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Gates to AP: Take that photo down!

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by WaylonJennings, Sep 4, 2009.

  1. And here's a brilliant take on it from the reader comments on E&P:

    i wonder if instead of dead soldiers, the media published photos of every aborted baby if the left would still celebrate it.

    Posted by: max | September 04, 2009 at 12:42 PM
  2. partain

    partain Member

    Why? The story you linked to clearly says Gates "asked" for the photo to be taken down. There's no mention of anything else, at least in this article. No mention of orders to take it down. No mention of legal threats. No mention of "if you run this, your photographers are on their own," etc.
  3. You're right. I phrased that post wrong. Gates didn't do anything legally actionable. I just think it's in poor taste for a cabinet member to try to bully news organizations regarding content decisions while working in his official capacity. It's against the spirit of the First Amendment, I think.
  4. partain

    partain Member

    Cabinet member or not, he's got a right to his opinion -- says the First Amendment.
  5. He has a right to his opinion, of course. Just like I have a right to think that, in the interest of maintaining conditions favorable to a free press, he should stay out of content decisions. Not because he violated the law, but because it is the right thing to do.

    What it probably comes down to is that I don't have an issue with photos of dead or dying soldiers. I think they perform an important service, actually. So that's coloring my thoughts on this.
  6. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    In your rush to criticize Gates, you're forgetting what I think is the most critical part of this:

    There's a time for journalism considerations and there's a time for humanity. The Marine's father asking the AP not to publish the photo is a time for humanity.

    Sorry, but you're way off base on this issue.
  7. BB Bobcat

    BB Bobcat Active Member

    I don't think the AP can pull every photo that a family doesn't like. They are there to tell a story. This tells a story.

    It's not like this kid's family is going to be any less upset over his death if there's no photo.
  8. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Bobcat, I'm sure the family would appreciate if you'd call and let them know what should and shouldn't matter in their grieving. That'd be a big help to them. Personally, I believe I would be much less upset if my dead son's picture weren't being beamed around the world. Maybe I'm just a sissy that way.

    There's a discussion to be had here about the news merits of the photo. But your leap to judge how the family should or would feel is a spot-on example of the arrogance that people abhor -- and rightfully so -- in journalists.
  9. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    I think people know the war in Afghanistan isn't going well. We know that families are losing their sons, their daughters, their brothers, their sisters, their mothers, their fathers, etc. We know the situation over there is gruesome.

    The AP did not need to run this photo to tell us that. We all know it's a grim fucking picture over there.

    Sorry, but I don't support the AP's decision to run the photo given the circumstances.
  10. War is hell. Those of you who approve of any form of censorship aren't journalists -- you're p*ss**s. The truth shall set you free.
  11. EagleMorph

    EagleMorph Member

    War is indeed hell, but it's also an opportunity to be more humane than the situation dictates. Considering how horrendous war is at the bottom level, we should take every opportunity to rise above those horrors rather than add to it.

    The fact that Gates had to request the photo to be removed is unfortunate. It never should have arrived at that point, as the AP should have honored the family's initial request.

    The AP cannot - and should not - take every such request into consideration, but when it comes to this situation, they should honor the family's request. Perhaps the photo could be put to better journalistic use at a later date.
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