Quote Originally Posted by ntenny View Post
No, I think it's pretty significant given US military culture. If the caption results in people thinking that he misrepresented his military service, to a lot of people that's a *huge* black mark---in my experience many veterans (perhaps Marines especially) are enormously personally vested in their service, and take such misrepresentations as not just serious but something of an affront to them and the armed forces generally. I wouldn't want to be this guy the first time another Marine says "aren't you that dude who lied about being a sniper?"

I tend to buy Pellegrin's claim that it was a mistake rather than an intentional fiction, but it's a significant mistake anyway.

-NT
Ditto. I've worked with Marines before, and to them, ANY alteration of your rank or job description is an affront. To a civilian, the difference between lance corporal and corporal might well seem insignificant, and not a big deal to shorten Lance Corporal down to just Corporal for convenience sake, but if you do that you just gave someone an unearned promotion, and a significant one as a Marine, as it entitles you to wear the blood stripe on your dress blues. Mis-stating your MOS, especially to a Marine, is up there with claiming you received the Medal of Honor when in fact you got a General Discharge. Oddly enough, though, it's not that big a deal to shorten Lieutenant Colonel to Colonel.

I think the big problem with the image, semantic/semiotic differences aside, is that IMHO it fails in its original mission - it says nothing to me about gun violence, or Rochester. It would be meaningful as an illustration if it were of someone who had used a gun to successfully defend their home from a burglar on crack, or someone who trained suburban housewives to handle Smith & Wessons, or if it somehow depicted the collection of weapons the subject owned. But a guy holding a gun in his garage is otherwise a very ordinary image and doesn't make any kind of statement beyond "this individual happens to own a shotgun". It's just a general fail in its mission. That photo could be taken ANYWHERE in America - it doesn't say anything about Rochester. It says a lot about "journalism" that someone feels they can swoop in to a place they know nothing about and have no connection to, apply an agenda (in this case a statement about gun violence in Rochester), and come up with meaningful images that can inform me (or anyone else completely unfamiliar with the story) about the reality of the time, place and event being documented. Far better would have been to stalk the ER at the hospital and get photos of someone being brought in to the ER with a gunshot wound.