Wednesday, July 9, 2008
"If I were to watch the news you hear in the United States, I would just blow my brains out because it would drive me nuts"
Kick-ass interview with Lara Logan from last week. (Only available in the episode's entirety at this point: roughly 13:35 to 20:30.)
She gives an idea how hard it is to get war stories on the air, although she does acknowledge that there are many producers who want to cover it. It's all about the bottom line, and war coverage doesn't sell unless it's sexy (you'd think Lara Logan would have that covered, but that's not what's getting traction). With news operations crunched for money and every day another major newspaper lays workers off, foreign news coverage is being cut or outsourced. The Nightly News regularly takes reports from the BBC. You could say, considering out foreign coverage isn't much to speak of, that this is a good thing, that we're making it easier on ourselves. But these reports are probably reedited to fit our viewpoints and standards, and still crunched in.
If I were a soldier, I'd be pissed.
I understand no one wants to hear depressing news, and the news is pretty damn depressing these days. I get asked how I'm still able to read the newspaper, considering how much negative information I process on a daily basis. The state of the world does worry me. But the media has to present this information; it has an obligation to inform the public and be as truthful and accurate as possible
Lara talks about Americans "being numb" to war information. Of course we're numb to it; it filters through one ear and out the other. We're not under siege (except by high gas and food prices), so we don't feel immediate concern or terror. Since the networks won't show graphic images for fear of upsetting us, we won't see the true horror. It's not surprising Afghanistan is considered the forgotten war, considering that much of the media forgot about it for so long, and even the recent headlines aren't enough to make us remember it for long. Statistics only work for a short while; it's searing images that stick. If television showed dead American soldiers like they showed Hurricane Katrina damage, these stories would get bigger play and people would care more.