Tim Blair


New Criterion



Wednesday, May 12, 2004
"Beheading deflects focus from Iraq prison scandal" editorialises this ABC headline.

Stop worrying Auntie. It does the opposite.

It focuses attention on the way our media's, and our, determination to celebrate our faults costs lives.

Nick Berg is a direct casualty of the splashing of dumb-guard-cam pictures over the world media. Bear in mind the matters revealed have been the subject of remedial action for some months.

Any sign the lesson has been learned?

Afraid not.

A United States television network says it plans to broadcast a video diary filmed by a US soldier inside Abu Ghraib prison and at Camp Bucca in southern Iraq, showing the conditions in which Iraqis are held.

Meanwhile, US troops continue to die to preserve the political freedoms of the majority of the Iraqi population.

United States troops, backed by tanks and armoured vehicles, have killed up to 25 militiamen loyal to rebel cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in fierce fighting in the holy Shiite city of Karbala, a senior US military officer said.

LATER: This from the Belmont Club
What was new about the May coverage was that the press had pictures of the Abu Ghraib abuses and was in a position to project, not a new set of facts, but a new set of powerful emotions upon the public. must either be correct to publish both the Abu Ghraib and Berg photos or admit partisanship. Surely, if it is acceptable to run the risk of tainting the entire US military with the brush of Abu Ghraib then there can be no harm in coloring all Muslims with the hues of Al Qaeda. But this is madness.