Pulitzer Winning Photo not that Impressive

By now you’ve probably seen this Pulitzer winning picture from the AP and read some of the controversy surrounding it. It is a picture of 2 people getting shot in Baghdad.

If you are new to the story, you can get caught up to speed, here here here here here here here here and here. (it caused a stink)

But the 10 second version of all of those links goes like this… The photographer must have been working with the insurgents (and known there was a murder about to happen) to get this picture because the odds are incredibly long that someone would catch an execution on film AND, the photographer took the picture rather than running for his life. This is summed up by Powerline asking 2 questions:

The photographer was obviously within a few yards of the scene of the murder, which raises obvious questions, such as 1) what was the photographer doing there; did he have advance knowledge of the crime, or was he even accompanying the terrorists? and 2) why did the photographer apparently have no fear of the terrorists, or conversely, why were the terrorists evidently unconcerned about being photographed in the commission of a murder?

Allow me to be the iconoclast as I answer the 2 questions:

Q1 What was the photographer doing there?

A Let’s review, there was a news photographer in a war zone. Duh?!? Why do you think he was there? Do you think the pictures take themselves? There are several hundred (thousands?) photographers running thru a war zone for a year and you are surprised one of them caught an act of war on film? These guys spend 24 hours a day, camera in hand, looking for a picture like this… Are we surprise one of them got such a picture of marginal (technical) quality?

I hate to call out my fellow conservative bloggers, but this is just silly.

Just tune in your TV to all the various “caught on tape” shows that populate the airwaves and you will see that even amateurs mange to get pictures of the most bizarre things on film and tape. Really it is somewhat odd that this is a Pulitzer winning photo, it’s not that good. Frankly, I’m surprised this is the “best” anyone got the whole year.

Sure you might wonder if he had advanced knowledge but assuming he must have because “the odds were against him” is just silly. To me, a former news photographer, too silly to even mention publicly.

Q2 Why did the photographer apparently have no fear of the terrorists?

A If the photog was more worried about his safety than the picture, he would have been home on his couch. War photogs ain’t like most people, when they hear shooting they run toward it. It flies in the face of self preservation but it happens every day. Look at Geraldo Rivera, (love him or hate him) when we went to war, he gave up a multi-million dollar contract hosting a cable news show to go get shot at… and his brother went with him. It takes a different kind of person to do that.

Again, this is silly on its face to assume collusion because the photog did not run.

When tornado’s blew thru a small community I was in, I grabbed my camera and headed into the storm to get pictures, not giving much though to what might happen to me. That’s just the way news photographers (and firemen and policemen…) work every day. War photographers, by definition, aren’t afraid of war.

And as far as the terrorists not wanting their picture taken… If they sought anonymity, they would not have done this in broad daylight on a busy city street.

Finally, look at the picture technically… If this is the best he could do with advanced notice, he isn’t too good a photographer. Clearly it was both taken with a longish lens and cropped dramatically. (look at the grain) Admittedly my eyes see what most people don’t in a photo but if I had to take a wild guess, I would guess the photographer could be 100 yards [Ed – corrected years] away or more easily. (trust me I shot football for years)

This is an unspectacular picture that has been blown completely out of proportion (sadly) by people on my side of the agenda. Let’s not get crazy huh? That’s what the other side is best at.

Update below the fold. and Kevin Craver takes the time to answer some of the questions I glossed over.

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Postscript: I’m not even going to address the “tipped” part of the story. That is silliness on top of silliness. This whole thing has been one protracted over-reaction…. (sorry guys and gals)

Update OK I will cover the “tipped” part… Apparently some people misread that line:

A source at the Associated Press knowledgeable about the events covered in Baghdad on Sunday told Salon that accusations that the photographer was aware of the militants’ plans are “ridiculous.” The photographer, whose identity the AP is withholding due to safety concerns, was likely “tipped off to a demonstration that was supposed to take place on Haifa Street,” said the AP source, who was not at liberty to comment by name. But the photographer “definitely would not have had foreknowledge” of a violent event like an execution, the source said.

So an anonymous “source” (not the AP) said he was “likely” tipped off to a “demonstration” not a murder.

That is not the same thing as the AP admitting guilt people.

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