AP Chief Defends Use of Photos of Flag-Draped Coffins of Deceased U.S. Military Personnel
Some have accused the media of trying to undermine the war effort by swaying public opinion with images of flag-draped coffins returning from Iraq, but the visuals are justified and important, according to Associated Press President and CEO Tom Curley.
Curley was the keynote speaker of the Sunshine Week dinner at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on March 18. Curley defended the media's use of the controversial photographs as "moving and very unifying."
"Well, we've all tried and we've all been turned down, and I think your question is another reminder we should keep trying," Curley said when asked about the importance of those photographs. "We should never stop trying. I find those pictures very moving and very unifying. All of us really, really appreciate the sacrifices that are being made."
One of those photos with flag-draped coffins was used in a video advertisement that was posted on the site of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee website leading up to the 2006 midterm Congressional elections.
However, Curley saw it is as a duty of his news organization to provide photos and accounts of those deceased soldiers.
"Of course, the policy has been to have that done quietly," Curley added. "We have redoubled our efforts to make sure we will provide pictures at graveside services or other services, wherever they're held throughout the country and make sure we do as good of accounting of that soldier or Marine's life when we have that opportunity to provide it."
A recent study by the Media Research Center has shown a steady decline in the coverage devoted by some media outlets on the Iraq war over the last five years.
Curley also defended the rights of bloggers, saying he believed they deserved the same rights as journalist from traditional recognized media outlets. He told the audience journalist must adjust to the technological evolution of new media.