Wednesday, April 07, 2004

New York Post vs Associated Press:

New York Post editorial: (excerpts, emphasis added)

April 1, 2004 -- The fact that a small crowd of thuggish Sunni tribesmen cheered while their blood-maddened brethren hacked up charred corpses for grateful Western cameramen doesn't mean that Americans are widely despised in Iraq. In fact, it doesn't mean anything at all - except that freedom's enemies in Fallujah are both savage and clever. It's important to remember that Sunni thugs like these did the same thing and worse to their own countrymen for decades. They're the same "people" who joined the ranks of Uday Hussein's fedayeen and filled the mass graves. They seek a return to those days - with them in control.

Consider: Victims of other attacks in Iraq have not generally been burned and mutilated after their deaths.     So why the extra savagery this time?     Because the cameras were there.

Like their brethren in Gaza and the West Bank, these fiends know when and how to perform for maximum propaganda effect. And don't think that Associated Press Television just happened to turn up at the right place at the right time for the burning and hacking of corpses. After all, last week the AP had dramatic on-the-spot, perfectly timed, close-up photographs of insurgents firing RPGs at Coalition troops. Clearly, someone at AP has a mutually beneficial relationship with the insurgents in Fallujah.
The Associated Press responds: (emphasis added)
The Associated Press takes great exception to your April 1 editorial disparaging AP news teams in areas of conflict in the Middle East. Your remarks indicate a fundamental lack of understanding of the dangers and tremendous challenges for all journalists in all media covering war and conflict. Your editorial points out two instances in Iraq in which AP photographers have shot dramatic images of violence -- images that however gruesome help those outside Iraq understand the nature of this ongoing insurgency.

Apparently because AP made these pictures available to papers like the Post (pictures printed in your newspaper) you suggest AP has a "mutually beneficial relationship with the insurgents." This is an outrage, a damaging and gratuitous statement that is not only wrong, but does a grave disservice to the brave men and women who have risked their lives covering this story. AP staff and other journalists risk their lives daily to cover news in difficult parts of the world, including Iraq. We are dismayed that the New York Post seems to have forgotten the role of the free and independent press. You have done professional journalism a disservice.

Kelly Smith Tunney
The Associated Press
Vice President and Director of Corporate Communications


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