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Reality Check

(AP)
As David Muir reports, ABC News elected to air some graphic footage from Iraq on "World News With Charles Gibson," including an instance in which "troops are seen watching a Bradley armored vehicle blown up by an improvised explosive device as six American soldiers died inside."

Muir notes that hundreds of viewers e-mailed in about the footage, among them one who said it prompted nightmares and another who is the mother of the vehicle's driver. And he writes: "Many of you criticized ABC News and said we were focusing only on the negative, and called it 'irresponsible and cowardly reporting.'"

We here at Public Eye try to be open to different points of view, but it's pretty hard to fathom how anyone could claim, from an objective point of view, that it is "irresponsible" to show the reality of war to the public. One might make an argument that children should not be exposed to graphic real-world violence, and that the footage was therefore inappropriate for a 6:30 show. But in a culture awash in violence marketed as entertainment, where action movies and youth-oriented music glorify violence and trivialize its consequences, that line of reasoning strikes me as pretty thin. If anything, the footage run by ABC News acts as a corrective – a reminder that violence, real violence, is something other than a series of cool explosions and Bruce Willis one-liners.