We can argue about whether CNN should or shouldn't have showed the tape of snipers targeting U.S. soldiers. In fact, we probably should argue about it.
Debate is a good thing. It can lead to new information that could change our minds or our actions. The flexibility to change your course in the face of new facts is a strength, not a weakness, but of course that is not rocket science.
It was a tough call, but I think CNN made the right one.
It's not like any of us don't know that American soldiers are being targetted and killed daily, and if we don't, we should. The video makes it clear how vulnerable we are. Not allowing us to see the tape would not somehow make those soldiers any less exposed or vulnerable.
As with the video of hostages killed in the Middle East, CNN did not show the actually shooting. In this case, it showed the snipers targetting their victim, then a blacked-out frame when the shot is fired, followed by people scattering or trying to help the fallen soldier.
It is troubling footage, but I think war should trouble us.
If that is aiding and abetting the enemy, then so is any report of any enemy success, any battle victory that is not ours. It is not the job of the journalist to shield us from the truth.
CNN wrote about its decisionmaking process for those who want to know what it was. It sounds like a decision not taken lightly, but by editors and reporters with information that could provide some insight into the current rash of killings.
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