Just because you can does not mean you should.
Such is the case with the Associated Press where they recently published the photo of a mortally wounded US Marine hero.
The AP published the photo despite the objections of the hero’s family and Defense Secretary Gates. This can only be described as soulless.
I understand and support the basic duty of the press to report the good, the bad and
ugly. I also understand the AP could have exercised judgment and responsibility by granting the painful wishes of the family of the dying Marine.
There was no need to show the picture. In fact, had the AP written in the story of the hero’s death that they declined to show the picture out of request for his family, the AP would have garnered respect among readers instead of well deserved scorn, suspicion and further distrust by the American people.
The AP is well aware that a picture is worth a thousand words. The question that should be asked is: what was the intent of publishing the picture?
Many Americans are so suspicious of the media that when they read a story or look at a picture in the newspaper or on the internet that they wonder what political agenda the media is pushing instead of considering such press as accurate reporting of facts or information. I am one of these Americans.
I don’t trust the media.
Before 2008 I didn’t trust them because they are biased, because they make things up and report them as “fact” and because too many of them behave as if America means nothing to them.
Last year, the enormous level of under-reporting of anything critical about candidate Obama was clear to anyone who opened a newspaper or turned on their television. And after the election, the same people are refusing to ask the president difficult questions on a wide range of topics.
If these people want my trust, they’re going to have to earn it all over again.
Our military members and their families deserve respect. The media needs the protection of the First Amendment, and anyone who wants to take it away from them is going to have to go through me. But they need to learn the difference between “freedom” and “license.”
They are free, as they should be, to publish what they wish. But they have a responsibility to our nation’s security — and those who lay down their lives for it — to do nothing to harm it or them.
Our military has done wonderful things in Iraq. In fact, we have won there. Schools are in session, power has been restored, clean water is flowing, roads and bridges repaired. Overall, America once again brought dramatic upgrade in quality of life to oppressed peoples. Too few stories and pictures have been published regarding this wonderful and heroic achievement.
Our military has gone out of its way, regularly putting our troops in harm’s way to limit civilian casualties. In fact, the Iraq war has had one of the lowest rates of civilian casualties in modern warfare. Too few stories and pictures of this were reported. Instead, we constantly heard and read in the media the drum beat of left wing nuts declaring that we were losing and had lost the war in Iraq. The surge worked thanks in no part to Senator Obama. Thanks for nothing, Mr. President.
I spent time with our military heroes in Iraq on a USO tour with country superstar Toby Keith. Everywhere we went we heard from four star generals to privates that they wanted to stay and finish the job. They told us the media was lying to the public back home and that in fact they were winning the war. Never in my life have I been more humbled and
proud of America as I was when I listened to these brave warriors, ate with them, trained side by side with them and held their hands while sitting to next to them in their hospital beds.
You may not like the war in either Iraq or Afghanistan. I respect your opinion. What I find despicable, however, is the lack of fair and accurate reporting by the media. What is more despicable is when the media grinds the wishes of a grieving family underfoot. That is the lowest of lows. The decision of the AP displayed a lack of basic humanity that is appalling and shocking. Their decision was soulless, purely anti-human. That’s not even liberal. It’s plain nasty.
Our military is not Republican or Democrat. The wonderful people who compose our armed forces are committed to protecting America. The decision of when to send them into harm’s way is not for them to debate, but rather implement.
When one of these brave warriors is struck down in combat, there is no need to publish a picture of them in their last moments of life. Doing so is tremendously callous, cold and disrespectful.
The press has an important job to do in a free society. It must wield its tremendous power with discretion, fairness and accuracy, lest it loses credibility with the very readers it claims to represent.
May God welcome Lance Corporal Joshua Bernard home and provide peace and
comfort to his grieving parents and loved ones.
And to the AP: please don’t come near me or my family. You’re unwelcome in my neighborhood.
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