Tweeting Graphic Videos From Syria

Friday, February 10, 2012


The situation in Syria is worsening, with estimates of over 5000 dead and the regime of President Bashar Al Assad showing no signs of backing down. With a virtual media blackout in the country, videos posted to YouTube and Facebook are providing some of the only glimpses into the atrocities taking place on the ground.  Bob speaks to NPR senior strategist Andy Carvin and Sky News digital news editor Neal Mann about walking the line between conveying the immensity of the brutality without traumatizing audiences.

The Chieftans - The Stone

Comments [6]

Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

As still a child (I’m 61), I was exposed to evening news shows that included black people having dogs, clubs, and fire hoses used on them, dead people from a generation before stacked like cord wood, and Buddhist monks self-immolating. In life, I have been lucky to have seen only one skull I had to crack bleeding on the pavement, cradled a man shot between the eyes, watched my father’s peaceful dying amid family, and my comatose, dying ex-wife hooked to a breathing tube. I have been attacked myself several times, been injured so, and been caught in a spray of automatic gunfire, though unscathed. Otherwise, I have avoided the aftermath of violence and death, though I have brothers who served, many cousins who did also and a sister who's sa nurse.

I don’t seek depictions of such things and turn aside when they are displayed. I am quite aware that these things occur and have a vivid enough imagination to never need to see a Daniel Pearl beheading. I understand the propaganda value and have no desire to entice anyone to consider me audience. Others may make other choices but that’s mine.

Feb. 15 2012 06:49 PM
Byron Miller

Katie Elle touches here on the more interesting question not addressed in today's show: the use -- not simply the "tastefulness" -- of "traumatic" visuals on social media.

Remember, this show's lead-in made reference to Assad as a "dictator." Had the child been injured as he was while demonstrating in defense of Assad, would the visual have been an issue?...

...Or, more to the point, had the child been a Palestinian whose jaw was blasted away by an Israeli airstrike on Gaza, would the topic ever have been raised on NPR? Surely among the 1200 Palestinian civilians assaulted and killed several years ago by the IDF, there must have been horrific injuries transmitted. Is the dismantling of a Palestinian child by a Netanyahu to be ignored while the victim of an Arab, deemed "dictator," is worthy of transmittal by the NPR media man??

Feb. 12 2012 05:17 PM
Monte Haun

Some AH Journalists were remarking on the resemblence of a photo from Syria to the Pieta.

There are Hundreds of Thousands photos from Iraq, many more horrifying, more brutal, more poignant.

Ali nearly burnt to a crisp, not only the flesh burnt from his little arms, but even the bones consumed.

The Scream, made incarnate in the form of an Iraqi girl covered with her Parents blood because a pathetic piece of Marine Corp trash, either because of his pathology or his cowardice, destroyed a car full of Civilians at a Checkpoint.

And not just once, but again and again.

Yeah, that photo looked familiar too, but sadly that photo and the tragedy it portrayed, got much less attention than did the theft of the Munch Painting it imitated.

A world gone completely mad applauded by you morally corrupt and degenerate "Journalists".

God help us.

Monte Haun

Feb. 12 2012 02:33 PM
Katie Elle

Yet what is shown is so selective it functions as propaganda. Is Carvin tweeting pics of drone victims in Afghanistan and Pakistan? Iraqi victims of our invasion? How about the Iraqi birth defects from depleted uranium munitions?

Feb. 12 2012 12:59 PM
Toby Saunders from outside Atlanta

The US public, and people in general, deserve to see the trauma of reality so that we are awakening from our sleep... we are dulled too much by entertainment, it's like an opiate, so we showing the important truths is a good way to enlighten for the better. By the way, it was that boy's whole jaw, not only lower jar removed by what was presumably a big bullet... the Syrian regime is acting horribly against who appear to be pro-democracy activists & at least anti-authoritarian activists.

Feb. 12 2012 11:14 AM
martin schneider

Syria Feed story. Although it seems necessary to debate and to decide about things with which we have no experience, i.e., the effects of graphic images, there is no way to make informed decisions, especially ones with lives and future unknown consequeces at stake, without knowing the real facts. Without a universal military draft to insure that we all experience the consequences of our decisions, and that would hopefully prevent cowardly politicians who've never served of continuing their habit of sending a select few over and over again to do our dirty work, with the laissez-faire aacquiescence of an American public unwilling to participate in the democratic process, we are unable to make these informed decisions. If these images do not prompt the 50% of Americans who at least vote to make their opinions known, then we are at the mercy of ... . And here is where you are biased: you do not address the issues that those who don't care are interested in!

Feb. 11 2012 02:58 PM

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