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The Dover test

Posted by ESC on April 23, 2004

'Seattle Times' Regrets Silico's Firing, Doesn't Regret Coffin Photo
By Charles Geraci
Published: April 22, 2004

The firing of military contractor Tami Silicio, whose photograph of flag-draped coffins of American soldiers killed in Iraq was published Sunday by The Seattle Times, was met with negative reaction from the newspaper. Still, the Times stands by its decision to run the controversial image -- and claims that Silicio knew the risks.

"I'm happy the picture is out, but it broke my heart when I find out she lost her job," said Barry Fitzsimmons, the paper's photo editor. "The Times is very sad that Tami [was fired]."

DOVER TEST - "The Pentagon has previously acknowledged the effect on public opinion of the grim tableau of caskets being carried from transport planes to hangars or hearses. In 1999, the then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Henry H. Shelton, said a decision to use military force is based in part on whether it will pass 'the Dover test,' as the public reacts to fatalities..." Dover Air Force Base in Deleware has the military's largest mortuary, according to a Washington Post article. From "Curtains Ordered for Media Coverage of Returning Coffins" by Dana Milbank, Tuesday, October 21, 2003, at