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Update (3.30pm): Haeberle was not a journalist. He was an enlisted, unarmed soldier. He carried a camera instead of a gun. His orders were to photograph for Stars and Stripes, the US Army’s (propaganda) publication. On the day of the My Lai Massacre he had his military-standard camera, but also carried (smuggled) his own camera.

I found this quote in Part Exposé, Part Cover-Up: 1968’s My Lai Massacre Photos Have Big Lessons For Citizen Journalists a highly recommended article written by David Quigg for the HuffPost.

Drawing on the well circulated Plain Dealer article of last November, Quigg discusses how Haeberle controlled, destroyed and released his photographs of the My Lai Massacre; how the Army campaigned against the release; how he (Quigg) as a journalist and we as viewers should regard Haerberle’s embedded activity in the US military; and what implications this has for (self) censorship but also propaganda in the age of citizen-publishing. Quigg:

“Citizen journalists must not do today’s equivalent of what Haeberle did. Citizen journalists must not give in to the urge to un-take a photo, to click delete and banish the evidence for the parts of a story that shame them. In citizen journalism, we might as well rename the delete button and think of it as the “cover-up button.”

Click on the image above or go here to see images of Cleveland’s Plain Dealer coverage of the 1969 exposé.


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