Pat Arnow

From Self-Censorship to Official Censorship
  This photo of mortally wounded Sgt. Hector Leija, taken by Robert Nickelsberg, was pulled from the New York Times website after being called “offensive” and contrary to new censorship regulations by a U.S. military official. A letter in February to the New York Times (2/3/07) from the commander of the Multinational Corps in Iraq revealed new censorship regulations prohibiting portrayals of U.S. casualties in the media. The tightened rules have been in effect since May 2006, but no media outlet with embedded photographers reported on or objected to the censorship of images. In his letter, Lt. Gen. Raymond...
In a week in June when 15 GIs were killed in Iraq (6/13-19/05), the war pictures in the New York Times (6/19/05, 6/20/05) featured dazed Iraqis after a suicide bombing, a Marine patrolling, the twisted remains of a vehicle, wounded children, a civilian casualty in a morgue. No photographs featured American casualties—a typical absence in U.S. coverage of the war. There are notable exceptions. One of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize photos for breaking news photographs awarded to the Associated Press showed a controversial image of the charred bodies of American contractors hanging from a bridge in Fallujah. Most of the other 20 photos in the portfolio on the Pulitzer website are more typical of Iraq War photography, with graphic images of death, grief, humiliation—only when these things involve Iraqis. There is the shooting of an Iraqi election worker, a wounded Iraqi, grieving Iraqis, two pictures of dead Iraqi children, two of Iraqi prisoners. Images of American loss are generally much less graphic. Two photos show American Marines paying respects to dead but unseen comrades. One picture of a wounded GI is unusual because it shows his bloody arm. Pictures of American casualties usually appear after wounds have been cleaned up and agony is no longer visible. Picturing Vietnam and Iraq The images of war that appear today offer a marked contrast to the pictures of the dead and wounded...

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