(Hat tip: Poynter Online and, for further discussion, Belmont Club.)

An amazing, not to say disgusting, letter by Jack Stokes, director of media relations at the Associated Press. This letter is his response to criticism about AP photographers being tipped off to where terrorists will be when they commit atrocities for the camera.

Several brave Iraqi photographers work for The Associated Press in places that only Iraqis can cover. Many are covering the communities they live in where family and tribal relations give them access that would not be available to Western photographers, or even Iraqi photographers who are not from the area.

Insurgents want their stories told as much as other people and some are willing to let Iraqi photographers take their pictures. It’s important to note, though, that the photographers are not “embedded” with the insurgents. They do not have to swear allegiance or otherwise join up philosophically with them just to take their pictures.


? hangings, throat slittings, executions and the like are now just “want[ing] their stories told”

? foreknowledge of such events, used only to record them and propagate them widely (especially in comparison with the dearth of recording and propagation of all the good things happening in Iraq), is “just [taking] their pictures”

? discussion of such foreknowledge is not even the equivalent of being “embedded” with U.S. forces, because after all, the terrorists ? I’m sorry, the “insurgents” ? don’t require “allegiance” or “otherwise [to] join up philosophically with them” (which, pardon my cynicism, sounds like a slam against the U.S. given the media’s well-known suspicion of “patriotism”)