Iraq-based photojournalist Michael Yon has taken some amazing pictures and written some gripping stories about the struggles in that country, but right now he’s rightly angered at Michael Moore’s use (without his permission no less) of one of his photographs — that of a soldier holding a dying Iraqi girl mortally wounded by a roadside bomb.
Yon has had his attorney demand that Moore stop using the photograph.
When someoneâ€™s grandmother disseminates the photo of Major Beiger cradling a dying girl in his arms, I allow the usage because I feel she is trying to share the human tragedy. When Michael Moore puts that same photo on his web site, alongside images of George Bush, John McCain and Hillary Clinton, the clear implication is that Farahâ€™s death is their fault. That is a misrepresentation of the facts on the ground, as well as the story of the photo.
Farah was killed by a suicide car bomb in Mosul on May 2, 2005. Major Bieger and other soldiers literally risked their own lives to save many children and adults that day, but Farah didnâ€™t make it. Michael Moore apparently does not understand — or refuses to acknowledge — the moral distinction between a man who would murder innocent people, and a man who would sacrifice himself to save them. The photo, as I took it, is the truth, but Moore uses it — illegally — to convey falsehoods. His mind is that of a political propagandist who sees Farahâ€™s death not as a human tragedy, but a tool.
If Yon used clips from Moore’s movies without permission, one can only wonder how large an army of attorneys Moore would send to squash the offender.
At the time of this writing, Moore’s website is still using the picture on the banner on his main page. Michael’s too busy soaking up the leftist adulation at the Cannes Film Festival to worry about little things like copyrights.