The Associated Press did something absolutely heinous today, but before that a photographer did something absolutely heinous. Without either one of them, the fiasco of today would never have happened. Today the AP decided to publish a photograph showing a mortally wounded Marine struggling for his life on the battlefield.
they claim high-minded purpose.
NEW YORK — The Associated Press is distributing a photo of a Marine fatally wounded in battle, choosing after a period of reflection to make public an image that conveys the grimness of war and the sacrifice of young men and women fighting it.
It’s about money, folks. Pure and simple. The same thing for Julie Jacobson, the photographer who was embedded with the Marines the day that LCpl Bernard was mortally wounded. Let’s see how she justifies this:
Later, when she learned he had died, Jacobson thought about the pictures she had taken.
“To ignore a moment like that simply … would have been wrong. I was recording his impending death, just as I had recorded his life moments before walking the point in the bazaar,” she said. “Death is a part of life and most certainly a part of war. Isn’t that why we’re here? To document for now and for history the events of this war?”
She thought of the pictures she had taken and “$” came to mind immediately. “Jackpot!” her mind screamed instantly. She got paid for that picture, and she will continue to get paid for it for some time, especially after the furor that erupts. What would have been wrong for her was to set aside her money and an imagined chance for a Pulitzer. Such selfishness and what a ridiculous attempt to couch it in ethical terms. Personally, she better hope that she never, ever runs into me or the most lightly she will come off from it will be ringing eardrums. Those poor Marines who saw her pictures later had no idea that she would be part of dishonoring LCpl Bernard’s father’s wishes, against DoD policy.
The young Marine’s father had asked not once, but twice, for the picture of his mortally wounded son not to be whored out for money. But his pleas fell on the deaf ears of whores who heard only the ringing of registers and saw the sparkle of money. In the information age the press is hurting for money, and this was a jackpot.
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.
I’m going to state right now and unequivocally that I do not want for any pictures of me published that show me in any condition other than upright and breathing normally. All else is punishable by whatever violence I can visit upon you in whatever condition I am in. I want to write the most vile curses I can at this moment in my anger for a man who justifies going against the wishes of the family. I want that man fired, and I want for him to never work in his chosen field ever again. I want that photographer fired, and I want every individual who was in the chain all the way up to Daniszewski fired as well. There is one simple rule; your wishes mean nothing compared to the wishes of the family. Period. They make the sacrifices, not you. Their sacrifices and how they wish them to be dealt with are theirs, and not yours to make whatever statement (along with your money and a name for yourself) you care to claim to be making. I curse all you who were involved with this and I am your sworn enemy for life. I will never forget you and it will never be safe for any of you to be within range of me.
There is also complicit shame for the newspapers and other outlets that were the Johns in this case, paying a little to get the thrill of providing “news.” Bullshit, bullshit and triple bullshit. It’s really hard to convey how pissed off at journalists I am right now.
This week a journalist was overlooked in a briefing that contained some slides marked “secret.” Immediately following the briefing it was realized that not only had she been present, but had taken careful notes. She was asked not to publish any of the information… but that was worth money to her, so she fought tooth and nail over it. What she saw was not a revelation, but to her, it was a scoop. The red letters at the bottom of the slide meant not responsibility to her, but dollars and reputation. It didn’t matter one whit to her about the security of her country, Afghanistan or any other NATO or Coalition country. Not a bit. She wanted to make a name for herself and make some money. Had she been concerned for security, there would have been no question whatsoever… but that wasn’t her attitude. It was all about her, not about anyone else’s needs.
So it’s not just one lousy self-justifying photographer and one grubbing AP manager. No, this is bigger than them. If 95% of journalists in Afghanistan got their hands on the plans for a war-winning operation, it would be in the New York Times the very next morning.
You see, this war is all about them. It’s not about the truth. It’s not about considerations for decency or ethics or honest reporting. Most of them don’t even know what they’re looking at. Most of them don’t care. They look at it through their ignorant eyes and report as if they were children explaining a physics experiment. They don’t know what right looks like, and so everything’s a mess even if it isn’t.
God help your family if they get a shot of you in extremis. God help your father or mother, your wife, brother or sister if they want to protect your dignity and the privacy of your family, because the press itself is just that damned important, and so is their precious money. I don’t care who did it; every single journalist is now dogshit in my book. Every one. I wasn’t too fond of the media whores this morning when I got up, but now I hate every one of the bastards.
Keep the hell away from me. There are only two in this whole country that I want within a mile of me, and neither one of them would dare to take my picture if I was that messed up. They have respect and decency. Make that three. CJ Chivers would probably not do it. The two I know who would not are Scott Kesterson and Michael Yon. The rest, including and especially Julie Jacobson can go straight to Hell. If I was injured and that bitch tried to take my picture, if I had the strength I’d shoot her before I died. We could both explain our actions seconds later to the Almighty.
Profiting from the death of another human being at the expense of that man’s dignity and against the wishes of his own family… hmmmm.
I think I’d soon be on my way to Fiddler’s Green, but she’d be on her way to Hell; and so I’ll end this post with a wish to her and her boss for Godspeed on their way there.