[ExI] [wta-talk] LA Times: Unlimited space for untold sorrow

Amara Graps amara at amara.com
Tue Feb 5 12:00:42 UTC 2008

PJ Manney
>Today's Column One article is about The Los Angeles Times Homicide
>Report, an unusual experiment in American newspapers where each and
>every homicide in Los Angeles County is researched by a single
>reporter and documented on a website which allows readers to post
>comments.  Often the posters are their friends and families of the
>victims that our culture would prefer to forget.

Dear PJ, one of the biases in the US media is their unwillingness to
show this particular face of death. As an alternative, I think that
blogs, everywhere, are a personal face to people's triumphs and
tragedies, which help folks to know that there are real people on the
other side of that screen.

For a comparison of biases in the media, I find the topic of the Iraq
War to be particularly telling. In the early Spring of 2003, when the
invasion was just beginning, I was in Nice, France at a conference and
watched on my hotel TV how the war was portrayed on different TV
channels. CNN showed American soldiers shooting and engaging in heroic
acts. Notice that that picture hasn't changed - the US media _always_
show that particular 'face' of the war, and that is why there was a
uproar to the particular image of the large number coffins draped with
American flags, which someone captured on film sometime later. The
European stations were similar to each other, and very different from
CNN- they showed bodies of Iraquis dead on the ground. Notice that that
face has not changed either, and the European stations never show the
physical horrific act of a person dying, but the end result, only.

I think that death should be portrayed by our human media as what it
really is: an unnatural ending of a precious human life, where the
impact on persons close to the deceased can be understood. Actions by
the Los Angeles Time is an encouraging sign. Thanks for sharing that.



Amara Graps, PhD      www.amara.com
Research Scientist, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), Boulder, Colorado

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