May 5, 2011
Money Talks, Common Decency Walks: The Osama bin Laden "Photo Op"
President Obama has reportedly decided that the White House would not publish official photos of the US assault that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden. According to this report, "after they shot and killed the al-Qaida leader. Administration officials discussed whether to release the images, but the president ultimately decided he did not want to make available graphic photos that could become a propaganda tool."
Propaganda Tool, My Ass. There is an international convention which prohibits the publication of such photos. Unlike the former occupant of the Oral Office who might have Flickr-ed every damn official and unofficial photo of the scene that White House could grab its propaganda-churning hands on (anyone besides me thinking at least one such image would have been Photoshop-ed with an arrow pointing to a briefcase that was captioned "See, WMD!"), at least the current administration has compiled with this international norm of nation-state behavior.
Of course, that hasn't stopped the folks whose corporate logo is the orange shower drain from publishing photos. According to Reuters' own story, Photos from the Bin Laden Compound:
The photos, taken by a Pakistani security official who entered the compound after the early morning raid on Monday, show two men dressed in traditional Pakistani garb and one in a t-shirt, with blood streaming from their ears, noses and mouths.
The official, who wished to remain anonymous, sold the pictures to Reuters.
Money Talks for Reuters. No one in the Reuters photos looks like bin Laden, probably because his lifeless body exited stage right before the Pakistani security official was allowed on the scene. But quoting from Reuters in Reuters Defends Decision To Publish Bin Laden Compound Photos;
"As this is a story of global importance, Reuters chose to share these photographs with its media clients and allow them to make editorial decisions on how they were used," a spokesperson said.
And Common Decency Walks. Do I have any problems with the death of bin Laden even if some reports indicate that he was unarmed at the time are true. Hell no. I certainly have no problems with the Obama Administration's decision to not release official photos even if it decided not to mention it was doing so to comply with international conventions.
In my little county law library, patrons were speculating about how long it would be before WikiLeaks disclosed photos. Well, Reuters beat WikiLeaks to the punch because it "chose to share these photographs with its media clients." Big surprise, Thomson Reuters has not progressed beyond the journalism norm that pandered to the crowd like the image, right.
If you are more interested in real journalism in the 21st century instead of commercialized pandering to prurient interests demonstrated by Reuters ("trusted news resources from Thomson Reuters"?) you might want to check out The Death of Osama Bin Laden on Global Voices.
Oh Well, What the Hell. According to this NPR report even the Dalai Lama "hinted" that Bin Laden's killing was justified. While being a sinner who will burn in hell if Catholic dogma is "accurate," I still prefer the official Vatican statement reported by the National Catholic Register:
Faced with the death of a man, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibility of everyone before God and man, and hopes and pledges that every event is not an opportunity for a further growth of hatred, but of peace.
Johnny Depp hoped that playing Dillinger would leave him with the same rumor/legacy.
Posted by: Geronimo's skull | May 7, 2011 1:59:46 PM