FEMA: no pictures of the dead

The Bush administration may have had no plan for dealing with natural disasters, but its efforts at using the media to contain criticism are unstinting as ever. This short dispatch from Reuters late yesterday:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said on Tuesday that it did not want news photographers to take pictures of the dead as they were recovered in New Orleans.

FEMA rejected requests from journalists to accompany rescue boats.

An agency spokeswoman said that "the recovery of the victims is being treated with dignity and the utmost respect."

The dead are of course a vital part of this story. Extensive photographic records need to be made at every stage. The Bush administration (correctly) sees the looming threat of another Abu Ghraib dust-up when those images hit the wire, and means to head it off at the start.

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