It's like in most other cases like this, if you cover it up you're seriously suggesting you've got something to hide and that will take on momentum by itself.
The headlines the world over are roughly translated 'Americans murder innocent civilians'. If they had released this on their own initiative they could have controlled it much better, now it is too late for that.
It's interesting how some of the most balanced reporting on this comes from sites like Al Jazeera:
If you're surprised by that, it means you don't know much about AJ and don't watch it. Currently they have the only decent journalism, along with BBC, which most of their AJ English journalists come from. The rest of popular news channels is TMZ-class compared to them.
I take my news from many different sources in 5 languages, it is strange (but educational) to see the same event through the lens of several different cultures, it also gives you a good sense of what the local bias is.
But what surprises me, and which is why I mentioned it, is that Al Jazeera is more balanced than either the BBC or the Dutch or German news services, and that's a first (for me).
Sad is, that we have to switch between various news services, often depending on their 'point of view'. Good journalism is good coverage and following discussion, not giving answers; but that's utopia.
There is a science fiction book which tells about 'professional witnesses', people that are trained to observe and report only what they observe.
One example given is a house, and the 'simple' person responds the house is white, but the professional witness reports the side of the house they can see is white.
It's a subtle difference, but it shows the world of assumptions underlying our observations, we all do this to some extent. By interrogating multiple sources and selecting what they agree on you can get to some basis of truth, and you can select items that are likely to be bias.
Maybe there is a need for a news 'meta service' that scans the 'regular news' for reports and does as good a job of removing the bias as possible.
This would be interesting, because I think it would make the news extremely boring, plenty of the 'bias' is what gets people excited about the news, facts are 'dry' and not very interesting.
What I am criticizing here, is that many contemporary journalists in mainstream media focus too much on giving simple answers and hot headlines instead of seeking evidence. From the few news services I have watched, I found AJ to be offering the most comprehensive analysis of reported subjects. That's why I found strange that you were surprised by their balanced reporting.
Normally they're good but not 'great'. In this article, which for their audience must be very inflammable material they actually take the time and point out the caveats much more clearly than some of the 'local' news sources in NL, the UK and in France.
There is plenty of stuff here that needs investigating and Al Jazeera does an amazing job of outlining the potential pitfalls in interpreting the video and the 'untold' side of the American military.
I really think that by doing that they deserve to be taken much more serious by people from 'the west', but for some reason the majority here seems to be stuck on what can be had in a basic cable subscription and preferably locally produced.
There is a world of information available to all of us but sifting through it is a lot of work, especially if a subject is politically sensitive.
Unfortunately many people, both pro and anti-war, are still operating on the perceptions shaped by events seven years ago and they haven't noticed how much things have changed.
They gained real notoriety in 2001 because of their covering of 'dancing Palestinians' after the 9/11 attack but they were operational long before that.
Actually, since these are the only guys to have live feeds online, they've become my mainstays for news. The BBC nowadays is just plain annoying with their gratingly slow byte-sized news clips full of ads.
Ha, that's certainly understating the issue. I followed their reporting of the war with Chechnya and it was often war-goading propaganda. They're good if Russia has no national stake in a news item, but Orwellian otherwise.
It's hard to believe because the American media feeds us the idea that Arabs are some inferior race out to kill us all. So obviously their media outlets are just publishing propaganda designed to further that cause by taking down the American infidels from the inside. Or something.
But of course, it's our news sources that are the real propaganda spewers. "Fair and balanced" indeed.
I think that's because people are totally de-sensitized as to viewing violence. The only difference between this video and some games and a whole pile of movies is that it is real.
More importantly, the labeling is inconsistent. They mislabel the opening shots of the group walking towards the corner as "armed AIF with RPG", at the last shot the same person is an "armed AIF". It's the guy with the AK in hand. Even the pilots recognized him as having 'just' a weapon (i.e. AK-47), not an RPG.