Sunday, October 29, 2006

CNN Sniper Video

I recently received the following email from the father of a 3/3 Marine that we had served with in Salerno last year. This young Marine along with the entire 3/3 battalion left Afghanistan and after a short break were deployed to Iraq. After 7 months in the An Bar province, they were relieved by the 2/3 Marines and have recently redeployed to their home station in Hawaii.

Recently CNN showed an insurgent video of the sniper killing of an American
soldier in Iraq. The decision by CNN to air the film on national
television was beyond bad judgement. Our anger turned to outrage when we
found out the victim was 2nd Lt. Joshua Booth from 2nd Battalion, 3rd
Marines. Not only are his pregnant wife, child, and parents forced to come
to terms with the death of this twenty-three year old Marine, but they now know
his final moments and violent death has been gratuitously aired for the world to
witness. Bobbye and I know the video could easily have been of Daniel or
any number of Marines we have come to know, since the killing took place in
Haditha, Iraq.

I found CNN's explanation proved to be bland and devoid of
substance. There are any number of guesses as to why CNN chose to air the
insurgent video; however, in my judgement, none are of overriding value. I
am further distressed the video has not been discussed and editorialized to any
degree in the mainstream press. I cannot imagine the WWII press airing
footage sent to them by Nazi Germany or the Imperial Japanese Army depicting the
killing of American soldiers in Europe or Marines on Iwo Jima. I've always
believed the media's support for the troops never went much beyond ratings and
their financial bottom line. 2nd Lieutenant Booth's killing, now aired on
a world stage, reinforces my opinion.

I would ask everyone to consider making a conscious decision to boycott CNN in protest and avail yourselves of another national news source. Further, I would ask you to forward this email to friends and relatives for their consideration.

I have watched this bit of "journalism" when it was aired on CNN International last week and I have to say that it was disturbing at best. Of course it was preceded with all the warnings as to the graphic nature of what was about to be aired and a brief description of the decision process used in producing it. I found both to be lacking. The warnings took on the enticing nature of promotion and the justification was a weak attempt towards public service alluding to the emerging threat of a "new" shift in insurgent tactics in utilizing snipers.

I certainly share this father's outrage but I find CNN's motivations to be a bit different. Maybe it was a function of watching this piece on the international channel rather than with the domestic newscasters but I found the pandering to an anti-U.S. policy sentiment to be blatant and the timing of its release during the run-up to the mid-term elections less than coincidental.

I have to wonder if no other major news outlet aired these video pieces because they didn't have them or because they didn't find them news worthy. If they didn't have them, it leads to the question of how CNN came to possess these insurgent created items and why they would choose CNN to give them to. If everyone had them but only CNN showed them, it baffles me why many will continue to chastise Fox News for a pro-administration bias but proudly hail the credibility of what is fast becoming an American based Al-Jazeera.

My heart and utmost gratitude go out to the Booth family. To the 2/3; Semper Fi and come home safe. Those who truly care know all the good things that you are doing.

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