Is sanitizing pictures of wartime violence correct ?

OT: anything goes!

Moderator: Edi

Post Reply
User avatar
Sarevok
The Fearless One
Posts: 10681
Joined: 2002-12-24 07:29am
Location: The Covenants last and final line of defense

Is sanitizing pictures of wartime violence correct ?

Post by Sarevok »

One of the blessings of the internet is that you can find material the mainstream media does not or will not show. I have seen entire sites full of graphic war photographs. I am sure many of you have come across such material as well showing uncensored images of what happens to human beings hit by modern weaponry. This is not a war porn thread so I will refrain from linking any, you should all know what I refer to.

Now lets come to the real point. Whenever there is a war the mainstream media never shows the effects of war on people. It never shows the price and consequence of war. When the 2003 Iraq war happened we had lots of hooah ! America fuck yeah ! images of tanks, planes and troops. But they never showed what happened afterward. Those of us who are internet savvy have seen some of the more graphic images like gunship autocannons blowing people into fist sized chunks, dead American soldiers lying on the streets, or car bombs turning crowds into human spaghetti. Please don't misunderstand my choice of words - I am utterly horrified by these shocking imagery.

What gets me is that the average voting public never sees these kind of things. When politicians preach for bombing Iran or drone strikes the public never consider the effects. Infact it goes both ways. The american public almost never sees pictures of their own soldiers fallen in battle. I recall that infamous picture of a soldier from Afghanistan conflict who was blown in half by a RPG. It caused a huge uproar when it was published because Americans are not supposed to see these things. They are supposed to only read a dry paragraph stating so and so casualties happened.

Is this attitude by the media towards warfare correct ? Is by sanitizing war reporting they are only making it more likely that voters will support a war without realizing the price in blood that is payed ? I mean think about - when you read 3 marines have died in an ambush you just skim over that news. But if you saw the whole thing on film I am sure it would leave a very grim impression to watch 3 living human beings die. You would reconsider each time the politicians call for sending soldiers to fight in some distant land.
I have to tell you something everything I wrote above is a lie.
User avatar
Broomstick
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 27357
Joined: 2004-01-02 07:04pm
Location: Industrial armpit of the US Midwest
Contact:

Re: Is sanitizing pictures of wartime violence correct ?

Post by Broomstick »

I remember when one of the major Chicago newspapers printed very graphic and uncensored photos of the Highway of Death during the Gulf War under Bush #1. They got sued.

To some extent the decision of the US media NOT to show uncensored results of war is a fiscal one. Getting sued, or being threatened with it, every time you print such pictures will shortly lead to not printing them, either because that's what the lawyers advise, or because the media outlet will run out of money paying court costs.

As for graphic pictures convincing people not to send young people off to war - I'm not convinced that will work. Graphic war photos have been displayed and/or available to those wanting to see them since the Civil War. Never seem to have stopped a damn thing.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice
User avatar
Sarevok
The Fearless One
Posts: 10681
Joined: 2002-12-24 07:29am
Location: The Covenants last and final line of defense

Re: Is sanitizing pictures of wartime violence correct ?

Post by Sarevok »

I remember when one of the major Chicago newspapers printed very graphic and uncensored photos of the Highway of Death during the Gulf War under Bush #1. They got sued.
I only read about the high way of death incident before. The discovery channel also showed it in a few documentaries praising how precise air power can be. The gulf war was a clean war, a thinking mans button pushing war it seemed.

But once I actually found some uncensored pictures of those destroyed vehicles and their occupants ? That was a whole different kind of feeling.
As for graphic pictures convincing people not to send young people off to war - I'm not convinced that will work. Graphic war photos have been displayed and/or available to those wanting to see them since the Civil War. Never seem to have stopped a damn thing.
Well times have changed in America in recent decades. How many people serve in the military now or have a next of kin serving ? It seems many people are detached from realities of war. To most civilian war is what they see in the news, documentaries and in some cases hollywood movies. These are the main sources of information they use to make their judgment each time the question of another military operation comes up.
I have to tell you something everything I wrote above is a lie.
User avatar
Rabid
Jedi Knight
Posts: 891
Joined: 2010-09-18 05:20pm
Location: The Land Of Cheese

Re: Is sanitizing pictures of wartime violence correct ?

Post by Rabid »

Broomstick wrote:I remember when one of the major Chicago newspapers printed very graphic and uncensored photos of the Highway of Death during the Gulf War under Bush #1. They got sued.

To some extent the decision of the US media NOT to show uncensored results of war is a fiscal one. Getting sued, or being threatened with it, every time you print such pictures will shortly lead to not printing them, either because that's what the lawyers advise, or because the media outlet will run out of money paying court costs.
Just asking a question, but... Don't you Americans already have an amemdment to your sacred constitution adressing that kind of issues ? The First one, if I remember right...

On what legal basis someone could sue a journalist publishing that kind of fact ? Is this a case of "menace to National Security" bullshit ?
User avatar
Lonestar
Keeper of the Schwartz
Posts: 13310
Joined: 2003-02-13 03:21pm
Location: The Bay Area

Re: Is sanitizing pictures of wartime violence correct ?

Post by Lonestar »

Rabid wrote: Just asking a question, but... Don't you Americans already have an amemdment to your sacred constitution adressing that kind of issues ? The First one, if I remember right...

On what legal basis someone could sue a journalist publishing that kind of fact ? Is this a case of "menace to National Security" bullshit ?
Same reason why smut was banned(or at least hard to come by) in the US for a long time..."Think of the children!"


From a 1st Amendment standpoint deceny laws are enforced more against broadcast media(Radio, TV) than against printed media. This goes back to a ruling in the '50s where the logic was "every city has multiple newspapers but only one radio station, so consumers don't have choice to not hear what's on the local broadcast media".

Can anyone see the logical problem wiht applying those standards to US media in 2011? Now the situation is more or less reversed.
"The rifle itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles."
User avatar
Broomstick
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 27357
Joined: 2004-01-02 07:04pm
Location: Industrial armpit of the US Midwest
Contact:

Re: Is sanitizing pictures of wartime violence correct ?

Post by Broomstick »

Rabid wrote:Just asking a question, but... Don't you Americans already have an amemdment to your sacred constitution adressing that kind of issues ? The First one, if I remember right...

On what legal basis someone could sue a journalist publishing that kind of fact ? Is this a case of "menace to National Security" bullshit ?
The First Amendment applies to the government, not necessarily to other parties. That, and even if you're not going to win you're still allowed to file a lawsuit, which will impose legal costs on whomever you sue.

Usually, this sort of thing is dragged into court on the basis of causing some sort of trauma to the viewer. This is why TV broadcasts here go to some trouble to say "The following is graphic or upsetting and may not be suitable for younger or more sensitive viewers" so people can't say they weren't warned. It's legal for the media to show such things, but it's also legal for viewers to protest or boycott a station that does so. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences. I've noticed on news sites you'll sometimes see such warnings prior to a video being shown, probably under the theory that you don't have as much basis to protest your eyes were offended if you were warned and given the opportunity to go elsewhere.

My parents told me that during the Viet Nam war there were graphic images of the wounded and dead shown on TV news, but they did not permit us, their children, to view such things so I don't have any recollection of that, just their word on it (my parents apparently were smart enough to find the "off" switch and gave enough of a damn to monitor our viewing habits). It might have had an effect on people protesting that particular war.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice
User avatar
Rabid
Jedi Knight
Posts: 891
Joined: 2010-09-18 05:20pm
Location: The Land Of Cheese

Re: Is sanitizing pictures of wartime violence correct ?

Post by Rabid »

Broomstick wrote:It might have had an effect on people protesting that particular war.
On the other side of the Atlantic it is often said that this is WHY such graphical pictures/video aren't " " allowed " " anymore by the US Army PR textbook...
User avatar
Broomstick
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 27357
Joined: 2004-01-02 07:04pm
Location: Industrial armpit of the US Midwest
Contact:

Re: Is sanitizing pictures of wartime violence correct ?

Post by Broomstick »

It's not just the military, though - graphic pictures of accidents, terrorist attacks, anything bloody aren't shown either. I don't doubt the military has PR interests but it's far too simplistic to say that's the whole reason why US TV images of news are far less gory than those elsewhere.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice
User avatar
Zaune
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 6876
Joined: 2010-06-21 11:05am
Location: In Transit
Contact:

Re: Is sanitizing pictures of wartime violence correct ?

Post by Zaune »

Lonestar wrote:Same reason why smut was banned(or at least hard to come by) in the US for a long time..."Think of the children!"
In this context it's not a completely unreasonable argument for once. I'm not saying a parent should insulate their children completely from the consequences of war and natural disaster, and indeed I think a lot of parents give their kids too little credit when it comes to absorbing concepts like the brevity of human life and a lot of people's depressing willingness to make it briefer still, but graphic images of death and mutilation in the newspapers makes it very difficult to limit their exposure to what they're currently intellectually and emotionally mature enough to cope with.
There are hardly any excesses of the most crazed psychopath that cannot easily be duplicated by a normal kindly family man who just comes in to work every day and has a job to do.
-- (Terry Pratchett, Small Gods)


Replace "ginger" with "n*gger," and suddenly it become a lot less funny, doesn't it?
-- fgalkin


Like my writing? Tip me on Patreon

I Have A Blog
User avatar
Stuart
Sith Devotee
Posts: 2935
Joined: 2004-10-26 09:23am
Location: The military-industrial complex

Re: Is sanitizing pictures of wartime violence correct ?

Post by Stuart »

Sarevok wrote:One of the blessings of the internet is that you can find material the mainstream media does not or will not show. I have seen entire sites full of graphic war photographs. I am sure many of you have come across such material as well showing uncensored images of what happens to human beings hit by modern weaponry. (snip) Whenever there is a war the mainstream media never shows the effects of war on people. It never shows the price and consequence of war. (snip) Is this attitude by the media towards warfare correct ? Is by sanitizing war reporting they are only making it more likely that voters will support a war without realizing the price in blood that is payed ? I mean think about - when you read 3 marines have died in an ambush you just skim over that news. But if you saw the whole thing on film I am sure it would leave a very grim impression to watch 3 living human beings die. You would reconsider each time the politicians call for sending soldiers to fight in some distant land.
This is a personal hobby horse of mine; I have an intense dislike for situations where people get on their hind legs and demand that this or that be done or complain that this or that weapon hasn't been used without the slightest idea what those weapons do to the people they are used on. That's why in my stories, I make sure that the effects of using weapons are clearly described. This extends far beyond warfare to the use of weapons in general. How often have you seen in cop shows, somebody getting banged on the head with a steel bat or its equivalent and they get up, shake their head and carry on. Don't the script-writers know what a fractured skull is like? Or people get shot in the leg or shoulder and merely put a hand over a wound, grimace photogenically and then carry on regardless.

I also note that armchair warriors who have never handled a real weapon in their lives are the first to dismiss demonstrations of the actual effects of those weapons as "war-porn".

Historically, one of the reasons why WW1 is so infamous is that the conditions of the front and what happened to people there became well-known for the first time. That was a good thing. Making sure that things like weapon effects and so on are well-known is as well.
Nations do not survive by setting examples for others
Nations survive by making examples of others
User avatar
Lonestar
Keeper of the Schwartz
Posts: 13310
Joined: 2003-02-13 03:21pm
Location: The Bay Area

Re: Is sanitizing pictures of wartime violence correct ?

Post by Lonestar »

Stuart wrote:
Historically, one of the reasons why WW1 is so infamous is that the conditions of the front and what happened to people there became well-known for the first time. That was a good thing. Making sure that things like weapon effects and so on are well-known is as well.

I would submit that Hitler having been on the receiving end of chemical weapons in WW1 is why Germany didn't release in WW2(and so no one else did), rather than a "popularization" of weapons effects.
"The rifle itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles."
Samuel
Sith Marauder
Posts: 4750
Joined: 2008-10-23 11:36am

Re: Is sanitizing pictures of wartime violence correct ?

Post by Samuel »

Lonestar wrote:
Stuart wrote:
Historically, one of the reasons why WW1 is so infamous is that the conditions of the front and what happened to people there became well-known for the first time. That was a good thing. Making sure that things like weapon effects and so on are well-known is as well.
I would submit that Hitler having been on the receiving end of chemical weapons in WW1 is why Germany didn't release in WW2(and so no one else did), rather than a "popularization" of weapons effects.
Hitler was also shot at and had the live under bombardment and yet he didn't ban rifles or mortars. I think strategic concerns were more important.
User avatar
Sea Skimmer
Yankee Capitalist Air Pirate
Posts: 37389
Joined: 2002-07-03 11:49pm
Location: Passchendaele City, HAB

Re: Is sanitizing pictures of wartime violence correct ?

Post by Sea Skimmer »

Ton for ton chemical weapons typically killed fewer people then high explosives in WW1. No one used gas in WW2 because they all had sufficient high explosives which could reliably attack any kind of target and be used close to friendly forces with reasonable risk. Any other reason not to use gas was really going to be secondary. The Germans had nerve gas sure; but not enough tonnage of it to ensure anything from using it.

I don’t think graphic war images should be censored in more then the short term. People shouldn’t learn someone they loved is dead from watching the evening news. But that’s just turned into never showing it at all in the US on public broadcast, and that is a very bad thing. Showing people with white bloody bandages on is just not the same thing as chopped up or burned bodies.
"This cult of special forces is as sensible as to form a Royal Corps of Tree Climbers and say that no soldier who does not wear its green hat with a bunch of oak leaves stuck in it should be expected to climb a tree"
— Field Marshal William Slim 1956
User avatar
cosmicalstorm
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 1642
Joined: 2008-02-14 09:35am

Re: Is sanitizing pictures of wartime violence correct ?

Post by cosmicalstorm »

Yeah I browsed a gore-forum where they showed what a set of human legs looked like after a close encounter with an IED loaded with ball bearings... I have never seen anything remotely that disgusting on TV. I think that guy actually survived but I have no idea if a human leg can actually heal after having a hundred steel-balls make a high-speed pass straight through everything :(
Oh, and they were laced with rat poison.
User avatar
Broomstick
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 27357
Joined: 2004-01-02 07:04pm
Location: Industrial armpit of the US Midwest
Contact:

Re: Is sanitizing pictures of wartime violence correct ?

Post by Broomstick »

cosmicalstorm wrote:I think that guy actually survived but I have no idea if a human leg can actually heal after having a hundred steel-balls make a high-speed pass straight through everything :(
No, it can't. Back when I worked with medical researchers I saw stuff like that as part of my job from time to time, as well as discussions of treatment. In that case, the only recourse is amputation.
Oh, and they were laced with rat poison.
Especially after that.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice
User avatar
Raj Ahten
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 2068
Joined: 2006-04-30 12:49pm
Location: Back in NOVA

Re: Is sanitizing pictures of wartime violence correct ?

Post by Raj Ahten »

cosmicalstorm wrote:Yeah I browsed a gore-forum where they showed what a set of human legs looked like after a close encounter with an IED loaded with ball bearings... I have never seen anything remotely that disgusting on TV. I think that guy actually survived but I have no idea if a human leg can actually heal after having a hundred steel-balls make a high-speed pass straight through everything :(
Oh, and they were laced with rat poison.
Wounds like that are one reason tourniquets have made a big reentry into emergency medicine, at least in the military. Due to horrific IED injuries a lot of the patients that were dying were simply bleeding out because their blood loss couldn't be controlled. One of the only good things to come out of the decade long Afghan and Iraq wars is that trauma medicine is making huge advances. I was told at my EMT class I finished recently that a lot of what we are being taught is likely to change soon as the lessons learned on the battlefield are brought back to the civilian world. Honestly, I'd rather be badly injured in the Iraq/afghan war zone than in the states right now. You'd be more likely to survive.

Back to the topic at hand I'd say that war and violence shouldn't be sanitized. Its like calling genocide ethnic cleansing and makes the horrific seem normal is peoples minds.
Post Reply