Sunday, November 30, 2008

Lest We Forget: On NOT Picturing the War in Iraq

This month's Vanity Fair has an informative article by Seth Mnookin on the New York Times bureau in Iraq. The Times is one of the few news outlets with a substantial presence to report the war (CBS news, for instance, has no full-time correspondent in Iraq), at a substantial cost. I found Mnookin's observation about photography to be particularly interesting and unsettling:
In the past several years, the military has used its ability to refuse to accept reporters on embeds as a way of controlling what images come out of Iraq. One example of this occurred over the summer, when a credentialed photographer who posted pictures of dead American soldiers on his Web site was told he could no longer work in areas of the country controlled by U.S. Marines, even though his work had not violated any of the coalition forces’ official rules for media members. A recent Times story found that, five years into a war that has resulted in more than 4,000 American combat fatalities, fewer than a half-dozen graphic images of dead American military personnel have been published.