TV and War

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There was a time when you had to go to the movie theater to get the latest updates, wait for a couple of horrible still shots on the local or national news or actually wait until the newspaper came out to see what was going on in ''the front lines''. Those days are long gone with modern TV and technology. Those brave reporters who have those coveted ABC TV jobs, NBC TV jobs or CBS TV jobs as reporters have been embedded in with the troops bring us breaking news as the bullets fly and the soldiers duck.

Whether it is a good thing or bad, the big boys in media entertainment such as ABC, FOX and CNN all have war correspondents that bring the war into our homes in real time. This is something that was never done as little as 15 years ago, at least not in the way that it is today.

Historically, media has always been a part of the war. Remember when you were a kid and would read those heartbreaking stories about the soldier who said his dying words to his best friend? Then time and technology moved forward and we were privy to short news reels of some interviews or one or two quick action shots. All of that has moved forward to a time when we see real live action with news reporters who are very much a part of the action.

The coverage that has been generated in recent conflicts is breathtaking. To be sitting in your living room and watch what may be a friend or neighbor in a conflict brings the horrible reality of war right into our lap. It has made the American public aware of something that most of us have never actually experienced: WAR.

We are being brought into countries and lands that live with this experience every day and while the NBC's of the world primary motivation is more than likely ratings, they are serving another purpose in that they are making us painfully aware how costly and horrible the whole war experience is.

The first real war footage remembered by people is probably the footage of the Gulf War when the news agencies reported the footage of the stealth bomber hitting targets that made it look so easy. It almost belittled the danger that our soldiers were in because in actuality, it really was that easy. People actually started to think war was a joke. In that case, TV coverage of war was probably damaging the countries perception of how horrible it actually was.

Now we fast forward to today where there are TV Shows on cable showing the every day activity of the soldiers and how dangerous and yes, at times, monotonous war can be. 'Stay Frosty' became the new catch phrase as laymen actually now knew what that meant. We also have incredible live footage from ABC, CNN, FOX, NBC and CBS showing live battles, literally with bullets flying over the heads of the reporters and those who have accepted ABC TV jobs, NBC TV jobs or CBS TV jobs. They are with the soldiers that brought war back to what it is supposed to be perceived as a horrible experience for all involved.

The next glaring question about TV coverage during wars would be at what cost are we getting this coverage and is it worth it. After all, the coverage is being done by an individual who is far from neutral in the conflict. Is the general population getting a fair perspective of the actual conflict or are we getting nothing more than one man's tilt? Or worse, has the individual been told what to report to guarantee a certain slant on what comes back to our sets? These are fair questions and are definitely worth considering.

Finally, the question of safety comes out. At what cost is someone willing to go get that story? As headlines and literally careers are made on this type of coverage, how far are these individuals willing to go to get the best angle or story? Are they willing or have they risked their lives in an effort to get us 'the news'?

In recent times, committees and hotlines have been set up solely for the purpose of these individuals working for the media to help them make sure they are working in as safe as conditions as possible. After all, they are not warriors, they are reporters.

Television has brought war into our living rooms and it is not just changing how we see war, it is changing our perspective of those who fight and of those who cover it. It may not be a good thing all of the time but it is definitely the right thing as we need never forget how horrible of an act and the destruction and death that War creates.
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