Media, Coffins and Families – your thoughts?

At his first press conference, the President answered a question about reconsideration of a policy – and had started a lot of military families talking, arguing and wondering. The question was would he reconsider the ban on the media taking pictures of flag draped coffins upon their return to the United States. Secretary Gates is quoted in news stories as saying “If the needs of the families can be met, and the privacy concerns can be addressed, the more honor we can accord these fallen heroes, the better,” Gates told reporters at a Pentagon news conference Tuesday. “So I’m pretty open to whatever the results of this review may be.”

The SecDef also said he was advised that military families weren’t in favor of overturning the policy when he considered this a year ago. He has asked that this policy review be done quickly.

Military families are questioning this review, media pundits have been discussing it,, and we want to know how you feel about it. From the simple statements by the SecDef above (h/tip to the Stars & Stripes and other news media)  a great many suppositions have been made.  Families wonder if the media will be limited in access, or would they be allowed to take pictures wherever they want? Would we see pictures of anguished families?  Would we then see these pictures used by other groups for their own purposes? So many questions – and we don’t know who has the answers.

If the pictures were just of the flag draped coffins, with no identifying information and of course no family – would this be objectionable to you?  If the families agreed to the pictures, would this change your mind?

Please comment, let us know what you think.

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8 Responses

  1. I think my main question or concern is, how and where would the pictures be used..?

  2. Courtney – Good point. I think if the policy is changed, the media would be able to use the photos however they like.

  3. Freedom of the press is not only guaranteed in the Constitution, it is essential to healthy democracy. The American people need to be reminded that the wars we are fighting are not abstract, sterile activities. Rather, they involve genuine sacrifice and long term consequences. By all means, the ban should be lifed.

  4. I think it should be up to the families of each soldier coming home. It’s terrible that so many people are sticking their heads in the sand and pretending these young men and women aren’t losing their lives – we should be honoring and remembering them in any way their family is comfortable with. The American people need to wake up and realize the sacrifices military families are making; that our loved ones are in harms way.

  5. I have no problem with the pictures, if privacy of the family and deceased is respected. Documentation is important, and I didn’t see a problem with what was being captured before the ban was enacted.

  6. […] asked earlier this week how you felt, but now tell us how you and your family feel about the Secretary of […]

  7. I understand many families wanting privacy, which is why I am onboard 100% with the decision by the DOD. Though I would be personally devastated by the loss of my husband and would want my personal time to grieve, I also understand that the public reminders of the sacrifice that our spouses, brothers, mothers, and children, are incredibly motivating factors for us to DO THE RIGHT THING. This is why Freedom of the Press was covered in the Constitution. As stated in the Virginia Declaration of Rights in 1776: “the freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty and can never be restrained but by despotic governments.” Without utilizing the knowledge of every toll that war takes, you can not make informed decisions in a democratic government. It leaves blinders on the masses and creates an atmosphere ripe for the subversion of our Constitutional tenets– Something our family members in service fight to retain. In their memory we MUST uphold this, one of the greatest hallmarks of a Free Nation, that of Freedom of the Press.

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