Papers Still Deem Reality of War ‘in Poor Taste’

Editor & Publisher‘s Joe Strupp (9/4/09) has an update on U.S. papers’ “mixed reaction to the controversial Associated Press photo distributed today of a Marine who died in combat in Afghanistan last month.”

The picture’s inclusion in “a group of images taken by AP photographer Julie Jacobson” predictably was “blasted” by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, whose censure came via “a formal letter of complaint.”

Strupp reports that

the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times ran the photo on its website with an AP story about the images, while the Commercial Appeal in Memphis provided an online photo gallery of all of Jacobson’s images from the coverage. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin also carried the photo.

The Intelligencer in Wheeling, W.Va., also ran the image, with a lengthy editorial explaining why. It said, in part: “Not all news outlets will choose to publish the picture, distributed by the Associated Press. We feel we owe it to our readers to explain why we have decided to use the image.”

While the Intelligencer also felt the need to declare themselves “entirely in support of the war against terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Strupp’s list of those entirely “withholding the shot of [Lance Cpl. Joshua] Bernard being fatally wounded” is long–including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Houston Chronicle, the Salt Lake Tribune, the Boston Herald, Stars and Stripes and the Portland (Maine) Press Herald, which further ingratiated itself with Robert Gates’ propaganda machine by condemning such evidence of the reality of war as “in poor taste.”

See FAIR’s magazine Extra!: “From Self-Censorship to Official Censorship: Ban on Images of Wounded GIs Raises No Media Objections” (3â┚¬“4/07) by Pat Arnow.