Monday, October 25, 2004

Kidnap videos

American news programs are carefully weighing every decision with regards to Iraq kidnap videos, such as the recent one of Margaret Hassan.
It's not like the networks are new to the business of deciding whether or not to air disturbing videotape, said NBC Vice President Bill Wheatley, who noted that the industry also had to consider videos that were released during hostage crises in Lebanon two decades ago.

"We don't wish to be a conduit for distributing tapes of hostage-takers," he said. "We don't wish to be used, I can tell you that. There's a line between telling people what they should know from a news point of view and playing into the hands of people who are trying to take advantage of us."

But some videos are simply newsworthy, said Wheatley, who said NBC would air portions of the video with a voiceover because the kidnapping of an Iraqi citizen and well-known and well-established aid worker is a "notable story."
It has occurred to me more than once that RTE and the BBC seem to have no problem 'being used' by the kidnappers. I'm sure that the media's reaction to Ken Bigley's kidnapping and eventual murder is a big part of the reason Margaret Hassan was kidnapped.