The kidnap weapon; the media target

The kidnap weapon; the media target

: William Safire said today just what I said Saturday about examing our role and responsibility in media giving terrorists publicity for their atrocities. He also said that candidates and government leaders (read: Kerry) have an equal responsibility not to be manipulated by the enemy. I agree.

Nobody should order reporters and editors to “downplay” a gut-wrenching human interest story involving cruelty, violence and death. Nor should the media flinch from covering casualty counts or honoring the fallen. War involves sacrifice.

But responsible journalists should consider the wisdom of allowing media-savvy terrorists to play them like a violin….

Do we have to become conduits for this grisly, real-death kidnap choreography? We are obliged to report it, but we need not go along with the terrorist propagandists in milking the most horror out of it.

We know that the primary purpose of the kidnap weapon is to drive the coalition forces out of Iraq and to prevent a free election there.

We know, too, that the kidnap weapon is aimed at the U.S. election….

John Kerry, who has evidently decided to replace Howard Dean as the antiwar candidate, last weekend helped to magnify the terrorists’ kidnap weapon. In a scheduled commercial Kerry personally approved, just before charging that George Bush had no plan to get us out of Iraq, the Democratic campaign underscored the message Zarqawi has been sending: “Americans,” said Kerry’s announcer, “are being kidnapped, held hostage, even beheaded.”

Though undoubtedly accurate, that paid evocation of horror by a political candidate is a terrible blunder.