Friday, February 02, 2007

The New Times: Reporting or Exploiting

Army Staff Sgt. Hector Leija, 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team), Fort Lewis, Wash., was killed in Iraq on January 24, 2007.

The New York Times, who had a reporter and a photographer embedded with these soldiers, published images and video (on their website) of "Leija after he was struck in the head by a single bullet during a patrol. A photograph of him on a stretcher hours before he died, was printed in the New York Times on Monday. Video of Leija before and after he was shot was posted on paper's Web site later in the day. It was still available for viewing on the Times' Web site Wednesday night." (source)

These actions were in direct violation of an agreement that no wounded soldiers pictures be used without their permission.

"...The newspaper maintained Wednesday that it had done all it could to spare the family pain while living up to its obligation to portray the realities of war.

"The New York Times agreed to write a letter to Sgt. Leija's family explaining the process we go through to notify families and why we run the articles and photographs we do, and expressing regret that the family suffered distress," said a statement from the newspaper.

"The New York Times is extremely sensitive to the loss suffered by families when loved ones are killed in Iraq," said a statement. "We try to write with respect and compassion for the inevitable losses. We believe the article was a portrait of Sgt. Leija's courage under fire and showed how much his men respected and cared for him." (source)

I know this is obvious and a waste of typing, but it makes me so sick --this charade of the MSM and the anti-war protestors pushing the number or Soldiers and Marines that have died like they actually care. Like they think of them as people with families and friends and feelings and hopes and dreams. They use them and then if they speak their mind they spit on them and call them baby killers. I'm sure a few do care, but this just boils it down to what they really are to them...a story...a photo-op...a vehicle to prove their point...and a way to sell newspapers.

The only up-side is that "The New York Times Co. posted a $648 million loss for the fourth quarter on Wednesday" (source) and that their embed status is now in question.

They're so sorry about it that the video is still online. What do you think? Does the newsworthiness and impact of this story (and the Free Press) outweigh the family's rights and feelings?

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