By Ben Cohen: My friend Alyona Minkovski did a brilliant segment yesterday on her show discussing the main stream media's refusal to mention the names of the victims of Robert Bales, the American Staff Sergeant who went on a shooting rampage that killed 16 Afghan civilians, including 9 children and 3 women. It's worth watching in full as Alyona lambasts the media for focusing on the psychological health of the killer and not the psychological health of the Afghan population who have been subjected to over a decade of war and occupation:
It is true that the massacre has brought the Afghan war into focus, with the mains stream media now finally asking when the endless bloodbath will stop. But the glaring discrepancy in coverage is indicative of a very serious problem within main stream media institutions.
The truth is that foreign conflicts are almost covered like sporting events, with one team pitted against another. American news outlets wants America to win, and rarely present views from the other side. News shows almost never provide the historical context for conflicts and present information as fed to them by the Pentagon. Without towing the line, they get no access to valuable information, hence the initially favorable coverage of virtually every military conflict in modern history. The media is now looking at the strategic pitfalls of war in Afghanistan, not the impact on the Afghan people or whether the war was legitimate in the first place.
The horrific massacre earlier this month highlights the enormous impact of war on both sides - the Staff Sergeant was clearly mentally disturbed and a victim of severe psychological stress, but the murder of 16 innocent people is far, far worse.