U.S. television networks have given the public a sanitized, largely bloodless view of the war in Iraq, an academic authority on communications writes.
"The contrast between what Americans saw on the news and what European and pan-Arab audiences saw is striking. Foreign news bureaus showed far more blood and gore than American stations showed. The foreign media were delivering audiences the true face of the war," writes Michelle Pulaski, an assistant professor at Pace University, New York.
"BBC Television (British Broadcasting Co.) and American stations often covered the same stories but with stark contrasts," Pulaski wrote, using the example of a "friendly fire" episode on an Iraq battlefield. "Immediately following the event, BBC television broadcast live from the scene with a detailed report of the horror including the blood-stained road, mangled vehicles, and the number of casualties. Several hours later CNN had very little to report on the event and only mentioned that a friendly fire incident had occurred, and there was no word on U.S. casualties. This example represents a trend of sanitized, relatively gore-free broadcasting that was seen throughout U.S. war coverage."
"The American people did not see the bodies of dead American soldiers, and few Iraqi casualties were aired," Pulaski added.