Monday, June 13, 2005

Sign of the coming apocalypse: Abu Ghraib abuse called 'nonsense'

This isn't about online journalism, but I couldn't help raising this question - what is wrong with people? In a column entitled 'Newspapers on the front lines of today's cultural war,' (registration required) Sacramento Bee Public Editor Armando Acuna excerpts quotes from reader responses to his last column in which he puzzled about 'readers continuing to lose faith in American newspapers.' Here are two quotes from those readers:

"'Look at the media's obsession with reporting so-called prisoner abuse and desecration of the Quran. It's an unrelenting drive to discredit Bush, whom they hate and it's damaging the country immensely. Media reports exaggerate otherwise minor offenses and inflame other countries' hatred for us.' -- Jim Hudock, 57, a self-described 'Independent' who lives in Folsom, Calif. and works in the oil industry. (emphasis added)

'How many times did we hear that these conflicts [in Iraq and Afghanistan] would result in massive U.S. and civilian casualties? That we were bogged down? That there was no hope? The repetition of the Abu Ghraib nonsense, and now the same about Gitmo? Please.' -- Curt Swanson, 44, an attorney and registered Democrat who lives in Sacramento. (emphasis added)

I understand everyone is mad at Al Qaeda -- I've said many times I'd kill Osama bin Laden myself if I had the chance. I watched the Towers fall from across the Hudson River, not on television. My hometown at the time, Hoboken, reportedly lost more people per capita in the terrorist attack than any other.

I also understand that most people are mad at the media -- because of my background as a journalist, I shake my head in shame AND anger when I see the Fourth Estate tearing itself down.

But regardless of one's political, religious, or social views, I cannot fathom calling what I saw in those pictures from Abu Ghraib 'nonsense.' Nor can I imagine calling even unproven prisoner abuse a 'minor offense.'

With attitudes like these, we may win the war on terrorism, but we're going to lose our humanity. How can these people not see that?