mr. zilla goes to town

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

number one, with a knife

The mainstream US media have been very reticent to touch the video of Nick Berg's murder. That hasn't stopped the video -- and demand for it -- rampaging its way across the internet.

The Lycos 50 discovered that queries for Nick Berg, the US contractor who was brutally beheaded in Iraq, have grown 1000 percent each day since the story broke on May 11th.

Nick Berg-related searches are so prevalent that they dwarf all other searches, including the consistent pop-culture leaders. Over the past 48 hours, Nick Berg was 38 times higher than Britney Spears. It was 60 times higher than Paris Hilton, and 63 times higher than Clay Aiken.

Keep an eye out for the weekly google zeitgeist which should be updated shortly too and take account of this. This humble blog hasn't been immune from the effect, with last week's traffic, while still super modest, nonetheless doubling.

Interestingly you can find the video in question available for download on the staunchly liberal, albeit deeply linked, as well as several pages of reader responses to their decision to make the video available.

Last I checked it's also available over at the nutbag rightwing Little Green Footballs, who are up in arms about the librul media's evident bias because (with the exception of the judiciously editing CBS) no networks have shown the video beheading of Nick Berg. A recent post frowningly cites the Media Research Center, who state:

To illustrate a fraction of the bias problem, we counted the number of prisoner-abuse stories on NBC’s evening and morning news programs (NBC Nightly News and Today) from April 29, when the story emerged, through May 11. There were 58 morning and evening stories. Using the Nexis news-data retrieval system, we counted the number of stories on mass graves found in Iraq from the reign of Saddam Hussein in 2003 and 2004. The number of evening and morning news stories on those grim discoveries? Five.

Newsflash for the LGF and MRC folks: news, particularly morning and evening bulletins, are about new stories -- presenting viewers with the day's information that's new. Are they suggesting that after the past couple of years of Bush administration sales pitch there was a single person left in America without the knowledge that Saddam Hussein is a completely evil fcuker? That cycle is done. And after flying fully loaded planes into skyscrapers in New York and killing 3,000 people in 2001, is anyone in doubt that sociopathic and deranged fundamentalist Islamist are capable of acts of extreme barbarism?

What's news to the American public however, and shocking news to most, is the torturous/abusive actions of American personnel. It's jarring cognitive dissonance to an imagined community who genuinely believe they are the world's good guys, standing at the commanding heights of the moral high ground. To have to face up to not just the six morons who lost the war, but the mounting evidence pointing to decisions at the highest level that allowed these actions, that's gripping.

Myself, I've been unable to bring myself to watch the video, or find it necessary to do so. Staring at the TV like a rabbit in the headlights until 5am on the night of September 11, or standing at Victoria station amongst a thousand silent faces in London a couple of days after the Madrid bombing was all the emotional and cognitive perspective I need. The curse of a good imagination. But you might want to read Tim Dunlop's response to watching the video and comparative perspective of Abu Ghraib.

The truth is: such actions set a standard by which we judge ourselves. And we have to ask ourselves, just how close to their side of the ledger do we want to get?

The starbucks is closing. My bike-bottle of cleverly smuggled in Grolsch is empty, but the remainder of the 5L minikeg in the fridge at home from Saturday night's party isn't. Good night. Stay safe.


  • all very good, but I think the real question here is who the f**k is Clay Aiken????

    By Blogger lunch, at 4:13 am  

  • nah, the real question Cuthlu going to run republican or democrat?

    Vote Early, Vote Often... aw hell, just vote.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:20 pm  

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