Read the excerpt below from James Taranto's Oct. 19 "Best of the Web" post at OpinionJournal.com.
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

We have long argued that America’s mainstream media–because of what they see as the “lessons of Vietnam”–are actively working to promote American defeat in Iraq….  From CNN comes one of the most striking bits of evidence yet that this is the case. This promo for a “CNN exclusive” appears today on the homepage of CNN.com…:

Almost 2,800 Americans have been killed so far in Iraq and one of the most dangerous insurgent opponents is the sniper. CNN has obtained graphic video from the Islamic Army of Iraq, one of the most active insurgent organizations in Iraq, showing its sniper teams targeting U.S. troops. The Islamist Army says it wants talks with the United States and some Islamist Internet postings call for a P.R. campaign aimed at influencing the American public. The video is disturbing to watch but CNN believes the story, shocking as it is, needs to be told.

By airing this video, CNN is participating in what it acknowledges is “a P.R. campaign aimed at influencing the American public” in ways favorable to America’s enemies. And the network does not even seem to realize what a shocking admission this is.  ………………

[The Tet Offensive in VietNam]…was a military victory for the U.S. that turned into a propaganda victory for the [North Vietnamese] communists because American journalists presented a false picture of what had happened.

The media today are eager to repeat their “success” in Vietnam–and it was a success inasmuch as the media were hugely influential over the course of events. But from a journalistic standpoint it was a gross failure. The real lesson of Vietnam is that journalists got the story wrong. We are not at all convinced that the American people are about to get fooled again.

Click here to view the complete posting under “Tet’s Real Lesson” at OpinionJournal.com.

Questions

1.  With whom do you agree:
–James Taranto, who says that by airing a video CNN is participating in a “P.R. campaign aimed at influencing the American public” or
–CNN, which says the video is a story that needs to be told?
Explain your answer.

2.  What do you think of Mr. Taranto’s statement that America’s mainstream media are actively working to promote defeat in Iraq?  Show one of your parents this post, and ask him/her the same questions.

3.  Would you feel differently about the video CNN aired if the American soldier being shot by an insurgent sniper was your father or brother?  Explain your answer.


Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers.
























Answer(s)

1.  Opinion question.  Answers vary.

2.  Opinion question.  Answers vary.

3.  Opinion question.  Answers vary.