Ernie Pyle was embedded with U.S. forces on Iejima, Okinawa, in 1945, where he would be killed by Japanese machine-gun fire.
ABC’s Bill Stewart, in Nicaragua covering the Sandinista rebellion in 1979, was shot at a government roadblock in cold blood despite having on his person, and having presented, press credentials issued by the Nicaraguan president’s office.
History is full of so many other examples of how war reporting is incredibly dangerous even when a journalist is accredited to one side and a “frontline” is relatively clear. But attempting to report from a “fluid field” is even more problematic: reporters may end up largely on their own in “no man’s land.” Being a journalist does not provide automatic “neutrality.”
Errol Flynn’s son, photojournalist Sean, was captured by communist Vietnamese forces and (presumed) killed in Cambodia in 1971 by the Khmer Rouge.
More recently, back in May, French photojournalist Camille Lepage, covering the horrific and confusing civil war in the Central African Republic, was discovered by French peacekeepers in a truck, having been murdered.
Now James Foley has been added to the terrible list. He will not be the last, of course. We should always remember those who bravely choose to place themselves in potentially fatal harm’s way to try to give us back at home some insights as to what the hell is going on. 😦