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Censoring/Modifying Reality on the Front Page

 
 
Noddy24
 
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2004 01:01 pm
When I saw the pictures of the mutilated American bodies in Fallujah on the front page of the local paper, I knew there would be an outpouring of Letters To The Editor.

Half of these letters would express indignation from readers at having their morning coffee curdled by ugly pictures.

The other half would deal with the effrontery of the newspaper in presenting unpalatable reality in a way that made unpalatable reality accessible to Innocent Children.

I was right.

I don't like blood, gore, betrayal, and Sex in High Places, but I don't think that I'm such a fragile little flower that I should be shielded. I certainly don' t think that a newspaper front page should be laid out in such a way as to guarantee that Children would Not Ask Awkward Questions.

What do you think.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 4,480 • Replies: 77
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ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2004 01:14 pm
It is news.

It is a consequence of a war that is being done in our name and in the name of our children.

We should not be shielded from the horrors of the war we started. I support the papers completely in this.
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Eva
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2004 01:23 pm
Our paper did not print that photo, Noddy.

Having a child in my house makes me more sensitive about these things. I don't watch the evening news for that very reason. I get my news from the newspaper and online instead. I certainly don't need to be shielded, but yes, he does. He is just beginning to learn that the world is not always a nice place. I don't want to overwhelm him.

Kids are growing up too fast today. They're having to confront so many realities that they are not emotionally ready to handle. When I was a child, society protected me. More and more of those protections are vanishing, and I'm not sure that's a good thing. Most adults are not looking out for the kids anymore.

It's hard to miss the front page of the paper. It's lying around the house, it's on the newsstands, it's everywhere. No, they shouldn't censor the news for children, but yes, I'd prefer they run graphic photos on page 2.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2004 01:37 pm
eva--

I agree completely with you exercising your right to parental censoring. Good for you.

Putting graphic pictures on Page 2? I'm not sure about this. My feeling is to either run the picture or not run the picture. What do other people think?
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Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2004 09:50 pm
Run it.
War is not pretty. Death is pretty gruesome under those circumstances and I'd say most of the information on the war is already pretty cesured.
4 dead in helicopter crash.......... doesn't really portray the horror of their deaths yet, for most of the deceased in Iraq, their deaths are little more than a foot note. One more number, 625, 626, 627.......It's time newspapers printed more of this stuff. Something needs to wake up the voters.
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Eva
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Apr, 2004 09:39 am
Noddy24 wrote:
eva--

I agree completely with you exercising your right to parental censoring. Good for you.

Putting graphic pictures on Page 2? I'm not sure about this. My feeling is to either run the picture or not run the picture. What do other people think?


I'd like to hear what others think, too. But I do have a question. If you agree that I should censor what my child sees/hears...how can I possibly do that if graphic images are in plain, public view? Put a blindfold on him whenever he leaves the house? Forbid him to look at newspapers and TV?
Daily newspapers are available in all the elementary school libraries and used in the classrooms. They are written on a 3rd grade level. I want to encourage him to begin reading the newspaper, not shelter him from it. He does not yet have that adult hardening of sensitivities. And I see no reason to force him to confront these things at this age.

I, for one, am very glad there are still some standards of public decency. I don't think graphic images (sexual or violent) belong on the front page of the newspaper, on billboards, bus advertising, or TV (without warnings). You gotta give us responsible parents a chance to help our kids grow up at the right time.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Apr, 2004 10:28 am
Eva--

I've been there. The maternal urge to protect children is very strong. On the other hand, children must be taught about life-as-it-is as well as life-as-it-should-be.

Once a kid can walk to the corner store--probably a 7-11 these days--they are exposed to Ugly Reality. Your job is to be sure that they know to ask questions when they don't understand and that they feel safe when they do understand.
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Scrat
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Apr, 2004 12:57 pm
ebrown_p wrote:
We should not be shielded from the horrors of the war we started. I support the papers completely in this.

1) Saddam started it. We beat him. He agreed to a ceasefire. He broke that ceasefire. We resumed combat and finished the job.

2) I support the papers' right to publish anything they want within the confines of community standards. I also support the right of readers to cancel their subscriptions if they don't like the paper's editorial choices. (I see no reason a paper couldn't put such images on a page other than page 1.)
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Eva
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Apr, 2004 05:24 pm
We live in a city, Noddy. Our child is not allowed to walk to the corner store alone. Neither are any of his friends.

I am teaching him about life-as-it-is. But at the proper rate. I don't want to overwhelm him. If he saw pictures of dead bodies on the front page, it would make him avoid the newspaper altogether. He couldn't handle it. In fact, many adults couldn't handle it.

Which brings us to the subject of photojournalism. The pictures that editors choose for their newspapers (PARTICULARLY the front page) are often put there to elicit a reaction or influence public opinion. Our paper did not print that photo, and I assume that at least in part, it is because they support Bush. They also do not run headlines that could possibly be interpreted as critical of the administration. I do not know of a single newspaper that is without bias. I was surprised (and pleased) to see anti-Bush headlines & photos on West Coast newspapers when I last visited there.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Apr, 2004 05:48 pm
At some point, Eva, there will be the walk to the corner store....or the sniggering kids at recess....or the adult material purloined to add "sophistication" to a slumber party.....

The world is with us, late and soon.
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Eva
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Apr, 2004 08:28 pm
I know, Noddy. It isn't that far off. He will get there soon enough.

Still, I do feel there are many other motives that determine what is placed on the front page besides "the public's right to know."
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Apr, 2004 08:50 pm
Everyone who has responded here is part right... But only Eva isn't part wrong. She has every right to introduce ugliness to her children at her own pace. It's not just a maternal urge, I assure you, because I feel it too. I'll stand next to Larry Flint on Censorship issues, any day, but NOT on the front page.

What makes anyone here think they have the right to decide when someone else's children learn the facts of life? Think it through people. If you think it's perfectly acceptable to expose your children to shock-value-violence from the time they're old enough to read; go ahead and exercise your right to do so. But don't tread on someone else's right not to.
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Eva
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Apr, 2004 10:24 pm
Wow. Thank you, Bill! (You can babysit anytime! LOL!)

I wish we could get edgarblythe over here to expound on his "Two Hands Clapping" philosophy. It would fit right in.

I am squarely against censorship. But I do believe there is a time and place for everything. That's all.

Am I the only one concerned about a newspaper's (or any medium's) motives in selecting/publishing such photos? I've been in our paper's newsroom many times (I have friends who work there), and I've seen the stack of photos that come in across the wire every day. A select team of editors meets daily to decide what articles/photos they will run and what goes where in the next day's edition. And they are quite aware of the fact that they are the ones who mold public opinion.
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Apr, 2004 11:19 pm
No thanks necessary my dear. :wink: That needed saying. Idea

I too am very much against censorship. I will not buy a newspaper that sells itself by showing shocking pictures, but wouldn't infringe on someone else's right to do so. Front pages are different... May as well be the commercial break on Saturday morning cartoons. Idea

If people want to purchase an uncut hardcore newspaper, magazine or television broadcast for that matter; I have no problem with that. Don't force it on me, though, because I don't want to see it. I don't even like to read an author that goes overboard in describing it. Hell, I never got past the rape scene in Grisham's A Time To Kill. I threw the book down in disgust that an author I generally enjoy had ever resorted to such a tactic. I'll also take Vincent Price over Wes Craven any day. Tell me its ugly; don't go out of your way to show it to me. Idea

As for the hyper-partisan responses that I need to see artwork of the ugliness of war to appreciate the horror... that's pure BS. Neither do I need to see footage from the rape and mutilation to understand Jeffrey Dahmer was a walking nightmare. Reality doesn't need to be seen in pictures to get the picture, get the picture? We've all heard what the Tijuana prostitutes do to horses to earn a buck... Does anyone think we need to see a photo of that to know it's ugly and real, and sad as it may be, is a fact of life? A picture is worth a thousand words. There are plenty of incidents that I don't want to (let alone think children should have to) read a thousand words about. And no, you don't have the right to make us!

Sometimes I like to end a rant by paraphrasing Dennis Miller's "of course, that's just my opinionÂ… I could be wrong"... This in not one of those times.
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Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Apr, 2004 11:52 pm
I misread, I hadn't realized the picture was on the front page. I have children too, but they are now of the age where we have begun discussing these topics. At home it's fairy easy to hide an offending picture, but it's difficult to sheild a child eyes away from the general public reading the paper.
I feel the same way about front page traffic fatalities.
However, I don't believe the picture should not be printed, just different real estate.
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Tarantulas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Apr, 2004 03:37 am
Noddy24 wrote:
Once a kid can walk to the corner store--probably a 7-11 these days--they are exposed to Ugly Reality. Your job is to be sure that they know to ask questions when they don't understand and that they feel safe when they do understand.

I agree with this viewpoint. It's better for a child to discover reality from the parents than from the kids on the playground or from a newspaper that blows through the front yard or from the news on the radio. I used to be a kid once, and I know that kids find out things in ways that their parents don't suspect.

I say teach them early and teach them everything. Yes, there are bad people in the world. Yes, people die and go to heaven. No, it won't happen here because the bad people are on the other side of the world from us. I don't think kids are traumatized by things like this. They're more worried about what's coming up next on Pokemon or whatever the latest fad is.

I don't have kids, but that's what I would do with mine.
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roverroad
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Apr, 2004 03:44 am
Tarantulas wrote:
No, it won't happen here because the bad people are on the other side of the world from us.


That's a good thing to tell them, but I'm sure you realise it isn't true.
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Apr, 2004 04:17 am
Bill- I was going to write a long reply, until I saw your post. You saved me the time. Very Happy

One thing that I would like to add, though. With little children, one never knows how a disgusting graphic, that they don't really undrestand, will affect them. Although newspapers have the right to print what they wish, out of sensitivity for the little ones, and those who are faint of heart, I would prefer that they keep the full color, blood and guts pics off page one!
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Apr, 2004 09:16 am
1 down and about 100 to go to catch up to all the times your posts saved me time. Your additional point is spot on too. Who knows what originally started this kid's fascination with human anatomy?
http://www.serialkiller.com.br/dahmer2.jpg
Jeffrey Dahmer
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Eva
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Apr, 2004 02:50 pm
I woke up this morning thinking about all the other people who don't need to be confronted with dead bodies on the front page of the newspaper.

What about the veteran suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome? What about the lovely couple who just lost their teenage son to suicide? What about the guardsman who just got his orders to report? What about the highschool teacher who taught that poor guy whose dead face stares out from the front page? What about his wife and kids at home?

It is a hard world we live in. If such a photo would not traumatize you, then count your blessings. Let's not make it any harder than it has to be for those who are not as fortunate.
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