As video becomes increasingly popular and readily accessible on the Internet citizens accross the world are all too eager to upload video footage. Citizens upload video for a variety of reasons and many choose it as a means of openly sharing their views on global events. If you perform a search of "Iraq" on YouTube, Google Video and Truveo it will result in thousands of videos, but by far the most graphic results will be found YouTube. The video content on YouTube shows Iraqis being blown to bits by fire from Apache helicopters as well as footage of snipers deadly elimination of their targets in mountains of Afghanistan. The Google Video results all appear to be sanitized which comes as no suprise since Google has a strict policy of approving all video content and quickly removes videos they deem to contain "inappropriate" content. The Truveo "iraq" search resulted in seven thousand plus videos culled from various news sources. The Turveo videos provided the best overall content when rated on newsworthiness and editorial content, but none of the videos revealed any real graphic footage.
The most interesting question for me is how will the inclusion of Citizen Media affect the broader discussion and final outcome on the War in Iraq? What types of video footage and images will be uploaded by citizens from accross the world and how will such footage be perceived by American citizens in the United States? It remains to be seen whether our mainstream media feels any pressure to broadcast graphic Iraqi war video footage as it did to report the level of abuse at Abu Ghraib, in response to such video footage increasing availability on the Internet.
The growing participatory culture of citizens media with its interconnected blogs and vlogs have begun to bring closer attention and scrutiny to the War in Iraq from the American public. Will the increasing availability of citizen media and its resulting commentary and video draw attention to the fact that the War in Iraq unwinnable?
Is if possible that the Internet which was first to bring us the horrific images of Abu Ghraib and the explosion of social networks that are so efficient at the viral distribution of "non-mainstream media", be the catalyst that demonstrates how our American soldiers although engaged in their patriotic duty, sometimes behave in questionable manners and leave them with emotional scars that will live with them for the rest of their lives.
The American public and our military personnel have slowly begun to realize how futile and misguided our efforts are in Iraq. It is only a matter of time before the increasing skepticism of the American public and the voices across the blogosphere eventually have a similar effect regarding the War in Iraq as Walter Cronkites' editorial on the Tết Offensive had towards tipping 1960's public opinion towards opposition of the Vietnam War.