CNN and the denial of death: more from Scott Rosenberg

CNN and the denial of death: more from Scott Rosenberg
This most humane of US journalists writes…

“I just haven’t had it in me to go bonkers posting war links — links wondering about whether that was Saddam or a double, links wondering why shock and awe hasn’t started yet, shocked and awed links now that it has, and so on. Mostly I’m pitching in with my colleagues here, where we keep asking ourselves what stories should be covered that others haven’t already over-covered.

During times like this the onslaught of pure informational noise is so overwhelming that one feels reluctant to contribute to it.

TV is the worst. On the one hand, I feel obligated to tune in, because these are the images the whole nation is taking in as representations of this conflict, and I better know them. On the other, I could only bear about a half hour of CNN this afternoon before having to turn it off.

A correspondent had cornered the leader of a bomber sortie on the deck of an aircraft carrier; the flier had just landed, we were told, just gotten out of his plane, and here was CNN’s embeddee, buttonholing him with a microphone. Oh, he was game, smiling, still soaring on adrenaline, no doubt thrilled to be back and alive and with all of his men. But — and I say this as a charge against the medium, not against the man in uniform, who I’m sure if he had a choice in the matter would not have picked Mr. CNN as his first stop out of the cockpit — there was something obscene about the whole thing. Nothing in that carrier-deck exchange acknowledged the gravity of the moment, the fact that this man had just returned from dropping massive explosives on the ground, weapons that had quite possibly left people — enemy soldiers, civilians; human beings — dead.

War kills people. Whether you feel that this war is justified or not, whether you agree with Bush’s decision to invade or not, you cannot truly “support our soldiers” without acknowledging the skull beneath the skin of battle — without staying conscious of the fact that everyone involved, on both sides, is in mortal jeopardy as long as this war proceeds.

For all the whizzbang 3D maps and crawling newsblip texts and live satellite feeds and pyrotechnic skyline shots, the hyperactive screens of the cable news channels have no room for this one truth. And to me that makes the whole medium feel like a lie.” [Scott Rosenberg’s Links & Comment]