I can understand why the father of a dead Marine would beg the AP not to use a photo showing his son, Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Bernard, 21, of New Portland, Maine, wounded and dying in Afghanistan.
The father is a retired Marine first sergeant. Many military families do not trust Big Media and, I think, often with good reason. AP looks especially hypocritical because the picture (part of a slide show here which clearly does not depend on it) is not a prize winner.
On the other hand, it was taken at wide angle from a dozen feet away, it is not graphic, and the young man’s face is fuzzily indistinct. You can’t even tell where the RPG wounded him, though from the red mass on his lower body it appears to be his upper leg, whose big arteries bleeding out would account for his death. But none of that will ameliorate the truth that will linger in military minds: that a father’s plea was ignored. And for what? Sensationalism? To energize the anti-war movement? It’s not like people don’t know that death happens in war.
UPDATE: The AP also was unprofessional, violating their own embed agreement with the Marines. And Some Soldier’s Mom shows why my own yes-buts are beside the point. She gets in her licks about journalistic cruelty-without-an-excuse. Even the former WaPo reporter Tom Ricks is embarrassed.