By Jonathan Smith, Staff Writer
Students and faculty have mixed feelings about images coming from the media as the war continues, and more graphic pictures are produced from the war in Iraq.
As images of prisoners of war and dead bodies begin to appear on the news, some argue that people should see the reality of war, while others said these images are too graphic to be displayed on TV news coverage.
“The reality of war must be portrayed, but it shouldn’t be done in any sensational kind of way,” said Dr. Larry Bradshaw, professor of journalism and mass communication. By sensationalism, Bradshaw said he means showing American POWs and focusing on dead bodies.
Patrick Vincent, freshman business management and English major from Arlington, agreed.
“They definitely shouldn’t show prisoners of war,” Vincent said. “And some of the blood and guts that you’d see in a rated-R movie shouldn’t be shown.”
Chris Southern, freshman undecided major from Houston, remembered watching news coverage of the war at 2 a.m. one morning when he saw images he characterized as disturbing.
“They showed dead bodies,” Southern said. “Some were dismembered. It was a brief few seconds, but the brief few seconds was too much. It was something you really shouldn’t see unless you were taking part in the war.”
Some see pros and cons to displaying the graphic images.
Bradshaw, who worked in broadcast news for many years and now teaches it, said he remembered seeing pictures from the first Gulf War in the early 1990s filtered by the government and military before they were shown to the public. He said this war offers the public much better access and a truer picture of what is happening in Iraq, rather than a sanitized view through the government.
Others said seeing the graphic images simply strengthens their opinions about the war.
“It doesn’t change my mind in any way,” Southern said. “It just proves the point that this man, Saddam Hussein, needs to be taken out of power.”
Bradshaw said the graphic images portraying the darker side of war are unavoidable with the media having so much live coverage.
“Since the media are imbedded with troops, there are going to be times when you see prisoners captured,” Bradshaw said. “If you’re going to be there in the middle, you’re going to see the good and the bad.”
Some struggle with where to draw the line between what is acceptable for news coverage and what is not.
“To really get out and show exactly what’s going on, you have to cross a few lines.” Southern said. “But when we’re showing our own people slaughtered, I believe that’s not a line that should be crossed.”