Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Media Can Now Cover Coffins Coming Home -- but What about the OTHER Missing War Photos?

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Media Can Now Cover Coffins Coming Home -- but What about the OTHER Missing War Photos?

Article excerpt

In no way do I downplay the new Pentagon order (pushed by President Obama) that allows the media to cover the remains of fallen service members coming home to the U.S., often at Dover, Del. In fact, I have pushed for this in my writing here for more than six years now. Families must approve and, amazingly, that indeed happened with the return of Sgt. Phillip Myers last night.

But we should not lose sight that the even bigger issue involves the other photos that have rarely or never appeared in the U.S. media -- graphic images of the real toll of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I've written about that from the start as well, even talked about it with Bill Moyers on TV while the invasion was still in progress in late March, 2003. The issue then was the uproar over a picture in USA Today that showed injured Iraqi soldiers. Readers demanded to know why the paper didn't run a more "positive" image. The same week the Dallas Morning News was hit by readers for showing dead Iraqi civilians. They charged this was an "antiwar" photo.

For whatever reason, the media in the U.S., in the weeks and then years after that rarely showed the full face of war, despite the brave and remarkable efforts, and wishes, of countless press photographers and cameramen. Bloody scenes, featuring Americans, almost never made the U.S. media, while being widely shown abroad, and on the Web. When they did appear, protests from the government or readers seemed to set the media off this path. …

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