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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 May, 2004, 07:13 GMT 08:13 UK
Row over TV list of US Iraq dead
Nightline programme logo
Nightline's broadcast was attacked by some critics as anti-war
A US TV news programme has sparked controversy by devoting itself entirely to listing and showing pictures of more than 700 US soldiers killed in Iraq.

The producer of Nightline on ABC TV said the aim was to remind viewers that the dead were not just statistics, but had names and faces.

The broadcast has been attacked by some conservatives as anti-war.

It was not shown by a number of stations owned by a media group with links to the White House.

Vietnam echo

The show's presenter, veteran US journalist Ted Koppel, said: "Our goal tonight was to elevate the fallen above the politics and the daily journalism.

"The reading of those 721 names was neither intended to provoke opposition to the war nor as an endorsement."

The show was broadcast on the eve of the anniversary of President Bush's 1 May 2003 declaration from the deck of an aircraft carrier that major combat in Iraq was over.

The program was reportedly inspired by a June 1969 edition of Life magazine that carried the names and pictures of all the American soldiers killed in a single week in the Vietnam War.

But critics accused Koppel of trying to encourage opposition to the war in Iraq

'Unpatriotic'

Maryland-based Sinclair Broadcast Group - a media company with links to the White House - barred its ABC-affiliated stations from airing the broadcast.

Sinclair called it a political statement that failed to give all sides of the story.

Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican and Vietnam veteran, condemned Sinclair's decision.

He called it a "gross disservice to the public" and the US armed forces and branded it "unpatriotic".




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