The Associated Press decided to publish a picture of a wounded United States Marine in the final moments of his life over the requests and objections of his family and Defense Secretary Robert Gates:
Gates wrote to Thomas Curley, AP’s president and Walter Reed.”. “Out of respect for his family’s wishes, I ask you in the strongest of terms to reconsider your decision. I do not make this request lightly. In one of my first public statements as Secretary of Defense, I stated that the media should not be treated as the enemy, and made it a point to thank journalists for revealing problems that need to be fixed – as was the case with
“I cannot imagine the pain and sufferingBernard’s death has caused his family. Why your organization would purposefully defy the family’s wishes knowing full well that it will lead to yet more anguish is beyond me. 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. The issue here is not law, policy or constitutional right – but judgment and common decency.”
How did the Associated Press respond?
The AP reported in a story that it decided to make the image public anyway because it “conveys the grimness of war and the sacrifice of young men and women fighting it.”
That smells like bullshit to me. I submit that they are pulling a Cronkite on us, deliberately trying to undermine the effort just as newsman-turned-editorialist Walter Cronkite did in 1968. Given the constant reports and the knowledge that last month was the deadliest month of the conflict for American servicemen, their justification does not hold water. They are using images to manipulate public opinion.
Lance Corporal Joshua Bernard is an American hero and takes a place in American history with all of the brave men and women who have sacrificed their lives in the service of our country. That the Associated Press felt the need to publish that photo shows that the people who made that decision do not respect that sacrifice.