Bottled and Sold

Regardingthe story about the AP publishing pictures of a dying American soldier in Afghanistan [h/t Instapundit] over the objections of his squad mates, the Army, the Secretary of Defense and the soldier’s family, let me just say this:

A noble man’s horrific last moments, the suffering of his squad mates and the grief of his family are not a product to be bottled and sold.

We should never forget that journalism is a paid profession and that journalists, editors and publishers act from a profit motive. Whatever noble motives they may claim, they still took and published those pictures to make money .

The members of many professions in our society earn their livings dealing with the pain of others. Doctors, lawyers, police, even soldiers themselves are not needed unless something goes wrong and someone is hurt. No one begrudges them their pay even though they make more money when people suffer.

However, journalists stand alone among the professions as having no legal professional standards or legal oversight. They answer to no one for their misconduct. As long as journalists make money, they can do as they wish. If they are motivated by ideology or cause, they don’t even have that limited control.

In any other business or profession there would be legal and financial consequences for such a disregard of the rights and welfare of others. For journalists, we have no recourse to their incompetence, greed or cruelty save the marketplace. Imagine a giant corporation that could act without fear of lawsuits, without professional oversight or legal consequence, and you have a good picture of how the journalism business operates.

In a profession with no oversight or consequences, it falls to the individuals to discipline themselves. The AP failed to do this. They saw a chance to cash in and they took it, regardless of the harm they did in seeking that profit.

If they can’t discipline themselves, the rest of us need to find a market mechanism to do it for them.

[Note: I’ll be offline for the long weekend and I don’t want to leave an unmediated thread, so I am not enabling comments for this post.]

[I’m back so I’m turning comments back on.]

2 thoughts on “Bottled and Sold”

  1. “As long as journalists make money, they can do as they wish. If they are motivated by ideology or cause, they don’t even have that limited control.”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Journalists making money???!!!

    And when they consistently act contrary to their financial interest by antagonizing large numbers of potential customers???

    Of course, AP is one of the worst.

    I know, their biggest problem is loss of ad revenue, and really, I’m just being snarky, but I feel kinda like the alien in Independence Day, when the Pres asks him what they want from us: “Die.” That’s what I want from the MSM; in a Darwinian sense, they have to disappear to make room for whatever comes next. Like the meteor that took out the dinosaurs, which made ecological room for birds and mammals. I’ll take my chances that the next phase is better than what the MSM have become.

  2. Marty,

    I agree but my point was that, unlike virtually everyone else in society, journalist face no criminal or civil consequences for their actions or even their negligence. For example, it is a valid defense against a libel charge against a public figure for a journalist to claim simply incompetence. They print whatever they want, say anything they want and if its proven false they can just say, “whoops.”

    This why journalist have to be held strictly accountable in the market place.

Comments are closed.