I received this email this morning:
Subject: JOBS JOBS jobs
Photographer needed in Kuwait
Must agree to censorship rules
Photographer Tami Silicio, working for an airline contractor in Kuwait, lost her job for giving a photo of caskets containing the remains of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq
I haven’t been commenting on this issue because I don’t really have strong feelings one way or another. I would almost certainly favor coverage of coffins if I trusted the media to do so in an even-handed, non-biased way. I don’t, so I’m not all that opposed to the current policies.
And for those that will argue that the media isn’t biased against Bush or the invasion of Iraq, watch the photos. How many pictures do we see of celebrating, defiant insurgents? How many pictures of tired, or demoralized-looking, or injured Americans? Then, how many pictures of demoralized or injured insurgents? How many pictures of Marines in high spirits or being greeted in a friendly way by Iraqi citizens?
That’s why I don’t trust the media with pictures of coffins. Not because I suspect that they might try to skew the image of what’s happening. Because they already are.
Being someone duty-bound to share my opinion, here’s my response to the message:
You can debate whether the censorship of the pictures is right or not, but the fact is that she broke the rules as they exist at this time. And this isn’t some draconian Bush/Cheney suppression of freedoms, either. These rules have existed for many years.
Journalists and others covering the military have very harsh, very clear rules about what can and cannot be done. I can even be fired from my job for publishing pictures of manufacturing technologies where I work. Someone at Coca-Cola could be fired for revealing the “secret” formula. Anyone anywhere will be fired and probably prosecuted by the SEC for sharing inside stock tips. It’s all a form of censorship, and none of it is unusual in the slightest way.
(Plus did you see that many of the pictures of Iraqi war dead are actually pictures of the COLUMBIA astronauts. Gee, maybe all those reporters aren’t as clever as they think they are…)
“Must agree to censorship rules”? She DID agree to censorship rules. She broke them. She’s fired.
Don’t just toss this out there as if it’s some sort of proof of wrong-doing or cover-up. That’s irresponsible.
Also, here’s a post from last October on showing coffins at Dover AFB. The comments section includes quite a bit of the debate.