Greetings! You are reading an article from The Mudville Gazette. To reach the front page, with all the latest news and views, click the logo above or "main" below. Thanks for stopping by!
September 4, 2009
AP is 'truly appalling' - UPDATEDBy Mrs Greyhawk
AP Photographer, Julie Jacobson (photo of her) shows no moral decency.
A photo of 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, was distributed by the Associated Press.
Ms Jacobson wanted people to see the 'realities' of war. She not only photographs his death she describes explicitly how he was injured and his last moments for his parents and family to read
Jacobson, in a journal she kept, recalled Bernard's ordeal as she lay in the dirt while Marines tried to save their comrade with bullets overhead.
The Portland Press Herald adds this Editor's Note to the story above:
Although the Associated Press chose to distribute a photo of Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Bernard taken shortly after he was mortally wounded, we believe that running the photo would be in poor taste and have chosen not to run it.
There's the form we signed agreeing to how and what we would cover while embedded. It says we can photograph casualties from a respectable distance and in such a way that the person is not identifiable."
The AP and Ms. Jacobson published his picture and assigned Lance Cpl. Bernard's name to the picture. Ms. Jacobson admits that she broke the rules but felt that it needed to be done.
Update: MSNBC publishes the rules for publishing photos agreed to by media embedded with the military:
"The rule regarding coverage of "wounded, injured, and ill personnel" states that the "governing concerns" are "patient welfare, patient privacy and next of kin/family considerations."
Now, how about the 'realities' of Joshua's parents?
A military mother of an injured soldier emails: "No parent should ever be subjected to the cruelty of the photo, that may not have been her intent, but that (to me) was the effect. Isn't it bad enough that this young man is dead? Wasn't it enough that those parents had to answer the door?" Apparently not, Ms Jacobson, ignoring the wishes of the family, seems to think they need to know the gory details and have photo evidence.
Update: The only place to hear John Bernard speak his mind on the matter is here
This is a preview of the full interview; my discussion with John Bernard can be heard in its entirety at 3 p.m. on Monday, during the Prime Time Quad Cities program (89.3 FM, Moody Radio for the Quad Cities, WDLM). It will be posted here on The Bloviating Hammerhead at 4 p.m, and it will be the topic of my Tuesday column in the Monmouth Review-Altas.
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."
Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) echoed the sentiments of Defense Secretary Robert Gates who wrote a letter to AP President Thomas Curley saying "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."
"Outrageously irresponsible," is how the leader of the nation's largest veterans organization characterized the Associated Press's decision to release a photo of a dying U.S. Marine taken in Afghanistan.
The milblog community responds:
The AP stated that despite the objections, it went ahead and ran the photo because it "conveys the grimness of war and the sacrifice of young men and women fighting it." I confess that I haven't looked at the photo, and don't want to. But if that was the AP's purpose, what was so urgent that it couldn't wait a few weeks or months, until the family had had a chance to mourn? I mean, these wars aren't going away.
Updated: The Huffington Post, thinks it's shameful for U.S. media outlets to refuse to carry graphic images of the "true cost of our wars", so !WARNING! they have the imaged super-sized for you all.
Here's some comments found there:
And there are many commenters there that are horrified for the families as well.
Contact the Associated Press:
UPDATE: Stars & Stripes responds
"A tough but correct call on photo of dying Marine"
Shame on the AP for purposely adding to the grieving family's pain. Ignoring the family's wishes by publishing a sacred image of their loved one proved a despicable and heartless act by the AP. The family said they didn't want the photo published. AP, you did it anyway, and you know it was an evil thing to do.
Posted by Mrs Greyhawk / September 4, 2009 12:59 PM | Permalink
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
The Mudville Gazette is the on-line voice of an American warrior and his wife who stands by him. They prefer to see peaceful change render force of arms unnecessary. Until that day they stand fast with those who struggle for freedom, strike for reason, and pray for a better tomorrow.
Furthermore, I will occasionally use satire or parody herein. The bottom line: it's my house.
I like having visitors to my house. I hope you are entertained. I fight for your right to free speech, and am thrilled when you exercise said rights here. Comments and e-mails are welcome, but all such communication is to be assumed to be 1)the original work of any who initiate said communication and 2)the property of the Mudville Gazette, with free use granted thereto for publication in electronic or written form. If you do NOT wish to have your message posted, write "CONFIDENTIAL" in the subject line of your email.
Original content copyright © 2003 - 2011 by Greyhawk. Fair, not-for-profit use of said material by others is encouraged, as long as acknowledgement and credit is given, to include the url of the original source post. Other arrangements can be made as needed.
Contact: greyhawk at mudvillegazette dot com