And it sold air time and made money for the network. Duh!
This is a discussion on And They Wonder Why Many Reporters Are Universally Hated within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Gates: AP decision 'appalling' - Yahoo! News Defense Secretary Robert Gates is objecting “in the strongest terms” to an Associated Press decision to transmit a ...
Gates: AP decision 'appalling' - Yahoo! NewsMy heart goes out to LCPL Bernard's family in their time of grief. It seems to me that the editors who decided to distribute and publish this photo, against the families wishes, were either going for the sensationalistic journalism approach, trying to make a political statement about the war, or both.Defense Secretary Robert Gates is objecting “in the strongest terms” to an Associated Press decision to transmit a photograph showing a mortally wounded 21-year-old Marine in his final moments of life, calling the decision “appalling” and a breach of “common decency.”
The AP reported that the Marine’s father had asked – in an interview and in a follow-up phone call — that the image, taken by an embedded photographer, not be published.
The AP reported in a story that it decided to make the image public anyway because it “conveys the grimness of war and the sacrifice of young men and women fighting it.”
The photo shows Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Bernard of New Portland, Maine, who was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade in a Taliban ambush Aug. 14 in Helmand province of southern Afghanistan, according to The AP.
Gates wrote to Thomas Curley, AP’s president and chief executive officer. “Out of respect for his family’s wishes, I ask you in the strongest of terms to reconsider your decision. I do not make this request lightly. In one of my first public statements as Secretary of Defense, I stated that the media should not be treated as the enemy, and made it a point to thank journalists for revealing problems that need to be fixed – as was the case with Walter Reed."
“I cannot imagine the pain and suffering Lance Corporal Bernard’s death has caused his family. Why your organization would purposefully defy the family’s wishes knowing full well that it will lead to yet more anguish is beyond me. Your lack of compassion and common sense in choosing to put this image of their maimed and stricken child on the front page of multiple American newspapers is appalling. The issue here is not law, policy or constitutional right – but judgment and common decency.”
The four-paragraph letter concluded, “Sincerely,” then had Gates’ signature.
The photo, first transmitted Thursday morning and repeated Friday morning, carries the warning, “EDS NOTE: GRAPHIC CONTENT.”
The caption says: “In this photo taken Friday, Aug. 14, 2009, Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard is tended to by fellow U.S. Marines after being hit by a rocket propelled grenade during a firefight against the Taliban in the village of Dahaneh in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. Bernard was transported by helicopter to Camp Leatherneck where he later died of his wounds.”
Gates’ letter was sent Thursday, after he talked to Curley by phone at about 3:30 p.m. Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said Gates told Curley: “I am asking you to reconsider your decision to publish this graphic photograph of Lance Corporal Bernard. I am begging you to defer to the wishes of the family. This will cause them great pain.”
Curley was “very polite and willing to listen,” and send he would reconvene his editorial team and reconsider, Morrell said. Within the hour, Curley called Morrell and said the editors had reconvened but had ultimately come to the same conclusion.
Gates “was greatly disappointed they had not done the right thing,” Morrell said.
The Buffalo News ran the photo on page 4, and the The (Wheeling, W.Va.) Intelligencer ran an editorial defending its decision to run the photo. Some newspapers – including the Arizona Republic, The Washington Times and the Orlando Sentinel – ran other photos from the series. Several newspaper websites – including the Akron Beacon-Journal and the St. Petersburg Times – used the photo online.
Morrell said Gates wanted the information about his conversations released “so everyone would know how strongly he felt about the issue.”
The Associated Press reported in a story about deliberations about that photo that “after a period of reflection,” the news service decided “to make public an image that conveys the grimness of war and the sacrifice of young men and women fighting it.
“The image shows fellow Marines helping Bernard after he suffered severe leg injuries. He was evacuated to a field hospital where he died on the operating table,” AP said. “The picture was taken by Associated Press photographer Julie Jacobson, who accompanied Marines on the patrol and was in the midst of the ambush during which Bernard was wounded. … ‘AP journalists document world events every day. Afghanistan is no exception. We feel it is our journalistic duty to show the reality of the war there, however unpleasant and brutal that sometimes is,’ said Santiago Lyon, the director of photography for AP.
“He said Bernard's death shows ‘his sacrifice for his country. Our story and photos report on him and his last hours respectfully and in accordance with military regulations surrounding journalists embedded with U.S. forces.’”
The AP reported that it “waited until after Bernard's burial in Madison, Maine, on Aug. 24 to distribute its story and the pictures.”
“An AP reporter met with his parents, allowing them to see the images,” the article says. “Bernard's father after seeing the image of his mortally wounded son said he opposed its publication, saying it was disrespectful to his son's memory. John Bernard reiterated his viewpoint in a telephone call to the AP on Wednesday. ‘We understand Mr. Bernard's anguish. We believe this image is part of the history of this war.
The story and photos are in themselves a respectful treatment and recognition of sacrifice,’ said AP senior managing editor John Daniszewski.
“Thursday afternoon, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates called AP President Tom Curley asking that the news organization respect the wishes of Bernard's father and not publish the photo. Curley and AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll said they understood this was a painful issue for Bernard's family and that they were sure that factor was being considered by the editors deciding whether or not to publish the photo, just as it had been for the AP editors who decided to distribute it.”
The image was part of a package of stories and photos released for publication after midnight Friday. The project, called “AP Impact – Afghan – Death of a Marine,” carried a dateline of Dahaneh, Afghanistan, and was written by Alfred de Montesquiou and Julie Jacobson:
“The U.S. patrol had a tip that Taliban fighters were lying in ambush in a pomegranate grove, and a Marine trained his weapon on the trees. Seconds later, a salvo of gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades poured out, and a grenade hit Lance Cpl. Joshua ‘Bernie’ Bernard. The Marine was about to become the next fatality in the deadliest month of the deadliest year of the Afghan war.”
The news service also moved extensive journal entries AP photographer Julie Jacobson wrote while in Afghanistan. AP said in an advisory: “From the reporting of Alfred de Montesquiou, the photos and written journal kept by Julie Jacobson, and the TV images of cameraman Ken Teh, the AP has compiled ‘Death of a Marine,’ a 1,700 word narrative of the clash, offering vivid insights into how the battle was fought, and into Bernard's character and background. It also includes an interview with his father, an ex-Marine, who three weeks earlier had written letters complaining that the military's rules of engagement are exposing the troops in Afghanistan to undue risk.”
I would like to see Secretary Gates ban AP reporters from DOD news briefings, but I don't imagine that will happen.
It is sad to see someone trying to profit from another's death, especially one who made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom.
Disgusting, totally and utterly disgusting.
"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground."
- Thomas Jefferson
"I'm the arrow, you're my bow, shoot me forth and I will go"
"Do not let any individual posts put a knot in your Big Boy Under-Roos"
And it sold air time and made money for the network. Duh!
To avoid documenting and showing the reality of war in all its aspects is lying to the People, which goes against the fundamental purpose of a news organization.
But to publish a photo of such personal impact despite specific family wishes to the contrary just seems wrong to me. Though, IMO, showing a photo of a dead soldier is little different than showing a photo of someone dead at a car crash, or dead after a robbery gone bad.
Still, an upstanding news organization must balance the two goals.
My wife and I spent thousands on a journalism degree for our daughter. She has the degree, but she wants nothing to do with reporters or reporting.
She says that they are lazy, egotistical, immoral, self-serving, uninformed boors, interested only in advancing their careers in any way possible, immorally if necessary--or sometimes just for fun.
My wife and I fully support her decision.
NRA 2AF IDPA
Tactical Pistol Instructor
Condolences to the family and friends of Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard. As to the AP, just another instance of unprofessional journalism. If the family allows the photo to be printed, that's one thing. To print the photo against the families wishes in irresponsible. Hopefully they will receive enough flack over it, that they will think in the future, but I doubt it.
I'm conflicted about this, but in the end I can't find fault with the AP's actions.
"and suddenly I can not hold back my sword hand's anger"
I'd like to see LCpl Bernard's Father publish the very bloody, very painful last moment's of Thomas Curley, John Daniszewski, Alfred de Montesquiou and Julie Jacobson on the morning news.
"Words can be as lethal as bullets; Choose them carefully, Aim them well & Use them sparingly."
Disgusting. I feel sick. They are as bad or worse than the celeb-hounding paparrazi. At least the Hollywood set KNOWS they're getting into this situation and they're not doing anything of value. This patriotic soldier, this hero, died a horrible death for his country, died defending the rights of maggots like this to be able to publish anything they want, and they end up defiling his memory and causing anguish to his family.
Utterly despicable. Absolutely shameful.
I viewed the photo at MSNBC.com, and found nothing offensive about it. It wasn't even a close-up shot. The image did NOTHING to denigrate the dying marine, and in fact will make some people realize just how great Lance Corporal Bernard's sacrifice really was.
My sincere prayers and condolences go out to the deceased marine's family, but if they find the picture troubling, DON'T LOOK AT IT.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that I was sworn to uphold and defend, gives the Associated Press every right to publish the photo.
The First Amendment doesn't require the AP to kowtow to Defense Secretary Gate's opinion of what constitutes "judgment and common decency."
God Bless America and the U.S. Constitution!
"I've run across shooting after shooting where the defender shot a violent aggressor with a .380 and did little to immediately stop his depredations. A good hollow point load in 9mm or .38 Special will, historically, end lethal assaults more quickly."
~ Massad Ayoob
Many Americans become complacent with the war and whine more and more about it. Showing them these violent photos is an effective way to show them how dangerous it really is. Photos of war casualties were first allowed to be published in WWII when FDR thought the US Public was being complacent.
I do respect the wishes of the family, but am also glad to see honest reporting of the situation by the new media.
I can't fault them for reminding the American public that this is a serious business and real people's lives are at stake. They did it in a way that was accurate, respectful, and consistent with DOD policy.
Why I said that -- I feel like this young man did so much for his country and paid the ultimate price. To honor him and his sacrifice, a more fitting image would be him in full dress uniform, in the prime of his life (he was young, correct?) not cut down like that and in the throes of death. I just feel like it should be a celebration of his strength and life, not a morbid picture of his death. Personally, I think that dishonors him. But that's just my non-Military, humble housewife opinion. YMMV.
I'm also upset that the family asked that they not run this, and they did anyhow. For what, the almighty dollar? To make a buck off the sensationalism? It seems mean to me.
No one's denying the horrors of war. I just feel like in this case, it was so painful for the family, too, it doesn't seem right that they ran it after the family asked them not to. But I see everyone's points here, they're all valid. We may just have to agree to disagree, some of us.