Saturday, February 10, 2007

"Man Down"--Our right to know

In a recent PoynterOnline column, Bob Steele gave his opinion about the recent scrutiny The New York Times has experienced. New York Times reporter Damien Cave recently wrote a story, "Man Down," about a soldier in Iraq who was killed in action. The story ran with a picture of the wounded soldier being carried out of a building.

So why is this such a big deal? Many believe that Cave violated the law about pictures and stories about soldiers dying in Iraq. Although viewing and reading about such deaths may be bad for the country's morale, I think it's something that is our right to see. If the public doesn't see the deaths, in my opinion, it is as if they don't occur.
"[The story] took us to the heart of a military conflict that, no matter what your politics or your views on the war in Iraq, should be of great concern to everyone."

I suppose I'm becoming a bit of a utilitarian. The greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people just seems to be the best option to me, and in this case, the media is doing exactly as it should--showing the public what they have a right to see.
"Especially in a story like this, it's not always possible to avoid doing some harm. The challenge is to minimize the harm, and I believe the Times accomplished that in this case."

I agree 100 percent with Bob Steele. The New York Times was doing its best to serve the public which is their job. In a world where too often things are hidden and sugarcoated, it is nice to finally hear the truth.


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