Only two years ago did the U.S. military lift the 18 year old ban restricting the media to show coffins of U.S. soldiers returning home. The media still doesn’t show images of dead soldiers, unlike during the Vietnam war that was dubbed the living room war because of all the media coverage it received–up-beat in the beginning, and sobering towards the end, especially during the Tet and Spring offensives. In 2007, Lara Logan told Jay Leno on the Tonight Show that “we’ve hidden [images of dead American soldiers] from view,” and that the war in Iraq is “much worse” than we think.
The U.S public is sensitive to seeing real dead bodies on their television screen, especially when it involves our own children, our brothers or sisters, or fathers. And yet… local New York City networks have been airing a surveillance video of a shooting outside a MacDonald’s in Brooklyn, wherein the viewer actually sees the suspect pull out a gun and shoot another man who proceeds to fall on the floor bleeding. The victim is in the hospital in critical condition.
The war in New York City’s disenfranchised neighborhoods may not be one of international importance, but it is a war nonetheless. If the standard is to prohibit the images of death and destruction, it should not be restricted to our soldiers overseas; if the standard is to show the result of violence via images on news channels, it ought to cover the horrors of U.S. military overseas as well.