A war Photographer's View

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Tough Questions vs. Denial - Read This Story

Tough Questions vs. Denial - Read This Story

With December 3rd being the day that local county government officials are being sworn in, it's important to understand how transparency in government is vitally important to the well being of a democratic and informed society. I know that many times transparency is viewed as a hindrance by those in government and with disbelief or denial by by the public when presented with the information of what actions their government is taking. I've even had well meaning people tell me on the day of the midterm election that they knew I believed information I was relating to them to be true when they knew otherwise, even though there were documents they could view to substantiate the information I was relating to them. Their response is human nature and it's common.

Ron Haeberle, a person that most people have never recalled hearing of, spoke to journalism students at Ohio University in Athens OH on our most recent election day. Haberle is the Army combat photographer who recorded the massacre of civilians in the Vietnamese village of My Lai 50 years ago. When viewing the images taken of My Lai, people would tell Haeberle that Americans don’t do those things. 

The Columbus Dispatch recently ran an editorial written by Robert Stewart, director of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University in Athens, OH. In the editorial, Stewart writes, "A cousin of denial is coverup. Haeberle says, almost matter-of-factly, that coverup is an organizational instinct in the military and elsewhere. Without hyperbole or much inflection, Haeberle says that transparency beats the alternative of ignorance, half-truths or fabrication."

No truer words have ever been spoken. You can read the complete Columbus Dispatch editorial by clicking on the link below.

Column: Wartime photographer prefers tough questions to denial  
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