The "sanitization" of war coverage

A study published by the BBC shows that "embedded" reporters gave a "sanitized" view of the war against Iraq. The study also found that the BBC shared in the general pro-war bias by British broadcasters (which was not nearly as great as that of their American counterparts):
The BBC-commissioned research will be discussed at NewsXchange conference in Budapest today. It showed that the corporation, like most other British broadcasters, tended towards "pro-war assumptions".

Although British broadcasters were not guilty of the overt pro-war bias of their US counterparts, they tended to assume the truth of what they had been told. In nine out of 10 references to weapons of mass destruction during the war, there was an assumption that Iraq possessed them.

Broadcasters were twice as likely to show Iraqi enthusiasm for the coalition forces as suspicion or hostility.
A BBC official will also make a case for "desanitizing" war coverage:
...a senior BBC news executive will make a controversial case for desanitising the presentation of war on British television. In a speech to a conference of broadcasters in Budapest, Mark Damazer, deputy director of BBC News, will say the current position is a "disservice to democracy".

He told the Guardian last night: "For reasons that are laudable and honourable, we have got to a situation where our coverage has become sanitised. We are running the risk of double standards, and it is not a service to democracy."
I would agree on both counts. If citizens of some state are willing to spend billions of dollars to send off other fellow citizens to be blown up and maimed for life, they should be shown what their money is buying. They should get a good, clear idea of what war looks like, even if they never have to go and fight in one and even if it upsets their breakfast. It might make these people less willing to support war.

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