September 4, 2009

Tom Curley: Today's Slime Mold on the Surface of the MSM Pond

Tom Curley: Head Muppet of the Associated Press

[UPDATE: Jules Crittenden today has an informed and balanced view on the entire issue at Jules Crittenden サ Professional Issues. I recommend it. ]

It was there only for a brief moment on Wikipedia before the editing gestapo got it, but the truth endures, for now, in the cache:Tom Curley - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


Curley, an executive battening off the rotting hulk of the Associated Press, had ignored common decency and a direct appeal from Defense Secretary Robert Gates to refrain from publishing photographs of a dying United States Marine. Gates said,

“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.”
Decency? For the chancre ridden media scum that infest our nation,

decency is something they have never, ever heard of. Their lack of decency is something vermin like Tom Curley and all those who cash checks from the vile operation known as the "Associated Press" confirm with every day of their miserable existence.

Curley, it would seem, has appointed himself and his company, Associated Press, as truth czars in the war against war. Last February, this boil on the backside of humanity, declared that the news industry must immediately negotiate a new set of rules for covering war because "we are the only force out there to keep the government in check and to hold it accountable."

Ah, the neutral observer mask slips again. The question today is who will hold the AP in check and make it accountable? In light of Curley's action "Appalling" seems to be too slight a word. "Sorry," wouldn't cut it either. Indeed, nothing seems to be sufficient.

You see, in the world of the Curry's there are never any consequences. Even should he lose his job, even should the AP continue to crater, there will not be any "real" consequences for this kind of scum. At the very least, he'd swan on to a position at someplace like "The Aspen Institute" ("Dedicated to fostering enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue through seminars, policy programs.") where he'd continue to ooze his excrement into our society.

My friends all note that I have a distinct tendency towards bloody-mindedness when the normal level of daily outrage has been exceeded as it has today by Mr. Curley. It's not really bloody-mindedness, but only a nudge from my soul about justice denied. It's only shadow of a literary memory that, when I read about corporate media scum like Curley, causes me to remember this passage from Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities"

The Gorgon had surveyed the building again in the night, and had added the one stone face wanting; the stone face for which it had waited through about two hundred years.

It lay back on the pillow of Monsieur the Marquis. It was like a fine mask, suddenly startled, made angry, and petrified. Driven home into the heart of the stone figure attached to it, was a knife. Round its hilt was a frill of paper, on which was scrawled:

"Drive him fast to his tomb. This, from Jacques."

Not to worry, it's only fiction, not the news according to the Associated Press. That Wikipedia edit was quickly erased and Tom Curley went back to being a stub. I'm sure that's where he'll stay.

Posted by Vanderleun at September 4, 2009 1:39 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Just sent...

Dear Pond Scum,

Yes, I'm sure you can fool yourselves with b s about portraying war as it REAlly IS.

[As of no one knows what it really is.]

The giveaway is your publishing the photo after his father asked you not to.

This makes you a bunch of arrogant cowardly soulless self-serving pricks.

Let's see what you are made of. Walk up to the Marine's father and give him your b s reasons.

Hoping you all get jaw cancer (so you can see what it really is),


PS. Tell the Head Prick--Tom "Chicken Neck Pinch Face" Curley--that I hope a Marine platoon returns the favor

Posted by: Lance de Boyle at September 4, 2009 3:47 PM

This young Marine was from New Portland, Maine, which is miles away from the liberals in Portland Maine both geographically and ideologically.
Thankfully the Portland liberal Blethen fishwrap made like a broken clock or a blind squirrel and opted not to run the photo.

His poor parents. What demon posesses a human being that would cause them to be so cavalier in dealing with a parent who just lost their son?
Splaying his death throes all over the pages of newspapers - for every rubbernecking fool to see.

Tom Curley will have to answer to God someday(hopefully after a good pounding by a Marine, but they don't beat up old men)- I sure wouldn't want to be him.

Posted by: teresa at September 4, 2009 5:47 PM

The Left is at war with the USA and citizens that want to preserve the USA. The AP will no more be shamed into good behavior than a felon will worry about his permanent record in elementary school.

Not only is the AP prick deliberately insulting America, the Marine's family, and people that value these, but the craven pricks that continue to work for AP after this is been done are serving the beast. Do you think the AP employees won't hear of this event? Do you think they have no opinion on this event? They will show up for work, on time, and continue to "just follow orders."

Winning arguments with liberals with airtight logic won't change anything. They will redefine any word or concept to negate any obvious truth using their sources and their past statements. What they said yesterday doesn't apply today because, well because they say it doesn't.

Posted by: Scott M at September 5, 2009 12:16 AM

The Marines in combat ought to stop taking any AP employee with them. Local commanders should disobey higher orders if necessary to freeze out AP in all aspects. Let the AP employees see what life in a war zone without the Marine Corp means.

Any AP employee attempting to follow the Marines should have their gear destroyed and turned over to Iraqi officials, or zip tied to a stationary object until their boss can make arrangements.

The Left is the enemy and we gain nothing by patting ourselves on the back for how much we can ignore.

Posted by: Scott M at September 5, 2009 12:27 AM

All of the above comments are good, but why not try the Muslim method to get respect? Just kill, and threaten to kill anyone who makes fun of you, (or merely points out the defects in your platform).

The AP never does shit that bothers Muslims. In fact, AP is quite willing to print anything a Muslim says, no matter how idiotic or barbarous.

So lets all use Muslim tactics when dealing with bad press. That seems to be the lesson the AP is teaching here.

Posted by: Jack at September 5, 2009 3:40 AM

Vile, repugnant and depraved. Actually, the English language fails me these days in accurately describing the sick, traitorous acts of so many against the U.S., its citizens and most importantly its military and their families. Acts committed so often by the MEDIA.

I hope there is a special place in hell for Curley as well as that awful, horrendous female photographer.

Posted by: Peg C. at September 5, 2009 5:28 AM

There is truly a special place in Hell reserved for Curley, the whole of the AP and the POS "president" who is ruining this country that they were instrumental in getting elected. Remember if the Dear Leader gets his way, your services will no longer be required - takes no thought, education, training or desire to expose the truth to be a tape recorder/player.

To the parents of Lance Corporal Bernard - my prayers are for you - may God grant you peace.

Posted by: Dragon Lady at September 5, 2009 5:40 AM

They really are pukes at AP aren't they? I thought the gushing "She's the new Jackie Kennedy" crap oozing from open boils that pass for female AP fashion writers was the limit in 1950's Romanian-style propaganda a' la Ceausescu, but the self-congratulating effacement of Tom Curley shows the motile biotic slime of the left can draw itself together to vomit up ANY rationalization for anything. No doubt they could do the same for long lines of boxcars.

Posted by: Inchoate at September 5, 2009 5:52 AM


Posted by: What I Think at September 5, 2009 7:03 AM

"...hopefully after a good pounding by a Marine, but they don't beat up old men..."

Teresa, I have no such scruples. I would gladly wipe up the sidewalk with that waste of oxygen.

Posted by: Bill at September 5, 2009 7:16 AM

as many have pointed out AP does not publish the Mohammed cartoons.

Posted by: JimMtnViewCa at September 5, 2009 7:19 AM

The AP is just making a business decision, so back off! By appearing to oppose the US government and, especially, the US military, the AP is building an international reputation that will help protect it's employees in all those third world countries where AP pretend to be reporters while collecting confidential material on behalf of other governments. There is no better cover for a spy than "reporter." The two girls captured by the North Koreans, the folks captured by the Iranians and the dozens of other held in third world jails and claiming to be "reporters," when they are, in fact, spies are a little safer because of Curley's decision. And, isn't that what it's all about, keeping the media safe and sound?

Posted by: NCBob at September 5, 2009 7:31 AM

The fact that the AP defied the request from Gates bothers me less than the fact that the family had specifically requested that they not run the photo, and more vehemently voiced their opposition to a fact-checker once told of the decision to go to press. There is always tension between what the government doesn't want shown and what the press believes is newsworthy and freedom of the press gives them the right to determine it(although right now I don't trust the AP to determine this appropriately), but what kind of human being would put the family through that pain?

Posted by: Formerly known as Skeptic at September 5, 2009 7:52 AM


I was mistaken in referring to Curley as a man. He is clearly a demon.

As such, no quarter should be given him. He is inhuman.

Posted by: teresa at September 5, 2009 8:07 AM

What pile of human garbage. I pray that as the rest of the mainstream media thrashes in their death throws, the AP sinks forever. I can think of no group of people that so greatly deserves to be unemployed as these human liver flukes.

Posted by: The Ronin Edge at September 5, 2009 9:07 AM

Why should a dying Marine be treated differently from other Afghan and Palestinian civilians who have their death throe photos plastered all over the Internet? Are our citizens more sacred? They shouldn't be if you believe in the basic equality of human beings. Should the access provided by one Marine's family mean that they should control the images of war just because the dying person is a family member? Another, fair, option is to ban all depictions of dying persons without having permissions from all living relatives, but then we have an inoperable scenario, where no depictions of war are possible, and of course the freedom of the press ends. H.L. Mencken once said, "But the whole thing, after all, may be put very simply. I believe that it is better to tell the truth than to lie. I believe that it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe that it is better to know than be ignorant."

Posted by: JR at September 5, 2009 9:08 AM

I don't understand, this was a marine not a reporter. Surely the families of marines understand that by having a family member who enlists they give up all privacy. privacy and respecting that privacy are for the little people like reporters from the NYTs (cough, Rhode, cough) and politicians (cough, Edwards, cough), people who have chosen to thrust themselves into the public eye and thus deserve privacy.

Posted by: at September 5, 2009 10:25 AM

JR asks, "Why should a dying Marine be treated differently from other Afghan and Palestinian civilians who have their death throe photos plastered all over the Internet?"


1. Telling the truth does not mean that you say everything can can possibly BE said. It means not lying.

2. The family asked the AP DIRECTLY. In addition to the virtue of truth telling, there are the virtues of respect for the grieving and honesty (i.e., not pretending that you are merely revealing what war is when in fact you are using the Marine's dying as propaganda).

Why not go to the graveside and take pictures of the coffin, and of the weeping family?

The Marine's father would be justified in stomping Curley and other ghouls at AP to the consistency of greasy pudding.

Posted by: Lance de Boyle at September 5, 2009 12:04 PM

"The Marines['] Local commanders should disobey higher orders ..."

That is an insult to the Marines that they would disobey orders because of the scums. That also gives too much weight to the scums.

If you've read embedded bloggers, such as Michael Totten, you would know the Marines would defend the embedded with their lives. However, if I were an AP reporter, I would certainly wonder: what will happen when the next mortar flying my way?

Posted by: ic at September 5, 2009 12:04 PM

Dear Mr. Vanderleun: I differ with you, and your commenters on this one. First, the photograph isn't so widely distributed as reading this post and the comments might make you think. I had to do quite a bit of digging to find it at the St. Petersburg TIMES here Your commenters mostly do not say if they have seen the photo. When I saw it, I was appalled. It is grim. I don't think it fair to say that it shows a human at the point of death, though. If you had the photo and nothing more, I think all you could say was that LCpl Bernard was seriously wounded.

I can understand the family's revulsion, and desire for AP not to publish. They are certainly entitled to ask AP not to, as is Secretary Gates. Publishing is going to cause the family pain, no question. But what is a news organization in business for if not to publish. Your first commenter Lance de Boyle rejects this view, viz:

"Yes, I'm sure you can fool yourselves with b s about portraying war as it REAlly IS.

[As of no one knows what it really is.]

The giveaway is your publishing the photo after his father asked you not to."

Trouble is, that argument implies that one photograph of war is enough for all time. No. People forget. I think a great many Americans do NOT understand what the conflict in Afghanistan is about. I wonder if the likely-pseudonymous Boyle would apply the same logic to publishing photos of the deaths that occurred on September 11. We are on the eve of the 8th anniversary of that horrific date. Should the press not publish photos of the horror of that day? Everyone knows what September 11 was like, no need to dwell on it...No. That day must not be forgotten. The causes of September 11 still exist, even while this nation wallows in idiotic "health care" debates. The current mastermind at 1600 Pennsylvania is already prone to forgetting about September 11, so he can get on with creating his Utopia, formerly known as the United States.

The anger that's erupted from this publication is remarkable. Some samples:

Peg C.: "I hope there is a special place in hell for Curley as well as that awful, horrendous female photographer."

What is a combat photographer to do in the world of Peg C?

Teresa: "Splaying his death throes all over the pages of newspapers - for every rubbernecking fool to see."

As I've said, the image is not nearly so widely distributed as this discussion might lead you to think.

Bill: "Teresa, I have no such scruples. I would gladly wipe up the sidewalk with that waste of oxygen."

Bill is a profile in courage. Semi-anonymous, he stands ready to "wipe up the sidewalk" in full view of everyone, just so long as he doesn't have to account for his behavior. This is what the Daily Kossacks are known for. That Bill wants to imitate them shows how wretchedly low the average has become.

RoninEdge: "What pile of human garbage. I pray that as the rest of the mainstream media thrashes in their death throws, the AP sinks forever. I can think of no group of people that so greatly deserves to be unemployed as these human liver flukes."

Give credit for some inventiveness: "Liver flukes." Once the press sinks forever (and this IS likely to happen) how will Ronin get the news?

Teresa, again: "I was mistaken in referring to Curley as a man. He is clearly a demon.

As such, no quarter should be given him. He is inhuman."

The applications for inquisitor are right next to the flaming torches and the howling mob. Please fill it out in demon blood.

Only two comments strike me as thoughtful:

Jim in Mountain View California: "as many have pointed out AP does not publish the Mohammed cartoons."

JR, wisely quoting Mencken: "H.L. Mencken once said, "But the whole thing, after all, may be put very simply. I believe that it is better to tell the truth than to lie. I believe that it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe that it is better to know than be ignorant."

Jim is on to something. The real cause for anger at the AP and the press in general is the liberal bigotry that runs it. Jim is right: the press has seldom published the notorious Mohammed cartoons, and has been notably reluctant to publish the "wrong" September 11 images. The notorious Susan Roesgen is the poster swine for this attitude. That attitude, characteristic of the fraud and suppression that characterize today's journalism, is well worth anger.

But even the wrong reasoning can produce the right decision. I'll stipulate that Thomas Curley's decision to publish drank deep of liberal bigotry, and had more than a little bad faith involved. I also stipulate that LCpl Bernard's family are going to pay a steep price for this decision. Granting that, deciding to publish was the right thing to do. A news organization is in business to inform, not suppress. This nation has pushed Afghanistan to a back burner. Worse, we have a Prez who is prone to pushing it while he tries to ram his imbecilities down our throats. Finally, I think the AP photographer acted with courage, thought through what she had to do (in consultation with the Marines she was embedded with), and acted wisely in submitting the photograph.

The awful economic climate is blurring the focus of this conflict in Afghansitan, and the larger fight against Islamism. The picture, like the pictures of the falling people on 9/11 and those trapped in the Trade Towers before they collapsed, is a necessary short, sharp shock for all Americans. Its publication will cause pain. It will also do good. The link I've just given may horrify you, but I urge you to read it, and all the comments. As of this posting, all the comments are respectful, though often marred by smart aleck signature lines.

The AP made the right decision in this case. The Bernard family's protest is worthy of great respect, but it is wrong.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

Posted by: Gregory Koster at September 5, 2009 12:11 PM

Thank you for your thoughtful response.

Posted by: vanderleun at September 5, 2009 12:56 PM

Why should a Marine be treated differently than Palestinians, etc? Because he's our Marine. If a foreign national had made the decision to use that photograph, this is a different issue. An American editor chose to use a photograph of a dying American soldier, against the express wishes of his family, after the fact of his death, in order to make a political point against an American policy.

Posted by: Chris at September 5, 2009 1:56 PM

The decision to publish Lance Cpl. Bernard's photo was not made in the spirit of wanting to show the truth by AP.
It was made to ramp up their numbers. "If it bleeds, it leads".
You are entirely too generous in your sentiments toward that organization.

They made the wrong decision for several reasons:

The family members of the dead Marine asked them not to publish the photos - that request should be respected - by a human being.

Sec Def Gates begged them not to. On its face I would say this would not be enough of a reason, but I believe he was doing it at least partially on behalf of the family of said Marine.

Has AP been as forward about putting out the amazing acts of heroism and bravery by our defenders as it has hawking every supposed atrocity comitted by them?
I think you know the answer to that one.
That organization is full of liberals who hope that our struggle against Islamic terrorists ends badly.
They are my enemies. They have an agenda. Their agenda means death to people like me. I want them to lose.

As far as my reference to Curley as a demon - a person who allows himself to be influenced by evil to such a degree that he would ignore the pleas of these parents - his countrymen, what human being would do such a thing?

He ignored basic human decency to advance an agenda that means death to me and mine (and yours and theirs, BTW).
He clothed it in "truth". Liars tend to do that.
Perhaps demon was not the right term, it evokes a capering redskinned fellow with a forked tail.
Satanic would probably be a better one, but that term has lost some of its heft, what with a wiccan on every block these days,
Satan has become mainstream.
People like you - thoughtful, well educated, reasonable people have fooled themselves into thinking that Satan doesn't exist.
That "civilized, intelligent people" shouldn't believe all that medieval stuff.

That's the biggest trick of all.

Posted by: teresa at September 5, 2009 2:35 PM

Here are a couple links exploring whether AP violated the terms of it's embed agreement, among the other things it violated.

Posted by: teresa at September 5, 2009 6:21 PM

G. Koster,

Does your assertion--

"The picture, like the pictures of the falling people on 9/11 and those trapped in the Trade Towers before they collapsed, is a necessary short, sharp shock for all Americans."--

still stand if a family member asked the AP not to publish the picture of their father diving out of the Towers?

Posted by: Lance de Boyle at September 5, 2009 9:34 PM

Dear Lance de Boyle: Let me answer your specific question first: If I was head of the AP and a family asked me not to publish a "falling man" or trapped man picture from the Towers, or a "dead man" picture from the Pentagon, I would consider their request, face to face if I could, and publish. If they cursed me, and denounced me as a callous accomplice to evil exploiting human tragedy, I could only accept their wrath, while remaining firm to publish.

Moe generally: when would I not publish following a request by a family or subject? There are times when I could see doing that. For example, if there was a photo of Ted Kennedy picking his nose, I doubt if I would publish it. Such a picture wouldn't have any relevance to any public issue that I can imagine (now watch one of sharp crowd here at American Digest come up with a public issue that nose picking would touch and press me on this stand!) The troubel is, "public issue" and judging relevance are notoriously vague. I must ruefully acknowledge the Potter Stewart principle: "I know it when I see it," he said about pornography. So to, me on when I would publish.

I readily acknowledge the evident liberal bigotry when you compare publishing the "falling man" 9/11 photos to LCpl Bernard's death photos. But my solution would be to publish the "falling man" photos next Friday, not to suppress LCpl Bernard's photos. Again, I want to stress that publishing has a price, and it is much too often that the innocent pay this price, the Bernard family in this case. But I think the price is worth paying. However easy it is for me to say this (I've never been in a position where I've had to "pay"), it is still the right principle to follow.

Dear Teresa: many thanks for providing the links to Malkin and Jules Crittenden. Both are worth reading, Crittenden's perhaps more so because He's had more experience as a working reporter (as opposed to columnist) especially in a war zone. JC thinks that the AP violated its embedding agreement, but he also thinks the photographer was right to shoot. JC also acknowledges that there's not much the government can do about it. I am not so sure if JC is right, because I have the impression that the AP made no big secret that it was going to publish it. They did show some sensitivity by waiting until after Bernard's funeral.

Have you read Julie Jacobson's (the photographer's) field journal? It's here. It does seem to show a conventionally liberal viewpoint. But at the same time, she's quite right that the photo was newsworthy.

This brings us to our disagreement. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think you believe that publishing the photo will inspire the anti-American war protesters here and abroad. I think you are right; it WILL encourage them. But I think it will bring a bit of truth home to Americans. Speaking only for myself, looking at the picture of Bernard wounded and dying enrages me, and makes me want to get on with winning. My great fear is illustrated by this picture from 2006-07. The attitude behind the caption in this picture explains George Will's turnabout. He's bored with the war and wants to "move on." After nearly eight years, it's no wonder this attitude has roots. I think shocks such as this photo will do more to wake this nation up than The One's efforts to put Afghanistan on the back burner.

You challenge me to compare AP's record of reporting American successes to the loving reporting of failure. Affirmed as stated: the AP has long been invested in failure, disgracing itself. But the test is not what AP's intentions are; it is what their successes have been. It has been a close run thing, but we have dodged failure in Iraq and have a good bet to win eventually. Afghanistan is far more formidable a task. Yet AP's record has diminished in Afghanistan, just as the Left in general has lost interest in armed conflicts once Geo. W. was replaced by The One. Who paid any attention to Cindy Sheehan's recent siege of Martha's Vineyard? To my mind the greater danger is American complacency and weariness. That the country is consumed by "health care"(a pumped up secondary issue if ever there was one) at this time of peril proves (to me at least) that complacency and weariness are rising. Even this danger is dwarfed by the Iranian menace. Iran proves to me that The One's vaunted intelligence is nothing more than cunning. We are paying a dreadful price for educating his vanity, sloth, and witlessness.

Evil. I believe in evil. I saw it on September 11. I saw it in the release on the Lockerbie bomber. I see it in the death of any American soldier, sailor, or aviator. Joshua Bernard died in fear, terror, and pain, not knowing if the cause he was fighting for would prevail. It is this uncertainty that moves me to disregard the human price the Bernard family is and will be , paying and publish this photograph. Let us remember how Winston Churchill, a great man, began the "Moral of the Work" of his Second World War memoirs:

In War: Resolution

Yes. That is what is needed to defeat the evil we face. Joshua Bernard is only the latest death in this struggle. His parents held their newborn son and thought he was a damned fine baby, the best in the world. They watched him grow and took pride in what he did. Now he's gone, snuffed out as quickly as a candle flame in a rainstorm. That's a hideous price for anyone to pay. Publishing this photograph only compounds their loss and pain.

Even so. "In War: Resolution." The road is long and the journey daunting. Even so. "In War: Resolution." Fools, useful idiots, and fifth columnists will mock and torment those who are fighting, not believing in anything beyond their own hollowness. Even so. "In War: Resolution." Free men and free women dare nothing less than victory.

I'm obliged to both of you for taking the time to read all this. Also this blog's proprietor, who is doubtless muttering, "There goes the bandwidth bill again."

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

Posted by: Gregory Koster at September 6, 2009 12:14 AM

Not at all. Glad to have you.

Posted by: vanderleun at September 6, 2009 12:29 AM

My point was that I do not trust the intent of AP.
I know that they do not take into account the best interests of the U.S.
In time of war, that is extremely important. So, I disagree with your assertion that their intent is not the issue.
Their intent by running this photo was to dispirit the supporters of our struggle against Islamic terrorists.
To make us lose. To make more of us die.
Do you have children?
They believe that your children deserve to die because America is an imperialist power.
By advancing the agenda that they espouse, they'll make it happen.
Someday soon, after whatever are left of our allies are spurned in the dust and blood we leave behind when we vacate a war before we win it(like the South Vietnamese), our reputation in the world will be completely tarnished as an honorable ally.
At what point do brave men just quit stepping up to volunteer to spill their blood for nothing?

Certainly in war is resolution. This war and the one in Iraq needed to be fought and won, and not to free the people there either.
Those people will never truly be free while under the yoke of Islam. We needed to fight and win these wars because they killed our own and we don't want them doing it anymore.
We want the price for action against us to be so high that they never want to risk our vengeance again.

AP does not support my aim or the aim of those I love. They did a wrong and awful thing by making those pictures available. They did it to dispirit us in a time of war. Their intent means everything.

Posted by: teresa at September 6, 2009 9:43 AM

I'm sorry, Greg, but no matter how eloquently couched your argument is, you are wrong in this instance.

A photograph of a dying Marine is not newsworthy in and of itself. Marines are dying every day. This is a fact. We hear about it every day from the same media that published this photograph.

The "sensitivity" displayed by the AP in waiting until after the funeral is insincere. When you are specifically asked by the family, and the Secretary of Defense, not to publish a specific photograph, you are callous at best if you publish it, when you undoubtedly have numerous photographs at your disposal which do not have these distinct criteria attached to them.

Make note that no one has really criticized the photographer for taking the picture. He had every right to photograph anything or anyone he wanted. He chose to photograph a severely wounded Marine, who subsequently died shortly afterward. An embedded photographer surely would have known of this Marine's death. Yet the photograph was sent along. Decisions were made at every step of the process to portray an individual in the throes of death. Discretion was available at each of these steps to stop the publishing process. Michael Yon, who has been photographing and reporting on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for many years, will not take photographs of wounded or dead soldiers. That is an editorial decision he has made. The AP photographer made a different one, and that is fine, as far as it goes.

The real problem with the AP's editorial decision-making comes when they fail to honor the family's request that this photograph not be published. The AP, specifically Mr. Curley, will not entertain the idea of discretion in this case. This, to me, is the crux of many problems in this country today. We have come to believe that if we can do something, we will do something. Very few people seem to stop and think if the action in question is worth doing. We have lost the capability of discretion, of weighing a contemplated action before the fact, of assessing the moral costs against the perceived benefits. This is where the AP, and by extension, Greg Koster fail. They believe that their sensibilities trump those of the family, plain and simple. In fact, I would not be surprised that it is the very opposition to their decision that galvanizes it.

Posted by: at September 7, 2009 4:51 AM

Dear Anonymous: You might be right that I am wrong. But there are some facets werhe you are wrong, unambiguously:

1. You persistently call the AP photographer "he." No. She is Julie Jacobsen. I linked to her field notes in my second response. Do read them. I think this may change your perception of her attitude somewhat.

2. You assert that "no one has really criticized the photographer for taking the picture." Here is Peg C.'s semi-anonymous response earlier in this comment thread:

"I hope there is a special place in hell for Curley as well as that awful, horrendous female photographer.

Posted by: Peg C. at September 5, 2009 5:28 AM"

Peg's anger has taken control of her. I doubt if she has read Jacobsen's field notes, nor would it likely matter if she had.
3. The crux of your argument is that the family's wishes should trump everything. As I've said, the family's wishes are weighty, not to be tossed aside lightly. I hope my two previous comments show that I do not take them lightly. But disregard them I do, and still stick topublishing. Many disagree with me, as this thread has shown. Sarah Palin disagrees, which dismays me. I also acknowledge that AP's previous actions have often been in bad faith, and it is likely that this decision was in bad faith as well. But whatever the reasoning that drove it, it was the right one. The conflict in Afghanistan is for high stakes, stakes that many seem to have forgotten. I think there is great danger of the stakes being thrown away by our current Prez, who cares far more for the likes of Van Jones than for the Bernard family. A trumpet needs to be sounded so Americans know that there is a struggle going on, a struggle that will determines the lives of all Americans long after LCpl Bernard's death. As I've said, I could be wrong. But one point that makes me think not is that no one has effectively addressed this point: if family requests trump all, should any photos of the dead of September 11 be published at all? There, I think, AP and the press in general, have been more than willing to cooperate. It is hard to look at the pictures of the dead or dying of that day, and not feel anger toward the villains who did this. Can't have this, no; it might help Bush, or detract from The One who stands above us like God.

The other reason I object to your decision to suppress is that it is far too easily adaptable. Consider the odious Van Jones, who signed a Truther petition saying September 11 was an inside job. This action is the opposite of LCpl Bernard's duty, a duty that took him to his death. Yet the press never noted it, and even now, whitewashes these contemptible views. Your reasoning would fit this diecision perfectly: we don't want to cause his family pain, so we won't mention his views. I don't believe for an instant that this is the case. The press is muting the Van Jones affair, because mentioning it would hurt The One, who stands above us like God! in the odious Evan Thomas's phrase. But your reasoning would facilitate it. It is the opposite philosophy that a news organization should believe. But it has been adopted by the press in far too many cases today.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

Posted by: Gregory Koster at September 7, 2009 8:52 PM