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Thread: Picturing the Fallen - Photojournalistic Ethics and the War

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    Picturing the Fallen - Photojournalistic Ethics and the War

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    I'm writing a paper for my Media Ethics class on a case study called Picturing the Fallen. It is about Tami Silicio, a Maytag aircraft employee who took a picture of the coffins of approximately 20 American flag-drapped coffins being loaded into a cargo plane at Kuwait International Airport in 2004. She sent the picture to a friend who sent it (with Silicio's consent) to the photo editor of the Seattle Times, Barry Fitzsimmons. The photo was published in the Sunday edition of the paper alongside a story about the care and respect that is taken in the handling of fallen American troops.

    As a result, Silicio and her husband (even though he wasn't directly involved)were fired by Maytag. This was reportedly a decision by the company with some input from the military, as a presidential ban was in place on photographs of military coffins since 1991 and the Gulf War.

    My question is this: would you find a photograph such as Silicio's offensive? (I don't want to post it here, in case there are those with strong feelings about it, but you can find it here: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig5/tam...io_coffins.gif) If so, why? The photograph does not show bodies or faces, and the Times and Silicio feel that because their intent was to send a message of care and respect and provide truth to the public, they provided an example of thoughtful, holistic journalism.

    How far should the First Amendment go in the public's "right to know" where the military and war dead are concerned?

    Don't hold back now...
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    I'm not offended by such a picture. I feel pride in my country and the men and women that fight every day when I see images like that. It's a reminder that there are sacrifices being made so that I can walk about my city freely, vote in elections, follow which ever religion I choose, and speak about whatever I would like.

    I've witnessed first hand the mistreatment of people within the borders of a foreign country that is not my own. People who are punished for their gender, for their religious beliefs, for their race. It still happens every day within the USA too... but the American Armed Forces protect us and our freedoms and I think images such as this are worthy of honor and respect.
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    While picture itself doesnt offend me, I can totally see where people would have a problem with it. I cant even imagine if one of them would have been my family and knowing that someone took an unauthorized pic of my loved ones coffin for "media gain". To me that would be like someone going to a civilian funeral and taking pics without permission of the family. People would have a hay day with a photographer/news agency if they did that. Why should it be allowed in this instance? Just because we are at war and they are service members? Nope I dont think so, IMO.
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    I do not find offense in such a picture. If anything it shows Americans what big sacrifices our service members are making for the freedom and safety of the whole country.

    I think so many Americans live in la la land and don't even think about the war anymore. I think a lot of people have forgotten that we're STILL in the middle east
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    While I do not find the picture offensive, it scares the hell out of me. I can't imagine how I'd feel if one of them was my family. But personally, I think those related to the fallen have the most important voice here and may God bless them all.
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    #6
    I honestly don't know how I feel about the photo ban. I understand from the families perspective of the fallen........ but that's about it.

    I think it's so easy to depersonalize war.... and to desensitize ourselves from it. Photos like these, for me at least, are a wake-up call and reminder that there are brave men and women fighting and dying every day in this war.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SAMSET View Post
    I think so many Americans live in la la land and don't even think about the war anymore. I think a lot of people have forgotten that we're STILL in the middle east
    I agree. My professor even asked us who follows the Iraq War and I was the only one to raise my hand.
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by SAMSET View Post
    I do not find offense in such a picture. If anything it shows Americans what big sacrifices our service members are making for the freedom and safety of the whole country.

    I think so many Americans live in la la land and don't even think about the war anymore. I think a lot of people have forgotten that we're STILL in the middle east

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    #9
    I guess for me, it depends on the accompanying article. It sounds like the original article that the picture was put with was in good taste, so I wouldn't object to this photo. Had the article been critical of soldiers or their families, I would definitely object.
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by SAMSET View Post
    I do not find offense in such a picture. If anything it shows Americans what big sacrifices our service members are making for the freedom and safety of the whole country.

    I think so many Americans live in la la land and don't even think about the war anymore. I think a lot of people have forgotten that we're STILL in the middle east
    I agree!
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