Today’s media column by David Carr in the New York Times is a must-read. On the occasion of Memorial Day, when we honor the sacrifices made by members of the military, he explores the various forces that are keeping the American public from seeing just how much sacrifice is being made in Iraq. Go here to read Carr’s piece.
As he points out, the number of journalists covering the war is going down, and those who remain have been “backed into fortified corners” because of violence, rarely seeing face-to-face what combat soldiers are doing.
He also notes that since last year the military has enforced new embedding rules that require photographers to obtain consent from wounded soldiers before images of them can be published. In effect, this means photographers must get soldiers to sign wavers before they are even injured–an absurd kind of Catch 22. Many photojournalists say the military has also used the rule to leverage “broader constraints on information.”
There is a need to respect the feelings of families of killed and injured soldiers. There is a greater need in any war to report the truth. Protecting that freedom–the freedom to know the truth and act on that knowledge–is what American soldiers have been doing for more than two centuries.