Thursday, April 19, 2012

Responsible Journalism Or Just Another Way To Sell Papers?

A couple of days ago the Los Angeles Times printed several photographs of U.S. soldiers posing in Afghanistan with body parts of dead terrorists. Apparently they thought this was the right thing to do. Why though, I’m not quite sure.

Journalism, real journalism, should report the news honestly, fairly and accurately. However, there are some things that could and should be handled in a way that benefits all concerned rather than used to sell newspapers or internet hits. The Times thought, and rightly so, that these pictures were despicable and this behavior was not only unbecoming of U.S. soldiers but also twisted and sick. They thought something should be done about it. They also know, from past experience with the Quran burning incident and the Abu Ghraib photos, that American soldiers (who had absolutely nothing to do with the shameful behavior) get killed as a result of photos like these being published to the world.

The L.A. Times chose to put the lives of all our military members in increased jeopardy to sell newspapers. They could easily have sent copies of the pictures to the Pentagon with a message that said “You need to do something about this and let us know what you did or we will go public with this information.” I suppose it’s possible they did that and the Pentagon refused to take action but I highly doubt it.

And yes - America has the right to know about things like this however, this was an incident involving a few soldiers, not a widespread, sick conspiracy involving the entire Army.

The Times has basically said to our military members serving in Afghanistan and Iraq “We don’t care about you and your safety. We’re going to sell papers.” It’s shameful.

The L.A. Times apparently has abandoned responsible journalism for sensationalism at the risk of anyone who they choose to put out there. Of course, they are a rather liberal newspaper and therein may lie the problem.

Any soldiers killed in the next few weeks in retaliation for the photographs lie directly on the heads of the L.A. Times CEO and editors. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen. But we all know it will.

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