Distorted lens

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By G.W. Schulz

The press has been quite candid in its portrayals of civilian deaths in southern Lebanon and northern Israel. I’d be shocked if the major media organizations from the United States were slammed with the same vitriol leveled at Al-Jazeera during its coverage of the war in Iraq. Al-Jazeera has been repeatedly indicted for “aiding terrorists” by revealing to the world gruesome portraits of war in the Mideast.

Some pundits have said depictions of civilian casualties in southern Lebanon are exactly what Hezbollah wants. It will evoke sympathy for their cause, they say. Frankly, that’s probably a good sign if someone feels sympathy at the sight of someone else’s suffering. Sure, it’s not exactly helpful if you’ve chosen to make war one of the tools by which you engage foreign policy. But newspapers shouldn’t be blamed for that.

Should journalists be asked not to do their job by capturing images of what a firebomb does to a child’s skin because it might inspire a response from terrorists? Please. That’s like arguing newspapers should never publish a photo of a house fire because it might inspire arson. Newspapers certainly have a responsibility to exercise good judgment, but muzzling reporters and photographers because their work is making someone else’s life politically difficult is ridiculous.

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