Mark Kleiman wonders why "right-wing bloggers" (his term) are upset that the murder of Nicholas Berg was not shown by the American media.
What am I missing here?Well, Mark doesn't quote or link to any of these "right-wing bloggers," so it's difficult to respond to his question with specifics, but perhaps what "right-wing bloggers" are upset about is the double-standard. Graphic photos of American abuses at Abu Ghraib prison are given prominent play, but Al Qaeda's terror is sanitized. It is proper to report on the prison abuse by U.S. forces, yes. It's also important to remember why U.S. forces are there in the first place.
* Al Qaeda thugs murder an American on camera as a publicity stunt.
* The mass media mostly refuse to give them the free publicity they want, not showing the snuff clip the terrorists released.
* Right-wing bloggers object, thinking the media ought to do what the terrorists wanted them to do.
[UPDATE: I just want to add, in case it isn't obvious, that I'm not saying that the latter justifies the former. The two are unrelated. I'm talking only about the editorial decisions by the media, not about the incidents themselves.]
And perhaps what Mark is also missing is that his premise is likely wrong; showing it would not be "what the terrorists wanted them to do." Either the video was primarily intended by the terrorists for an Arab audience or for an American one. To the extent that the video was intended for an Arab audience, the American media showing it wouldn't be relevant to Al Qaeda's wishes. To the extent that it was intended for an American audience, it would be, I think, an attempt to demoralize or intimidate us. But I don't believe that showing it to us would have that effect; I would suspect that it would have the opposite effect. While widespread violence in Iraq might convince the U.S. to pull out, targeted violence such as that will only make us more determined to stay there and eliminate those responsible.