The War On Youtube

by Chris Bodenner

Nicholas Sautin theorizes over amateur videos from the Iraq war:

In their democratic lack of artifice and ornamentation, they suggest the closest approximation we have to reality; this makes them intolerable. In this, such video has played a role in the upheaval of traditional journalism. How can a reporter with even total access compete with a soldier attaching a camera to his helmet during a firefight?

This immediacy fuels journalism’s increased obsolescence; despite the American media’s remarkably successful attempts to shield its viewers from gruesome images of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the ease with which digital photos and videos can be recorded and disseminated has largely antiquated traditional military censorship. While mainstream networks were still fretting over whether to show flag-draped coffins on the nightly news, wrestling internally over the complicated ethics of embedded journalism, and creating ever more extravagant banners and catchphrases, camera phones quietly and permanently altered the journalistic landscape.