AP- photo of Mortally Wounded Marine Shows Reality of War

#1
This story is picking up steam in US--raises issues about accuracy of reporting balanced against respect for families of KIAs


In this photo taken Friday Aug. 14, 2009, U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard of Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, patrols on point through the bazaar in the village of Dahaneh in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. Less than an hour later Bernard's squad was ambushed by Taliban fighters waiting in a pomegranate grove. Bernard was hit with a rocket propelled grenade and later died of his wounds. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
12:36 a.m. ET, 9/4/09



In this photo taken Friday, Aug. 14, Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard is tended to by fellow U.S. Marines after being hit by a rocket propelled grenade during a firefight against the Taliban in the village of Dahaneh in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. Bernard was transported by helicopter to Camp Leatherneck where he later died of his wounds.

Associated Press says photo of Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard shows realities of war

Associated Press
Posted: Sep 04, 2009 12:01 AM
In this photo taken Friday, Aug. 14, Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard is tended to by fellow U.S. Marines after being hit by a rocket propelled grenade during a firefight against the Taliban in the village of Dahaneh in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. Bernard was transported by helicopter to Camp Leatherneck where he later died of his wounds.
In this photo taken Friday, Aug. 14, Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard is tended to by fellow U.S. Marines after being hit by a rocket propelled grenade during a firefight against the Taliban in the village of Dahaneh in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. Bernard was transported by helicopter to Camp Leatherneck where he later died of his wounds.


NEW YORK — The Associated Press is distributing a photo of a Marine fatally wounded in battle, choosing after a period of reflection to make public an image that conveys the grimness of war and the sacrifice of young men and women fighting it.

Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Bernard, 21, of New Portland, Maine, was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade in a Taliban ambush Aug. 14 in Helmand province of southern Afghanistan.

The image shows fellow Marines helping Bernard after he suffered severe leg injuries. He was evacuated to a field hospital where he died on the operating table.

The picture was taken by Associated Press photographer Julie Jacobson, who accompanied Marines on the patrol and was in the midst of the ambush during which Bernard was wounded. She had photographed Bernard on patrol earlier, and subsequently covered the memorial service held by his fellow Marines after his death.

"AP journalists document world events every day. Afghanistan is no exception. We feel it is our journalistic duty to show the reality of the war there, however unpleasant and brutal that sometimes is," said Santiago Lyon, the director of photography for AP.

He said Bernard's death shows "his sacrifice for his country. Our story and photos report on him and his last hours respectfully and in accordance with military regulations surrounding journalists embedded with U.S. forces."

Journalists embedded with U.S. forces in Afghanistan must sign a statement accepting a series of rules which among other things are designed to protect operational security and lives of the soldiers and Marines who are hosting them.

Critics also maintain some of the rules are aimed at sanitizing the war, minimizing the sacrifice and cruelty which were graphically depicted by images from the Civil War to Vietnam where such restrictions were not in place.

The rule regarding coverage of "wounded, injured, and ill personnel" states that the "governing concerns" are "patient welfare, patient privacy and next of kin/family considerations."

"Casualties may be covered by embedded media as long as the service member's identity and unit identification is protected from disclosure until OASD-PA has officially released the name. Photography from a respectful distance or from angles at which a casualty cannot be identified is permissible; however, no recording of ramp ceremonies or remains transfers is permitted."

Images of U.S. soldiers fallen in combat have been rare in Iraq and Afghanistan, partly because it is unusual for journalists to witness them and partly because military guidelines have barred the showing of photographs until after families have been notified.

Jacobson, who was crouching under fire, took the picture from a distance with a long lens and did not interfere with Marines trying to assist Bernard.

The AP waited until after Bernard's burial in Madison, Maine, on Aug. 24 to distribute its story and the pictures. An AP reporter met with his parents, allowing them to see the images.

Bernard's father after seeing the image of his mortally wounded son said he opposed its publication, saying it was disrespectful to his son's memory. John Bernard reiterated his viewpoint in a telephone call to the AP on Wednesday.

"We understand Mr. Bernard's anguish. We believe this image is part of the history of this war. The story and photos are in themselves a respectful treatment and recognition of sacrifice," said AP senior managing editor John Daniszewski.

Jacobson, in a journal she kept, recalled Bernard's ordeal as she lay in the dirt while Marines tried to save their comrade with bullets overhead.

"The other guys kept telling him 'Bernard, you're doing fine, you're doing fine. You're gonna make it. Stay with me Bernard!'" As one Marine cradled Bernard's head, fellow Marines rushed forward with a stretcher.

Later, when she learned he had died, Jacobson thought about the pictures she had taken.

"To ignore a moment like that simply ... would have been wrong. I was recording his impending death, just as I had recorded his life moments before walking the point in the bazaar," she said. "Death is a part of life and most certainly a part of war. Isn't that why we're here? To document for now and for history the events of this war?"

Later, she showed members of his squadron all the images taken that day and the Marines flipped through them on her computer one by one.

"They did stop when they came to that moment," she said. "But none of them complained or grew angry about it. They understood that it was what it was. They understand, despite that he was their friend, it was the reality of things."
http://www.tampabay.com/incoming/article1033549.ece
 
#2
AP were bang out of order by firstly showing the NOK the image and then publishing against their wishes. They have merely added to their anguish.

They bring shame on themselves.

Sympathy to the family.
 
#3
Well that hit home quite hard. Not sure how I feel about it being published against his fathers wishes though. It was certainly sensitive, right and proper to wait until after his funeral, perhaps they could have waited a bit longer. OTOH, it is a story that should be told.

R.I.P. Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard.
 
#4
StickyEnd said:
Well that hit home quite hard. Not sure how I feel about it being published against his fathers wishes though. It was certainly sensitive, right and proper to wait until after his funeral, perhaps they could have waited a bit longer. OTOH, it is a story that should be told.

R.I.P. Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard.
It is yet another of the conundrums the UK and US face in all this.
 
#5
The family's wishes should have outweighed any "concerns" the AP had about "accuracy in reporting" I should have thought. We already know that war is bad and people get killed. AP has only added to the grief this family is feeling. Bastards.

My condolences go to the family of L/Cpl Bernard.
 
#6
I don't know about anyone else, and before I continue RIP and condolences, but Im sure I wouldn't want my picture published like that if the worst had happened to me. Nor would my Father either.

Respect the dead.

I'd much prefer my family and friends, and indeed everyone else, to see a happy smiling picture to remember me by.
 
#7
The NOK's wishes should be paramount. Simple. It is not a conundrum, they have already sacrificed a loved one, are they to be made to suffer further grief?

The Press need to remember who bought them their freedoms with their blood.

Respecting our war dead is not censorship.
 
#8
The_Coming_Man said:
The NOK's wishes should be paramount. Simple. It is not a conundrum, they have already sacrificed a loved one, are they to be made to suffer further grief?

The Press need to remember who bought them their freedoms with their blood.

Respecting our war dead is not censorship.
The NOK's wishes are paramount and I dare say that someone will eventually get a massive pay out for this one.
 
#9
The_Coming_Man said:
The NOK's wishes should be paramount. Simple. It is not a conundrum, they have already sacrificed a loved one, are they to be made to suffer further grief?

The Press need to remember who bought them their freedoms with their blood.

Respecting our war dead is not censorship.
Point made-I didn't intend to suggest other than to point out the debate.
 
#10
jumpinjarhead said:
The_Coming_Man said:
The NOK's wishes should be paramount. Simple. It is not a conundrum, they have already sacrificed a loved one, are they to be made to suffer further grief?

The Press need to remember who bought them their freedoms with their blood.

Respecting our war dead is not censorship.
Point made-I didn't intend to suggest other than to point out the debate.
I was criticising the fact that there IS a debate, not your post old boy.

Some things are just non negotiable, the dignity of our war dead being one of them.
 
#11
The_Coming_Man said:
Some things are just non negotiable, the dignity of our war dead being one of them.
We are in agreement!
 
#12
Here, here, AP should have respected the wishes of the family. I think there is no other POV on this.
 
#13
Clark Hoyt's piece from The New York Times on the publishing of similar in the NY Times in February 2007...

But before war photographs pass into history, they are news and records of events that are still raw for everyone involved — soldiers, families and journalists. The experiences of The Times in recent years with searing pictures of injury and, in one case, imminent death, suggest how emotional, complicated and unpredictable the issues can be.

In January 2007, Robert Nickelsberg, an independent photographer working for The Times, and Damien Cave, a Times correspondent, were embedded with an Army company helping an Iraqi unit search for weapons in a dangerous Baghdad neighborhood. Suddenly, there were shouts that a man was down: the sergeant whom Nickelsberg and Cave had been chatting with minutes before had been shot in the head. Nickelsberg said he and Cave helped evacuate Hector Leija of Raymondville, Tex., and Nickelsberg followed the stretcher downstairs to an armored vehicle, taking pictures the whole time. Leija died that morning.

The Times waited four days, until Leija’s family had been notified of his death, and then published a photograph of him on the stretcher, with another soldier’s hand covering the wound. The newspaper also posted a moving five-minute video, narrated by Cave, documenting the grief and frustration of Leija’s fellow soldiers and their determination not to leave until, at great peril, they had recovered all his equipment.

Michele McNally, the assistant managing editor in charge of photography, said The Times was trying to both tell the story and be sensitive. But friends said Leija’s family was upset by the coverage, and the Army reacted with outrage, although Nickelsberg said that no one in Leija’s squad tried to prevent him from taking the pictures and soldiers later thanked him and Cave for sticking with them through a tough day. After the photo and video were published, Cave said, the military told him and Nickelsberg that they — and The Times — would be banned from embedding with the military. After lengthy discussions, the ban was lifted.
 
#14
Not only is it disgraceful to disrespect the wishes of the family, it is equally disrespectful of what probably would have been the wishes of the soldier.

Whilst my injuries were not caused in war and [thankfully] proved not to be fatal I would have been utterly devasted had a picture of me with my leg blown off and my other leg in tatters appeared in the press. In fact one of the most stressful parts of the day was arriving at a hospital a couple of hours later to find press photographers blocking off the entrance in an attempt to get the money shot of the injured Brit. I was fortunate in that I had friends there who quickly [and violently] 'removed' them.

Shameful to publish such a photo, a picture of a smiling, proud young man would have been far more emotive rather than an image aimed at ghouls.
 
#16
It is important to remember that much of US policy in this area is in response to an incident during the Grenada invasion. At that time Time Magazine rushed to press with a picture of a fallen officer, a pilot IIRC on the front of the magazine. The magazine got to the newstands before the notification team could get to the family and the family found out they had lost their son/brother seeing Time while in a checkout line at a store.

The media need to sell papers and ads but respect for the fallen and the wishes of the family should be an absolute priority.

I would feel the same way of the casualty in question was British Canadian Polish or whatever. Its not "your soldier" or "my soldiers" they are all "OUR soldiers"

R.I.P. LCpl Bernard
 
#18
Father didn't want it to be published, AP shouldn't have fcuking published it. End of matter.

By all means, keep it in a box somewhere for use a few more years down the line, with NOK best wishes.... but there is such a thing as "too soon".

I take it some journo cnut smells an award?
 
#19
RIP good marine :( rest of post deleted due to stupidity
 
#20
Sorry PT, I don't find that a very valid argument.
 

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