Point/Counterpoint pt 2

Tony Cox

Abu Ghraib over-hyped by media

Let’s get one thing straight: What happened at Abu Ghraib was wrong and inexcusable. It was an integrity failure of the highest order, and the soldiers who committed these crimes ought to be punished accordingly.

Having said these things with all sincerity, it seems to me that the Abu Ghraib scandal has been blown somewhat out of proportion. Comparing the Abu Ghraib scandal to the soulless brutality of the Saddam regime, as some have, is ridiculous. The key distinction lies in the fact that Saddam’s torture was systematic and widespread, while incidences of American torture are extraordinarily rare and isolated. Torture is not the American modus operandi; it has been the result of poor judgment by a handful of low ranking American soldiers.

I don’t think anyone can be disinterested at how excited the New York Times got about the Abu Ghraib scandal and how little attention was paid to the beheading of American contractor Nick Berg last summer. The Times ran an Abu Ghraib-related story on the front page 43 out of 47 days after the story first broke. The attention paid to the Nick Berg beheading was sparse at best.

The mainstream media didn’t hesitate to show the pictures of the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, but due to the “graphic nature” of the Nick Berg video, the networks took it upon themselves to ban it from the airwaves. Even less frequently shown are the photographs and videos depicting the brutalization and mass murder of the Iraqi people under Saddam’s regime. It seems as though the media were zealous to place Abu Ghraib in the same category as Buchenwald, while the sadistic Islamofacists, such as those who killed Berg and others, got off the hook with a journalistic slap on the wrist.

I suspect another such incident is on the way, as an Italian secret service agent was recently killed by Americans in Iraq while he was escorting ultra-leftist writer Giuliana Sgrena, who had just been released from the grip of her terrorist captors. Nevermind that the vehicle they were in was flying toward the checkpoint at unnecessarily high speeds, as bomb-laden terrorist vehicles have been known to do. In fact, many are becoming more and more suspicious about the details of Sgrena’s tale — such as the assertion that 300 to 400 rounds were fired at the vehicle, even though three of the four people in the vehicle survived. And all the while, the name of Fabrizio Quattrocchi, an Italian contractor who defied his terrorist captors until his execution, is utterly forgotten.

The Abu Ghraib prison scandal is old news — indeed, despite the overwhelming number of innocents murdered at the hands of terrorists in Iraq, we’re still discussing Abu Ghraib more than nine months later. But the incident can teach us important lessons about how much damage the mainstream media can do to the American cause by going out of their way to make us look like the bad guys. Let’s hope that major media outlets across America drop their pretensions to objective journalism and start showing both sides of the story.

Tony Cox is a junior philosophy major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].