Ethics of using violent sounds and images in the media – NYTimes Aliabad video

When the video started, my initial reaction was instant interest. I was interested to find out why The New York Times had created and published this video, realizing the content would be sensitive to some people. As an American, we hear about the tragedies of war and the losses of our men and women who fight for our country. The stories released to the American public are often successful in producing what Americans will want to hear. We are not often exposed to the graphic details or even first-person accounts of what really goes on for our military personnel. Our country has a unique way of exposing the public to the half-truths of war and combat, knowing that the whole truth would harm the American perspective.

While listening to the voiceovers of the men involved, I couldn’t help but notice how calm they sounded when recalling what had happened. The fact that the voices were from first hand witnesses made the video seem more informal and intimate. The images used were not as graphic as I might have expected, but I believe that is because they were still images rather than video clips. The images appeared in a pattern that made it easy to imagine the scenes as they were playing out. The gunshot sounds definitely gave me a little jump as I was not expecting them. From the perspective of those involved, I think the video does shame in conveying the feelings of chaos and fear that results during armed combat. One man commented saying “find cover first, then return fire.” Until you hear something like that from a trained solider, outsiders are unaware of just how dangerous their jobs are.

As a family member of someone involved, I am not sure I would be able to watch a video similar to this one at all. When the men talk about losing one of their own, I’m sure it would be incredibly hard not to fear for your own solider’s life. Military families take pride in the service of their loved ones, but it doesn’t make the anxiety and fear go away. If I were a family member of an American solider, I would want the public to know exactly the hardships and trauma for which my loved one was going through. I think I would be enraged with the cover up stories and censoring mechanisms put in place by the American media and government, knowing that the American public will never see the true realities of military life.

One of the most touching details from the video was the clip with a man, face in his hands, wearing a Milwaukee Brewers hat. Being from Wisconsin, I assumed that he was probably from the area, which hit home for me. It’s the constant reminders that the people going through situations similar to this are our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, friends and neighbors. The final line of the video, “we continue to do what we do because it’s our job” really sums up the realities of the American military. They take each day as it comes and continue living their lives and doing their jobs.

I think it would do the American public good to see and hear more accounts like this video. A reminder of the realities of the world would be a really good thing for our country.

View “An Ambush and a Comrade Lost


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