Sunday, March 13, 2005
Disturbing images: When I was staying home from work sick earlier this week (I'm still a little under the weather, but I'm doing better. Thanks for asking.), I took the opportunity to flip over to CBS in time to watch Dan Rather's send off. After watching it, I'm confident that I definitely have "courage."
Rather's closing statement was a little hokey and out of place. He didn't sound a whole lot like a journalist -- instead he sounded more like a preacher.
But what struck me most about Rather's last minutes was CBS News' decision to use images from 9/11. It's been years since I've seen one of the Big 3 networks show video of the second plane hitting the World Trade Center and one of the two buildings as it collapsed.
I'm not saying that this is a bad thing. My sentiments are more closely aligned with the song by country singer Darryl Worley called "Have you forgotten?"
They took all the footage off my T.V.
Said it's too disturbing for you and me
It'll just breed anger that's what the experts say
If it was up to me I'd show it every day
So, why is the news anchor's retirement an occasion to break the moratorium on those "disturbing" images?
Over the past three years, I've seen more video of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor -- thanks to the History Channel -- than I have of 9/11.
Does the footage of 9/11 have an effect on the American public? Sure. Is that some sort of an excuse to never show it? Certainly not.
The broadcast media knows it has an emotional effect -- that's why Rather chose to use it. He wanted that emotional impact to be associated with himself -- a disgusting move.
The media has refused to use that same video as b-roll footage when covering stories regarding homeland security or the war on terrorism.
Americans have a very short-term memory. Too many need to be reminded what's at stake.
And they only get it when an anchorman retires.