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Debate: Should war be televised?

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Background and context

Since the popularization of television and televised news, significant debate has surrounded televising scenes of war. This became particularly contentious during the Vietnam War and has continued through the War in Iraq and Afghanistan. The main question here is whether battles and scenes of war and death should be televised? Is it important for the general public to see these scenes, or is it damaging?

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Families: Would televising war benefit families of soldiers?

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Pro

  • Televised war would let families see that loved-ones are OK. Families of soldiers would be able to see them and know that they were OK or not. This is very important, as families often suffer from severe anxiety as their loved ones are away, and as they have little ability to see if they are OK. Although televised war may not allow every family the ability to see their own loved ones, it will give them a sense that soldiers, such as their loved ones, are in good health and spirits.



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Con

  • Televising war exposes children to violence. War is very violent and probably not appropriate for younger children. It is inevitable that children will come across such violent video clips, as they flip through the channels of their television, and as their parents turn and leave on the news during the day or in the evening. Children shouldn't be exposed to this violence, and it is wrong to place parents in the position of exposing their children to such violence when they turn on the news.



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Public benefits/disadvantages

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Pro

  • Televised war would raise awareness without news censorship. It would raise national awareness about war conditions and what is really happening, without the lies and censorship of the news broadcasters and the U.S Government.
  • Televised war shows the grizzly nature of war. The idea behind "televising war", as it is generally argued, is to expose the fully realities behind war, not simply the heroism and patriotism involved. So, while media companies might have a tendency to paint an overly soft and entertaining picture, the idea behind "televising war" (and the motion underlying this debate) is to push these companies to show the uglier side of war. The questions is whether televising this side of war is a good idea.
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Con

  • Televised war could embarrass and demoralize soldiers. It would show the other side of the war, showing that not all American soldiers are perfect and that could be demoralizing and/or embarrassing.
  • Televised war can create a misconceived notion of war. As the mainstram media today tend to paint the picture to entertain, rather than to inform. The images, clips and sounds undergo heavy editing before being presented to the viewers. Often these medium do not represent the grisly, cruel nature of war accurately. Instead, the clips are meant to stimulate a sense of heroism, of glory and patriotism, immersing the viewers in a videogame-like atmosphere, perhaps making wars look more acceptable.


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How would soldiers benefit?

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Pro

Soldiers would know that other people would know what they were going through. Soldiers would have less anger directed at the people who are sitting at home safe watching news reports and broadcasts thinking about how lucky they are.


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Con

Please feel free to add your own sub-questions.



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Who would benefit from televised war? Who would not?

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Pro

  • Televised war would allow donation centers to use footage in commercials. Donation centers, like "Good Will" and "Red Cross" would be able to make effective commercials by relating to the war footage. This would boost donations and the army would benefit from showing the footage because they would receive donations. Also the family and friends of soldiers would be able to see their loved ones, as was mentioned earlier. The soldiers would know that their loved ones know that they are doing well and that they will not worry as much about them every night.
  • The Army would benefit from the funds raised from the war broadcasts. They could use this for necessities like food, water, ammunition, and armor. This would help the U.S.A end wars and battles much quicker and probably save lives while they are at it.


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Con

  • Enemy forces would benefit from televised war. Access to television is easy to acquire, and this could create problems with the enemy finding out how they are positioned. This could create a effect that lets the enemy know what the army is doing at times, and where they are, etc. This would give the enemy a edge on what is happening on the other side.
  • Televised war puts reporters in a very dangerous position. They might often receive hate mail because they show soldiers in combat killing the enemy. This also puts the reporters in danger because they are as much of a soldier as any other in the enemy's eyes. This would make getting a reporter out there much harder and the news company would have to give a huge raise for the conditions that they were working in. Also this might make people who are thinking about joining the army change their mind after they see what the field conditions are like. This would make it harder to fill in empty spots left in the army from victims of war.



See also

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