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April 14, 2005

Snap Shots: But Who Shot the Messenger?

11photoCan you tell what’s happening in this Pulitzer Prize winning photo?  According to right wing bloggers, an Iraqi insurgent is shooting an Iraqi election worker with the aid of an AP photographer. 

One of the most prominent and disturbing right wing tactics since Bush came into office is the tendency to take issue with reality when an argument cannot be supported by facts.  In this case (Blogs Incensed Over Pulitzer Photo Award – link), these reactionary bloggers deduce that the photographer could only have been on the scene if he (or she) had been an insurgent sympathizer.  They also go on to charge that the publication of this photo was basically intended to aid the enemy.  Just for the record, I should say that the Associated Press vigorously rejects both assertions.

Apparently, this latest example of foot stomping is not an isolated case.  Lately, there has been an growing tendency for these radicals to attack photojournalism when they don’t like what they see.  Perhaps the solution would be for the government to just remove all independent journalists from Iraq (forget that the bulk of them are embedded), and replace them with White House public relations personnel.

(Larger image
here.)

(image: Stringer/AP – photographed December 19, 2004.  Referral: Enid)

  • death from above

    how do we know anything about this photo? sure its in iraq and people have guns but what else can you see to conform the said story, i dont see much else, so people please explain!

  • death from above

    how do we know anything about this photo? sure its in iraq and people have guns but what else can you see to conform the said story, i dont see much else, so people please explain!

  • Tilli (Mojave Desert)

    More photos from Haifa Street. It’s a major throughfare in Baghdad.
    Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, an Iraqi freelance photojournalist, took some photos Sept 12, 2004, which you also may have seen. They are grim. Pro-war conservatives argued that the photos were invalid representation of the war because the people who were killed shouldn’t have been there. I’ve attached a link to his story in The Guardian and to the photos at the stock-photo house, Getty.
    I’m putting this story here because it shows how a journalist can arrive to cover one story and end up covering another. In fact, they may even be killed. I don’t know what planet these conservative critics live on but it ain’t Planet Earth.
    Ghaith went to cover the aftermath of an attack on a US combat patrol in Baghdad. By the time he arrived the Americans had been evacuated a half an hour before, leaving a disabled vehicle behind. People from the neighborhood were hanging around, some cheering. Ghaith and 2 journalists from Al Jazeera set up to cover the story.
    An American helicopter arrived, swooped down and began strafing the vehicle. Bystanders were killed and wounded by machinegun fire from the helicopter . The Jazeera journalists were killed, Ghaith wounded.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,1303807,00.html
    http://editorial.gettyimages.com/source/search/FrameSet.aspx?s=ImagesAdvancedSearchState|2|0|30||0|0|0||1|||9%2f12%2f2004|9%2f12%2f2004|0|0|0|0|0|0|0||0|Ghaith+Abdul-Ahad|7|-1||0||0|0|0|0&p=0

  • Tilli (Mojave Desert)

    To “death from above”: The photo Bag has posted was taken a few days before the January 30 election. It shows the execution-style killing of two Iraqi election-workers who were pulled from their car in the middle of a traffic-jam on Haifa Street and shot dead. The AP has said the photographer was there to cover an earlier incident. The photographer heard shouting and the screeching of brakes and took photos from a distance using a long-lens on his camera. Many Conservative pundits and bloggers, who don’t seem to know anything about photography (or are being disingenuous), thought the photographer was closer to the scene than he was and said that the photographer must, therefore, have known in advance about the assassinations.
    Pro-war critics couldn’t discount the content of these horrific photos and what they show, so they decided to slander the photographer. Blaming the messenger is a common tactic of those who don’t want to acknowledge that in Iraq today — even after the removal of Saddam — death is all around and can happen at any time.
    My first reaction to the photos was horror in the death of two innocent people. My second reaction was that they reveal how active the former Baathist secret police still are. It was so clearly a professional killing. You can tell by how they did it and also by the trendy clothes the killers are wearing. They look like Mafia hitmen.

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