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Time magazine continued to defend its manipulation of the classic Iwo Jima flag-raising photo – calling it a “point of view.” Managing Editor Richard Stengel said the cover art was part of the publication’s global warming advocacy and a way of forcing readers to “pay attention.”
Stengel defied the traditional notion that journalists should be unbiased. “I didn’t go to journalism school,” Stengel said. “But this notion that journalism is objective, or must be objective is something that has always bothered me – because the notion about objectivity is in some ways a fantasy. I don’t know that there is as such a thing as objectivity.”
Stengel supported his claim by stating the role of journalists is not to ask questions, but answer them.
“[F]rom the time I came back, I have felt that we have to actually say, ‘We have a point of view about something and we feel strongly about it, we just have to be assertive about it and say it positively,’” Stengel said. “I don’t think people are looking for us to ask questions, I think they’re looking for us to answer questions.”
Donald Mates, an Iwo Jima veteran, told the Business & Media Institute on April 17 that using that photograph for that cause was a “disgrace.”
“It’s an absolute disgrace,” Mates said. “Whoever did it is going to hell. That’s a mortal sin. God forbid he runs into a Marine that was an Iwo Jima survivor.”
For all who bear its scars, the battle for Iwo Jima, 58 years ago (February 19-March 26, 1945), still looms gargantuan, unbelievable, devouring; not measurable by Guadalcanal, Peleliu or Belleau Wood, but by its own arena, complexity, ferocity and the character of its combatants, whose American casualties were one third of all Marine Corps casualties in the war.
Iwo Jima was the only Marine battle where the American casualties, 26,000, exceeded the Japanese -- most of the 22,000 defending the island. The 6,800 American servicemen killed doubled the deaths of the Twin-Towers of 9/11.