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It one thing having foolish and clumsy media commentary of flash-in-the-pan (US) regional stories. It is another when CNN and Anderson Cooper use that same approach covering a humanitarian disaster.

As folk interested in media we should speak out when we see offensive framing and “reporting”.

Anderson Cooper’s bravado is only slightly more insulting than other major networks, but if we picket Cooper and his CNN editors maybe we’ll make a dent large enough that other major networks will also take note.

Michael Shaw just emailed this to concerned social media types. I am behind his sentiment:

I’m writing because I’ve just done a post at BAGnewsNotes that I think is extremely important.

It’s an appeal to readers to contact CNN, or tweet them (@andersoncooper @CNN – PLEASE STOP visually exploiting the Haitians! about the way Anderson Cooper/CNN is visually exploiting the Haitians.

What Cooper has been doing is a complete affront, and it’s time we pushed back in a more systematic way.  Haiti is going through a completely sub-human experience as it is, and the humanitarian effort, and dignity for its people, should absolutely extend to the media sphere.

Thanks so much for putting your eyes on this, and being part of the response.

Here’s hoping.

Above is a quote from a US marine asking how Iraqis would react to disclosure of the Baghdad Canal murders.

I talked two days ago by alleged British Army abuses in Iraq. Today I want to draw attention back to the crimes of the American military. Under the Freedom of Information Act, CNN has got hold of 23 hours of interrogation tapes that detail the actions and motives of US marines that killed three Iraqis, dumping their bodies in a Baghdad canal. A group of soldiers were present for the executions; three soldiers were sentenced, each for 20 years or more. Sgts. Mayo, Leahy and Hatley are each appealing their convictions.

In analysis of the new information on these tapes, CNN’s Anderson Cooper focuses on the soldiers motives. Frustrating military policy is cited as a contributing factor in the soldiers’ decisions to murder. The soldiers balked at the impossible steps needed to prove a crime and continue detention of Iraqis. Soldiers were convinced that (after inevitable release) prisoners would returns to the streets, return to arms and fire upon the US military once more.

You can read the full analysis from CNN here. It includes a slideshow with photos of the canal, map of the area, photos of the military prison in Germany where the three soldiers are held and portrait shots of the men and (separately) their wives.

It was the portraits of the wives that intrigued me. Firstly, because they weren’t something I expected to see, and secondly because I they are so similar to images of grieving family members. Not surprisingly, the wives consider their husbands heroes and not killers; they campaign for their release.

I conclude that military families can lose their loved ones in circumstances other than death in the field.


Photos: From top, clockwise © Johanna Mayo, Rich Brooks/CNN; Kim Hatley, Rich Brooks/CNN; Jamie Leahy Derek Davis/CNN


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