Sunday, November 23, 2008

Eddie Adams: "Execution of a Viet Cong"

The picture above was taken by the late AP photographer, Eddie Adams, during the Vietnam War. It includes the South Vietnamese Colonel, Nguyan Ngoc Loan, shooting a bullet to the temple of a prisoner of war who was a Viet Cong captain. The picture made headlines around the United States hours after Adams turned in the photo. It was a image that would change the view of the war. It had a good impact for the photographer and the world and a bad impact for the shooter in the picture.

The picture, which was called “Execution of A Viet Cong", was taken Feb. 1, 1968, the second day of the communist’s Tet Offensive, or the North Vietnamese army attacks on Saigon and other parts of South Vietnam. It was most noted for turning Americans public opinion against the war.

The photo was shocking and horrific to many around the world. It showed the brutality of the Vietnam War. To Adams, it was an everyday thing. He had said in an interview that he was used to seeing people getting shot, soldiers putting guns against other peoples head. To Americans, this was something new and horrific.

According to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, journalists should: seek the truth and report it. The execution showed war in it’s purist form. Adams wasn’t the only media there that day. NBC’s camera crew were there catching the aftermath of the execution.

They should also recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort, according to the Code of Ethics.

In an article by Jonah Goldberg, “There Are Tears in My Eyes”, he explains that the photo that Adams took was referred to CNN as being ‘atrocious’ and a ‘ignoble deed’, and it ruined police chief Loan’s life.
“More to the point, it didn’t expand on our right to know,” said Goldberg. “It didn’t answer questions, or give us the story. It deceived. It gave no context. It confirmed the biases of the anti-war journalists, and they used it to further their agenda.”

Adams would later win a Pulitzer Prize for the execution photograph.
Eddie Adams Talk About The Saigon Execution Photo
from YouTube

The Execution from YouTube

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