Followup: WaPo Ombudsman Responds to Haditha Photo Controversy
I received an unexpected phone call late yesterday afternoon - Deborah Howell, ombudsman for the Washington Post, rang me in response to my article on WaPo's editorial decision to not run or print some graphic photos from the Haditha, Iraq massacre.
The conversation was quite cordial. I reiterated the concerns that I raised earlier. And I also explained that I understood - truly understood - the desire to avoid controversy with WaPo's readership, were the photos to be published. However, I explained that the decision would be more understandable if the images were out in the wild, ala Saddam's hanging. If the images were accessible in some other location, then it would truly be an editorial decision not to offend readers. The problem is: that's not the case. The Washington Post is apparently the only media organization which has possession of the Haditha massacre photos.
My original arguments stand. Without photographic evidence, how easy would it be for the David Duke contingent & Holocaust deniers to make a credible case that the Holocaust didn't really happen? The iconic photos from Vietnam that I published in my original article helped change public perception (and by extension, the course) of the Vietnam war. All of these pictures are graphic and horrifying - but they make a point and record history in a way that mere words can not.
Let's revisit the words from page A14 of this past Sunday's Washington Post: