[ Tuesday, May 13, 2003 ]

Get some new lenses if that’s the problem

Maybe some American war photographers broke their camera lenses in Iraq.

Supplies would seem hard to find on the frontline if they did.

That seems like a possible explanation for comments made by some individuals concerning Ashleigh Banfield’s recent statements during an address at Kansas State University. Banfield, a MSNBC reporter, recently got reprimanded by the network for her comments during a speech, as detailed in this Kansas State Collegian article. Banfield basically took to task the cable news networks for presenting the Iraq war in a somewhat sanitized way where the consequences of all those explosions were not shown.

She also bashed them for presenting the conflict more as a ratings-grabbing television presentation as opposed to showing the bloody aspects of fighting. Banfield also attacked the idea of embedded reporters, who are more than likely only going to tell the side of the story wanted by the people protecting them.

First of all, war is gruesome and unfortunately civilian casualties do happen. Women and children sometimes die even from guns fired by people with noble causes like American soldiers in World War II. That’s a fact. It can’t be helped.

Plus, Banfield was not entirely in the clear. She apparently made some factual errors during her presentation. That shows a lack of fact checking. She should know better.

However, the most disgusting and reprehensible aspects of the whole incident were the responses to her legitimate and well-founded comments. Here’s one of the most ludicrous attacks on Banfield’s statements from an April 29 Reuters article written by Andrew Grossman:

Reporters who have returned from Iraq have defended the networks' lack of blood-and-guts video, saying it was impossible to film much of it because of logistical reasons. They also noted that embedded reporters did not see action much of the time in Iraq.

"In my situation, I didn't have the occasion to videotape many bodies or anything," said Don Dahler, an ABC News correspondent embedded in Iraq who was interviewed April 16 after returning to the United States. "I don't think I would have shied away from shooting dead bodies or injured Americans."

Hmmmm, what’s the phrase, what’s the phrase? Hmmmmm. Ah yes, here it is. Those two paragraphs are absolute bullshit. Well, maybe not. Hold on. Maybe those sentiments are not total bullshit. Maybe the American photographers covering the war were not as skilled as some of their international counterparts. Maybe the embedded cameramen just did not have as good of a sense for the action as the ones not tied to military groups. Maybe they did break their camera lenses.

Whatever the reason, they did not seem to produce the same type of graphic photos of the war’s consequences.

One of those reasons could be why they did not get as many pictures of injured Iraqi civilians. That must be a tough choice for them: bullshitter or second-level photographer. Either way, something was wrong because the pictures are readily available through numerous outlets, excluding many mainstream American sources.

(Note: Violence should not be exploited for commercial gain. It’s a tough line to draw between being informative and being morbid. But saying the images were not available is just foolish.

The following is a list of some sites that show Iraqi casualty pictures that apparently many American photographers could not find. Just as a note, these pictures are graphic. They are as horrible as you could imagine. They are not posted here for shock value. If they were just meant to shock, I would have just posted them right on this page and given the photographers credit.

They are just shown to provide a counterpoint to people who claim they could not easily find documentation of the war’s human consequences.

Also, providing these links does not mean PhugIt agrees with the written opinions expressed by all of the websites. The links are just meant to show the availability of the images.)

March for Justice
Scoop #1
Scoop #2
Regular Everyday People (Scroll down a little bit to find pictures from the recent Iraq War)
In War We Trust
Care USA
Dave Sutor [11:29 PM]