Friday, October 08, 2004

WSJ: See No Evil

Using the occasion for a below-the-belt attack on J-School professors, WSJ writer Tunku Varadarajan argues that the public should not see images of flag-draped coffins bearing GIs killed in Iraq and Afghanistan arriving a Dover Air Force Base.

Beware journalism professors. As a rule (but with honorable exceptions), they are desiccated -- often frustrated -- ex-practitioners of a craft toward which, after decamping to some J-school, they direct a picayune eye, spending long hours in poky offices studying such matters as "gender imbalance" in newsrooms, "media bias" and, a particular favorite, "ethics."

...What has set me off today is news that Ralph Begleiter, a journalism professor, has filed suit against the Pentagon under the Freedom of Information Act for the release of government photos and video footage of coffins arriving at Dover Air Force Base -- coffins containing, as we all know, the bodies of American soldiers who died in Iraq. The Pentagon prohibits unauthorized publication of images of these coffins, largely in deference to the protective feelings of the soldiers' families -- feelings that, understandably, run rather high.

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