Information Warfare: May 26, 2005


: If you cant say it with pictures, no one hears you. A current news story tells the tale of a group of Norwegian soldiers who made a music video, featuring a satiric version of the Beach Boys hit, Kokomo, with the lyrics commenting on the frustrating peacekeeping situation in the Balkans, and elsewhere. What was not mentioned was that the satirical version of the song has been around for nearly ten years, and originally appeared as part of his Bob Rivers morning radio show on KZOK in Seattle. The Kosovo/Kokomo satire was later issued as the lead track on his Twisted Tunes - Vault Collection Vol. II. CD, which came out in 1997.

Why hasnt this cutting satire gotten any attention in the last decade? Because there were no visuals. No, seriously. Remember Abu Ghraib prison, and the pictures of those naked Iraqi prisoners. Big scandal. But the situation in Abu Ghraib was being talked and written about months before it became a big story. And it only became a big story when there were pictures available. Not convinced? Remember Somalia, and the big battle in 1993 that left 18 American soldiers dead. We only got involved in Somalia once there were lots of pictures and videos coming out about the starvation and chaos in the country. American troops were withdrawn because of a video of a dead American soldier being dragged through the street. But the Somali gunmen actually lost that battle, loving over 500 of their fighters. There were no pictures of those dead bodies, so the media declared the Somalis the winners and that was that. 

News editors have known for over a century that a money shot (a stunning picture) can carry a story that would otherwise be ignored, or seen in some other (probably more accurate) way. This is why TV news took a big bite out of print and radio news operations when it showed up half a century ago. So when you view the news, dont get your vision distorted by a great money shot. 

You can hear the original Bob Rivers Kokomo parody here.

The Norwegian soldiers video version can be seen here. 


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