White House to Withhold Osama bin Laden Photos

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Pakistani media personnel and local residents gather outside the hideout of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden following his death by US Special Forces in a ground operation in Abbottabad on May 3, 2011. Pakistani media personnel and local residents gather outside the hideout of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden following his death by US Special Forces in a ground operation in Abbottabad on May 3, 2011. (AFP/Getty Images)

The White House has announced that it will not release photos of Osama bin Laden’s death. Quoting the transcript of President Obama’s upcoming interview with 60 Minutes, set to air this Sunday, White House Spokesperson Jay Carney told reporters that, “It is important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to further violence or as a propaganda tool.” Some very graphic photos from the raid have already been published by The Guardian. Is the release of graphic photos a good idea? 

To discuss the administration’s decision to withhold photos of Osama bin Laden’s body, we speak with Fred Ritchin, professor of Photography and Imaging at at New York University, and author of “After Photography.”

Fred Ritchin was the photo editor at The New York Times Magazine from 1978 – 1982.

Guests:

Fred Ritchin

Produced by:

Hsi-Chang Lin

Comments [8]

I remember how many innocent non-combatant were killed over the pictures of the Koran burning by the coward pastor in florida. Please send him over there to perform these same actions in the biggest market. I will contribute to his airfare. I am sure the same will happen with the Bin Laden pictures ,especially after they have been photo-altered to a picture of Bin Laden, lying in bed all in white, with halo like lighting( not HALO) and dialysis tubes visible
. A Navy SEAL Team water-boarding him and then rolling him over to shoot him point-blank him in the back with a sawed off shotgun with an american flag decals on the gun,and maybe an US flag over the waterboarding towel for added incitement. Throw a Koran in there for them to photo-alter in a place of their choice that will incite them even more to commit barbaric homicidal action to innocent non-combatants.
The same people screaming for the release of the pictures will be the same ones so vocal and aghast at the pictures of what happens to innocent people.
Just please send the Florida beheading inciting fake preacher there first and let them know he is the Koran burner Video tape that , I would watch that.

May. 05 2011 10:09 AM
Siger from Framingham, MA

I don't think the photos should be released. After all, there are several living witnesses to his death, including his wife and daughter. They can verify what happened. I'm not sure why we left them in Pakistani custody. I hope that someone gets them on videotape soon.

May. 05 2011 09:58 AM
Sheeway from Fort Lauderdale

Why would anyone need proof? Aside from the perennial Obama doubters that is? He announced OBL's death on national TV...all OBL would need to do is issue a photo of himself holding a newspaper to prove Obama wrong.
Why is the (black) president repeatedly being held to higher scrutiny and tougher questioning than all his predecessors? We are witnessing the Jackie Robinson phenomenon all over again. Get over it people, we have a Black president and he's just as good, if not way better, than the last White one!

May. 05 2011 09:42 AM
Cesar from New York

Showing the photos or videos would likely do more to perpetuate conflict than resolve it. We Americans live in a culture saturated with bloodlust, if TV and film are any guide. Following the warrior's code does not allow the victor to disrespect the defeated, which would dishonor both sides. President Obama's decision to keep private the photos of bin Laden reaffirms my confidence in his leadership.

May. 05 2011 09:28 AM
Cesar from New York

Showing the photos or videos would likely do more to perpetuate conflict than resolve it. We Americans live in a culture saturated with bloodlust, if TV and film are any guide. Following the warrior's code does not allow the victor to disrespect the defeated, which would dishonor both sides. President Obama's decision to keep private the photos of bin Laden reaffirms my confidence in his leadership.

May. 05 2011 09:27 AM
Tim from Boston, MA

Bin Laden Photo(s)- I honestly think that with all these years Bin Laden was hiding; we track him , we lose him and so on and so forth. But after a while it seemed to me that the U.S. gave up and all of a sudden he appears and we kill him. The U.S. should release his death photo and video to the public, not only for an actual proof but for closure for many. I don't know if this is an actual matter or something to boost the Presidential Ratings for this 2012 run.

May. 05 2011 09:06 AM

as far as president Obama decision not to release the pictures.The operation was classified to a very high level, probably the highest level exisiting .On top of the blanket clssification , i am sure it was also classified as a need to know and your eyes only specifications. This includes the whole operation .
the world l public and the world military do not have the security clearance nor the need to know. Release of anything is up to the president.
The President made a decision to not inform the govt of Pakistan, this is a minor decision decision,concerning the pictures. They would be inflammatory , and photo-shopped

May. 05 2011 08:02 AM
Dennis from New York City

I remember the media several years ago reporting the Bin Laden had kidney disease and was on dialasys. If that is, in fact, true, wouldn't there be dialasys equipment at the compound? I mean, how many terrorists compounds need and have dialasys systems in place? Wouldn't that also help satiate the need to know if Bin Laden was actually living there?

May. 05 2011 07:17 AM

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