Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Journalism Raw

(this was originally posted to The Writing Mother mailing list)

There's a lot of contention over these pictures: whether they should have been taken, whether they should have been published. They are NOT for the faint of heart. The worst of the pictures are on the second page.

Zoriah's Pictures of a Suicide Bombing in Anbar Province, Iraq

I'm on the fence about this. Is a picture of a dead marine with his brains hanging out (yes, the pics are graphic) disrespectful? Or it is an unsanitized view of exactly what we're asking of our young volunteer military (I'm a milspouse of some 14 years)? Are we demanding the sanitizing of war to the detriment of accepting responsibility for actions perpetrated in our name?

And key in this consideration is the fact that this particular event is not something the US did. This is the indiscriminate violence and hatred we're fighting against. These suicide bombers didn't just kill our Marines, they killed bunches of innocents, old men and children. yet the idea of using images like this to stir up support for what the US is doing in Iraq is unthinkable and awful.

What do you think? Whether you are for or against the war aside, do you think these pictures should have been published? Including or excluding the ones of the mangled Marines? Is this something the American people should be made to see? What are our responsibilities as journalists?

Hard questions.

Are there any good answers?


ali said...

I really have no words.

Part of me thinks that the truth (whether with words or pictures) should be made available. I know I wouldn't want my children to see those photos because I think it is my job to protect them from the horrors of the world until they are an age where they need to know. I also feel for the families of each person in those photograph, and selfishly would not want photos of my loved ones blowing across the internet or on the news. That said, sometimes I think we all need a dose of reality to cure our ignorance and inaction.

Serenity Now! said...

No matter what the answer is, if you can say "yes, pictures of my son should be shown" or "no, pictures of my son should not be shown" then I think it's the right answer for you and your family.

I think the problem here is that the families do not get to choose whether or not their children are shown blown to bits.