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Public Should See Photos

Drudge is leading with a story from Editor & Publisher (motto: Newspapers are not anti-war enough) about FEMA’s request that the media not take photos of the dead:

NEW YORK Forced to defend what some critics consider its slow response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said on Tuesday it does not want the news media to take photographs of the dead as they are recovered from New Orleans.

I think FEMA’s making an unjustified request. There are legitimate reasons for this kind of request — for instance, I don’t think the Pentagon should have to turn over a bunch of previously unreleased Abu Ghraib photos. There, the government has a good case that such photos would simply become propaganda for the terrorists and endanger American lives. But there’s no good reason why the American public should be shielded from the horror of Katrina.
UPDATE: What the hell was this paragraph doing in the story?

The Bush administration’s decision to continue a policy of preventing the news media from photographing flag-draped coffins of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq has fueled criticism that the government is trying to avoid images that put the war in a bad light.

This paragraph was thrown in at the bottom until Drudge linked the story, at which point MB reader David H. complained and got an e-mail from E&P ed. Greg Mitchell informing him that the offending paragraph had been deleted. It’s gone now, but it should have never been there in the first place. I guess now we know who “some critics” are.


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Illegal leaks of classified information should be treated as a serious offense. But they would be easier to prevent if less information were classified.