Sep 4, 2009
An Open Letter to AP President Thomas Curley
To: Thomas Curley – AP President
Kathleen Carroll – AP Executive Editor
Re: photos of LCPL Joshua Bernard
Mr Curley – Ms Carroll:
Have you no shame?
By your cavalier actions in publishing the photos of LCPL Joshua Bernard as he lay dying, you have not only jeopardized the work of legitimate combat journalists, but you have lowered the reputation of journalistic integrity to that of those paparazzi begging for a picture of Brittany or Lindsays' beaver.
While in theory you are protecting the public’s “right to know”, in practicality you took a young man “in extremis” and used these unauthorized photos for your own commercial interests. Worse, after calling his father for permission to use these photos – which you admit he denied you – you used them regardless of his wishes.
This is not responsible journalism; this a reality journalism not even worthy of the supermarket tabloids.
LCPL Bernard was not-is not a “public figure”. He was a young Marine doing his best in a wartime situation, doing his country’s bidding, to the best of his ability. And in doing this he was killed.
For this, his life should be celebrated, yet your pathetic commercial use of these photos have cast a pall on his life. There must come a point when most see a line between being a “journalist” and being a “human being”, yet unfortunately you are unaware of these differences.
Your publishing these photos does nothing to add to whatever view of the war you are trying to portray, yet adds more grief to the Bernard family. Quite possibly there will be other fatalities whose families will give you permission to photograph their son’s broken body – perhaps you can interview Cindy Sheehan.
Should you have the misfortune of having a spouse or a child lying dying in the street, with luck a photographer will arrive and document your loved one’s demise – and then as they cry “the public needs to know”, I hope they shove the photos up your ass.
Very truly yours,