If you pay attention to the right wing of the political blog world, you’ll perhaps have noticed the argument that the AP “act[s] as mouthpieces of terrorist organizations.” Why? Because a stringer for the AP took pictures of an election worker being killed in Baghdad. Indeed, the AP is “participating in murder.” Yowza. That sounds really bad.
As it happens, Ryan of the Dead Parrot Society is a blogger and a journalist. He has the advantage of a) being level-headed and b) knowing a little bit about news photography. So his takedown is worth reading. My favorite excerpt:
So where was the photographer most likely standing when he got these shots? Hey, you know that Glenn Reynolds, he’s a camera buff, so why not ask him: If you were a professional photographer carrying professional equipment optimized for shooting pictures in a war zone (where you might not want to be right up close to the action), how far away could you have been and still gotten these shots? Actually, you don’t have to ask Glenn, because I just spoke with a news photographers on our staff. Judging by the perspective and clarity on the image above, he estimates that the photographer in Baghdad was using a 300-millimeter lens from about a block away. “From a very safe distance,” he said.
The disadvantage of being all pure and innocent of the mechanics of news reporting is that sometimes you say something really stupid because you don’t know anything about the mechanics of news reporting. You might say that a war photographer has to be really close to the action to photograph it, for example.
But follow the link, and don’t rely on my recap of stuff Ryan already said. The entire media category over there is worth reading, in fact; Ryan has a great perspective on this stuff. He’s a serious blogger and he’s one of the guys who brought the concept of blogging to newspapers.