Week 14: ‘Moment of Death in War’

If I was in charge of the Associated Press, then I also would have published the photo of Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Bernard.

Whether directly or indirectly, the U.S. is involved in dozens of armed conflicts around the world — we just do not know about most of them. However, the conflicts that are widely known throughout the country, such as the Syrian civil war or ongoing U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, were introduced to Americans in graphic detail through reporting across print, television and radio. Considering this, I think it was both necessary and impactful for the photos of Bernard to be published; like Julie Jacobson said, “It’s necessary to be uncomfortable from time to time.” This, according to the textbook, is something that Bernard’s fellow marines understood. Without the reporters currently in the field, I truly do not think average citizens would be able to comprehend the information and images coming out of war zones.

It was interesting to read about the reaction Bernard’s fellow Marines had to Jacobson’s photo versus that of the public. But it is no surprise that the public would be upset over these photos, especially given that 78 percent of Americans have “a great deal or quite a lot of confidence” in the military, according to a 2017 Gallup poll (Newport, 2017). At the same time, 22 percent of respondents indicated that they have confidence in the military based on their positive feelings towards those who serve, saying that military members are, among other things, “brave,” “selfless” and “committed” people (Newport, 2017). No matter your perception of the U.S. military, the men and women who serve are undoubtedly held in high regard. However, it is important to remember that they are still human beings who are placed in fatal situations around the world. And if reporters like Jacobson cannot tell their real, unsterilized stories, then Americans will never get a true idea of what armed service members go through on a daily basis and how military conflicts around the world affect real people.

2 thoughts on “Week 14: ‘Moment of Death in War’”

  1. Sam, I mentioned this in a couple other responses, but you mention how the public would be upset because of the high regard and respect they give soldiers. I asked other students to consider the Vietnam War and how soldiers were treated when they returned home. Do you think publishing similar front page photos back then would have helped with the public perception or further harmed it?

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  2. I disagree with you and believe that they shouldn’t have posted the photo. While I agree that this sort of journalism creates an opportunity to bring certain issues and foreign affairs to light. I find it hard to believe that there weren’t other pictures that could have been used that weren’t as controversial. At the same time, I know that even if another photo had been used, people still would have found something to take issue with.

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