THE BLOG
07/21/2014 06:41 pm ET Updated Sep 20, 2014

The Israeli-Palestinian War: Which Channel to Watch?

MENAHEM KAHANA via Getty Images

We have all seen the deaths in Gaza. We are appalled. Terrible violence. We see it. There is outrage. Rightly so, we want it stopped. And when it stops? We change the channel and go on to find something else to watch... that drama is over as far as we are concerned. The details of what the real issues are don't hold our attention. How to end the real crisis and bring about a resolution just isn't compelling TV. The plight of the Palestinians is a long and complicated history, but we don't have the time or the patience for the complexities of the region, or the real needs of those people. We don't like too many words or too many people debating or too many complicated problems. It exhausts us. The visuals of the killings are over, therefore the drama is over. Just give us the unwatchable/watchable videos of death and destruction.

No modern story holds our attention without compelling video. No matter how heinous an event may be, without the accompanying video, it doesn't exist to a mass audience.

In Lebanon, according to Human Right Watch, Palestinians are restricted from work in various professions, "Including law, medicine, and engineering." They are subject to other abuses as well, but is there a loud outcry? It goes unnoticed. No video. Just talking points. Boring TV. We change the channel. In Northern Iraq, over 100,000 Christians once called it home; today there are less than 200 Christians left in Iraq. And for those who remain, they must convert, pay a religious tax, or leave. If they stay without converting or paying the tax, they are executed. Where is the concern? It lacks a visual. No visual, no drama.

I wonder what the perception of World War II would have been like if it was on TV everyday, every night. Certainly a lot of brutal and unsettling visuals. Would we have been critical of the D-Day invasion, watching so many young American boys being mowed down as they fought to get off the beaches at Normandy? Would we have been angered at the military leaders for what appeared to be a misguided military blunder on day one? Should General Eisenhower have been recalled for a congressional investigation into the mistakes that were made in the early hours of that invasion? Would we have doubted the decision making on that day as we watched young soldiers lying dead in the water? Allied soldier casualties on day one were over 4,500. Germany lost 1,000 soldiers. Was this battle worth the price? Can you imagine the visuals on the television sets? What would have been our response? It is difficult to watch a war in real time. And the facts, and the causes, and the solutions all play second fiddle to the horror and tragedy of war. It makes compelling TV. And we learn nothing.

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