November 9, 2005

Beyond Dover: MSM's First Published U.S. War Fatality?


(click image for larger version)

In the course of commenting yesterday on the use of military photos to accompany U.S. press accounts of the Iraq war (Pentagon Pictures, Tall Afar Tales – link), I mentioned how the NYT was one of the few news entities with photographers in Husayba covering the large scale U.S. offensive near the Syrian border.

What I seemed to skip over at the time, however — until alerted by an astute BAG reader — was the content of Monday’s NYT image, which depicted a Marine killed in an ambush.  I can’t be certain, but I’m assuming that this photo — thirty-two months and 2,000+ American deaths into the campaign — is possibly the first published image of a U.S. military fatality to appear in the MSM.

If this is true, what’s the significance?  As the relationship between the press and the White House has transformed from a submissive to a more autonomous one, does this picture signal an even more defiant tone on the part of the media?

(Special thanks to John Harris)

(image: Johan Spanner/Polaris for The New York Times. November 7, 2005. Husayba, Iraq. The New York Times, p. A8)

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Michael Shaw
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