For years, the Associated Press was one of the mainstays of journalism, a source for unbiased reporting of the events of the day. Period. The decision of AP to run the image of a Marine as he died in Afghanistan, and the statement explaining why they chose to run the image, shows the Associated Press has abandoned impartiality, and joined the ranks of biased news organizations such as CNN and Foxnews. I will no longer rely upon the AP as a source of factual information.
This post X posted at Left Face
The recent decision by the Associated Press to publish a specific picture of a young wounded Marine, who later died of these wounds in the hospital, has galvanized the military community in a way I haven't seen in a very long time. The family of Lance Corporal Bernard specifically requested, in an interview, and phone call, that this image NOT be published. This is the stand taken by Secretary of Defense Gates in the recent Dover decision, if the family says no, that means NO. SecDef Gates also requested that it not be published, when contacted by the family.
“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 Walter Reed."
“I cannot imagine the pain and suffering Lance Corporal Bernard’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.”
The Associated Press, in an appalling lack of respect for the family, lack of respect for the military community, showing a complete disregard for common decency, decided to publish it anyway. They claimed they needed it because
We feel it is our journalistic duty to show the reality of the war there, however unpleasant and brutal that sometimes is
The Huffington Post has seen fit to post this image also - and I for one am horrified that they would do this. (and no, I won't link to it, that image does NOT need to be here) There are thousands and thousands of other images, that don't zero in on one particular man, that can show us all what is happening in Afghanistan. To publish this is a slap in the face to the Bernard Family, and to the rest of the families of the military, amongst whom I am proud to stand.
This will now put into further question the entire embed program. The Secretary said it well, the press has been seen as the enemy by many in this military community, the AP and Huffington Post just solidified that opinion. How stupidly shortsighted this decision was. How hurtful.
To Lance Corporal Bernard's family and friends, please accept my condolences on your loss and may I apologize to you for the anguish inflicted on you by the AP and others that published this photograph.