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Our Embedded Media

Samuel Claiborne - Recently there was an article on natural gas extraction in the NY Times. It was basically a cheerleading essay on how the wonderful new technology of ‘fracking' was going to exponentially increase the world's natural gas supply. There was not one single word in the entire article about this technology's serious environmental repercussions - from its use of large quantities of highly toxic chemicals, to the truly incredible quantities of water it requires.

This led me to think more and more about how our media have changed in my lifetime.

When I was a kid, the horrors of Vietnam were in our living rooms, and our magazines. As a young child, I was traumatized to see pictures of napalmed children in a copy of Newsweek while waiting in a pediatrician's office. Until that moment, I'd been an innocent 5 year old, never dreaming that people could do that to other people, let alone that my country could be the perpetrator of such unalloyed horrors.

But as traumatic as that experience was, it's far preferable to the embedded media we have now, which show us gee-whiz video game footage of smart bombs, but barely any pictures of the carnage, the reality of war. People the world over have been flooded with images of the true human cost to innocent civilians of our shock and awe campaign in Iraq and our incessant airstrikes in Pakistan and Afghanistan. But here in the US, we barely see a trickle of it in the mainstream media. And because of our media bubble, we fail to understand the world's outrage. Read more.

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