Are media doing more harm than good?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 26, 2003

I support the troops in Iraq but didn’t agree with way the war was reported last week on TV 24 hours a day for two days on all three major channels, 3, 10 and 13. Thank God for my satellite dish.

I think that those who have loved ones serving over there are also heroes to have been able to look and listen to sirens sounding and gunfire blasting as often as they did.

Some reporting has even been scrutinized because it was showing too much of what the soldiers were going through with injuries and hunting the enemy. I witnessed on CNN Channel 360 the news showing over and over again how soldiers went into a building and then it exploded. Some soldiers then began to drag out injured or dying comrades.

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There is always the talk of too much violence on TV and that children should not watch that kind of stuff. I wonder how many children who cannot be supervised at every moment have been watching the war? I think that for those children who have parents and siblings fighting overseas, this could be a nightmare for them.

Dr. Phil gave some pointers on his show Tuesday on this subject. One thing he said was that adults should stick to adult things, and that children should watch the war in the presence of adults so that they can answer their questions.

Uncertain news constantly being reported can cause confusion and lots of anxiety Let’s look at the certain death and then possible injury of Saddam Hussein.

In order for the United States to think that he was still alive, at 1 a.m. Monday our time (9 a.m. their time), the Iraqis put him on TV as they have before since his questioned death. A CNN reporter said that the report may have been a taped broadcast because Hussein started the speech by saying &uot;Today the war has begun&uot; when it began some four days prior to that speech. He vowed then that allied forces will be crushed and victory will be theirs.

It’s a possibility that the enemy has now learned of our weak points through the news, which is compassion for civilians – especially women and children – and the polite way that we will welcome hostages. So what do they do? They decide to use women and children as shields and to dress soldiers in civilian clothes waving white flags so that they can ambush our soldiers when they approach them. It looks as if they are taking what and how we are reporting, and using it against us.

We should know that Hussein is going to use whatever means to win this war because he can’t match up against our power. The news has stated that he is not fighting fair, and President George Bush said from the Eisenhower Dining Room in a briefing Tuesday that he was not fighting by the rules. Why did they expect that Hussein would fight fairly when he doesn’t even treat his own people right, and is willing to risk their lives to save his country. He also does not seem to have a conscience.

I also think that loved ones could have been spared the gruesome way that some reporters described the way that POWs were tortured and executed on the tape that the Iraqis released. They kept reporting that the enemy had no right to show it every half hour. To me, it was almost just as bad the way it was described with emphasis put on it more than once by reporters who had seen it.

I just pray that the Iraqis will become fearful of the words that Bush spoke to them; that they will be treated as war criminals if they further harm any more American POWs. Then I wonder if it will get through to a people who don’t put any value on human life and are willing to commit suicide against an enemy.

We can all see now that the Iraqis are putting up a lot of resistance and our troops are steadily pushing toward Baghdad in search of chemical weapons.

Bush said in one of his speeches that he is thankful because none have been used so far. However, in another briefing to news reporters from Gen. Tommy Franks, a commander from the U.S. Central Command, we learned that things are going according to plan and that we are still doing well to have so little casualties.

However, Bush and Franks still predict that when troops reach Baghdad, the Republican Guard will put up a stronger resistance because they are more loyal to Hussein. Franks said that thousands of lives could be lost at that time, and there is still a question if the Iraqis are going to use biological weapons.

Anyway, it seems that all over America there are those supporting the war and those against it.

The 75th Annual Academy Awards Show was held Sunday and most of the stars were dressed in black in honor of the troops and showed their support for Bush through good words spoken of him. However, Michael Moore who won an Oscar for the Best Documentary, got cheers when he won, then boos and jeers when he denounced the war and Bush.

Charlie Gibson on Good Morning America Channel 13 also said that Chris Rock, during a comedy program, has said this war isn’t a war because the Iraqis were not fighting back.

Both men need to step back and take a look at the situation. Hussein would blow up the United States in a heartbeat if he had the power to do so and because casualties and injuries are on the rise and even expected to go even higher, this war is no joking matter.

Evelyn Wall is a reporter and regular columnist for the Suffolk News-Herald.