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Old 05-14-2004, 09:46 PM   #1
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Differences in the American Media and the World Media

In school the other day, we were discussing the beheading of Nick Berg and the many more pictures of the prison abuse in Iraq, and whether or not these images should be shown to the public, or rather the American public. My professor pointed out that the media in Europe and Asia are more likely to show the pictures, because ethics is not at all an issue, as it is in American media. It was also suggested that Americans tend to be more "emotional" than the rest of the world, like other countries can stomach graphic images more so than Americans can.

What are your thoughts? Why do you think the American media is cautious about graphic, violent images while the rest of the world is not? Is it ethics? Does the media wrongly or rightly believe Americans won't handle such pictures? Or is it about censorship?
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Old 05-14-2004, 10:23 PM   #2
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Im not a Euro, I am Australian. The photo of the prisioner being 'electrocuted' was huge and on the front cover of our local newspaper. I havent seen any of the beheading photos, and quite frankly I dont want too. The Euros may well be more open about it.

Its interesting that your professor believes it to do with 'ethics'. My personal perception is that the USA has less ethics and morals than most of the rest of the developed world.

I havent been to the USA but my perception is that the USA is a Christian based country and the prescence or abscense of brutal photos probably has more to do with Christian censorship eg like the black music bans of the 1970s, prohabition of alcohol, prohibiting foreigners from visiting who have been done for smoking dope, etc.

I actually believe the Euros have a higher stand of ethics than most of the planet. Especially the Scandanavians. But thats just my opinion.
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Old 05-14-2004, 10:28 PM   #3
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Personally, I do not think it is out of censorship that these graphic images are not shown in the mainstream media. I think it is out of cultural perceptions of what is "tasteful."

(While much effort has been made in America to have respect for foreign cultures, I often think that such respect is rarely reciprocated.)

If you are looking for "graphicness," do a Google search for the Berg video and you'll find it all over the place (ironically, by websites run by conservative Americans). In other words, the grotesque is out there, if you want to see it. I don't think the mainstream public needs to be inundated by them.

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Old 05-14-2004, 10:47 PM   #4
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I have no interest in seeing that video. Its literally watching someone being killed. I don't think I could handle seeing all that.

But I have noticed some foreign media show images that American media wouldn't. I've seen gruesome pictures of Iraq, Israel and various places in Paris Match magazine. Even my other professors point out how foreign media is a lot more liberal with its content than America. They say its because the foreign media focuses on giving the facts more bluntly, even if it means having to show violent pictures. They are not as concerned with people's emotions than they about telling the story (I'm a communications major BTW)
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Old 05-14-2004, 10:53 PM   #5
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I think that self-censorship is a right for the media but I also think that we cannot look at the world properly without seeing the brutality all around from all sides.

I think we should never look away, sanitising it distorts our view and ultimately the decisions that we make.
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Old 05-15-2004, 12:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
(While much effort has been made in America to have respect for foreign cultures, I often think that such respect is rarely reciprocated.)
Umm, I could completely railroad Pearls thread disagreeing with you on this one.

I agree with part of the second part of the sentence. While I believe most Americans are internationally respected eg Brazilians, etc, yes, people specifically from the USA part of America are not very highly respected internationally. At least not in Australia where I am from.

I havent been to the USA so I dont know if much effort has been made by people from the USA to respect foreign cultures but from here it certainly doesnt look that way.

I believe its the lack of respect of foreign cultures by the USA that has caused the international lack of respect for the USA that you mentioned. IMHO.

No offense intended. There are a few USA people on this board whom I respect and admire for their well balanced opinion and you, Mr Melon, are one of them. But I cannot align your views with the people from the USA that I have met as well as the actions of your government, particularly the current one.

Getting back to Pearls post. The thing I dont understand is that the USA produces some of the goriest, high body count movies around. These movies are then given, IMHO, a low censorship guidance rating and yet a movie that might flash a breast is rated in a much more restrictive fashion.
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Old 05-15-2004, 10:15 AM   #7
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I am from Toronto, but I live in Barcelona.

I find the images here very graphic, it takes "getting used to," and sometimes its indulgent. Images are shown on the news simply because they are fantastic or gorey, not because they aid in understanding the story (if there is one at all).

The first days of the Iraq war I recall the image of a dead baby being on the cover of one of the mainstream newspapers here. I was completely blown away. I don't think that photo would ever have been published in Canada.

My perception of mainstream American media is that it is conservative and tends to champion the government vs. thoughtfully critique or challenge it. However, since I don't live there and I don't read American newspapers, I am not really qualified to make a judgement.
My only exposure to to American media was the networks we received in Toronto, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, etc. Thank the good Lord I have never seen Fox News. Everything I here about it is mind-numbing.
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Old 05-15-2004, 05:40 PM   #8
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Even al jazeera which have bin bashed a lot for what they send from the mid-east censor their pictures when they become to cruel, i have seen an interesting interview with one of their chief-journalists (and the journalist interviewing wasn't verry nice to them). There is a point where a TV station has to think if they become instrumentalized by the people who commit violence.
In europe you definetly can see different pictures than in the US. You can see a huge difference between CNN europe and CNN us.
A family from the US who visited us last dec. was surprised what they could see on CNN europe and felt that their information was much more biased than the european news-chanels.
I think the advantage of the european tv stations is that there are more different owners and therefore more competition.
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Old 05-15-2004, 06:31 PM   #9
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I don't notice much difference in the images shown, but I don't read the paper very often. I usually just watch BBC news and check Google's news page a couple of times a day. News in the US is much more biased than here, and there's more dumbing-down of the news in the US. I don't think it's an issue of ethics.
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Old 05-15-2004, 07:15 PM   #10
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Klaus, you just touched on my biggest gripe about the U.S. media. It's not very competitive because they are all owned by a few big shots. I read the BBC and other non-U.S. media to try to get balanced news. There are some good U.S. newspapers (the Atlanta Constitution, the Washington Post) but even they are not as independent as many European press outlets.
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Old 05-16-2004, 12:17 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
I think that self-censorship is a right for the media but I also think that we cannot look at the world properly without seeing the brutality all around from all sides.

I think we should never look away, sanitising it distorts our view and ultimately the decisions that we make.
On the other hand, if we look at brutality too much it desensitises us to the point where there's little to no reaction anymore. That distorts our view, as well.

And I think that unfortunately many people wish to look at horrific images not for the purposes of understanding, but rather out of a less honourable voyeristic desire to look at something sensationalist and grotesque. There's just something base in us that compels people to stop and look at the horrific car crash. And I'm not sure which side of us these images help to feed more.
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Old 05-16-2004, 12:48 AM   #12
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I feel that I am more than qualified to talk in this thread- last year whilst I was studying post-graduate journalism, one of my subjects was journalism ethics and I did my major assignment on the ethics displayed in photojournalism from around the world. I mainly chose this topic, because last year one just could not escape the war and it appeared to me that the codes of ethics, that are very loosely applied to journalism around the world, generally dont pertain to images, unless it is relating to photo manipulation.

Seriously Pearl, ethics are just as much not an issue in America as they are in any other western country. All countries have set 'codes' of ethics or conduct, however there is not one country where these 'codes' are accountable, therefore, such as Australia, we have a code of ethics that is a twelve point set of instructions on how to be a good journalist however if one breaks one of the codes, which constantly happens, well there is no slap on the hand or repercussions as the codes are not accountable and this is the case the world over. If a lawyer acts outside the law, they can be dis-barred, a bad doctor can be banned from practising, however a journalist can still keep on writing, even if they break one of the codes that are supposed to govern how they perform their tasks.

All media the world over manipulate what they publish and this is the case in America, I could show you some pretty gruesome images that I came across last year, in the mainstream American media, that easily show that all countries dont display just ethics (IMHO) when it comes to showing disturbing images in mainstream media. I do believe that the American media is very much driven by the political status quo and therefore many images support their rhetoric and actions..........for example, last year the most disturbing image that I came across was in the American edition of Time magazine which displayed a colour photograph of a dead Kurdish woman and her baby, the image was not pretty, it was disgusting and showed absolutely no respect to the dead woman and child, however the journalist of the justified the placement of the image in the article as it exemplified why the war on Iraq was just, as if the war was not waged on Hussein, well then he just might continue killing innocents, such as the poor Kurdish woman and child. Of course the essence of the article was just and it was a fair argument, but did a dead woman and child, who were depicted in a gruesome image have to be exploited, un-ethically in order to get an oppinion across?????

so I guess Pearl, what I am trying to say is that America is just as un-ethical as the rest of the world, they are not holier than thou when it comes to media and journalism ethics and if you would like any more information, from someone who has studied this and is not American, then just ask aways...
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