Thursday, February 15, 2007

Torture in popular entertainment

This article in the current issue of The New Yorker details a meeting between an interrogation instructor from the military academy at West Point and the producers of the Fox television hit "24" in which the instructor asked the program to stop depicting Jack Bauer torturing individuals as a means of interrogating a suspect. The show is hurting army recruits' understanding of what is effective and legal in a real world setting. West Point has to unlearn what eager recruits bring to the classroom from the plot line of "24."

Additionally, the military released an unrelated report on how troop behavior in the field is influenced by depictions of torture in popular culture. Apparently the military agrees that watching television has an influence on real world behavior. The troops get some incorrect ideas about how to treat prisoners/suspects from the popular media. Or they are trying to shift the blame for their own failings to popular culture.

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