Author: Jacob

The AP’s “The Inspection”

The AP's "The Inspection"

Jeremy Pope examines masculinity as a gay Black Marine in ‘The Inspection’

Published 8:00 pm, Friday, September 11, 2006

WHEN THE first shot rang out at Fort Bragg, the Marine Corps barracks in North Carolina, in March 2003, there was no question that The Associated Press would publish its story on the bloodshed. Two Marine sergeants were ambushed and killed in a sniper attack on their patrol, and in the confusion of the initial gunbattle, a Marine reservist shot himself.

But when the newspaper and TV reporters took over the story, they began to question the Marines’ story. Was the shooting a random act? Were the victims in fact responsible for an unprovoked attack? Were the guards in fact being targeted for retaliation? Were they, as some military chiefs claimed, the victims of a suicide pact?

The AP decided to stay on the story, and in 2006 it began telling the story in a new and telling way.

“The Inspection” is a series of portraits of gay Black men in and around the military, and tells how the men survived the death of The Pride. It’s a story of coming out; of embracing one’s sexuality and being accepted by the military.

The series was produced by the same production company that made “The Central Park Five,” a movie about the 1991 slaying of a gay New York City police officer. And the story the movie tells is largely the same as “The Inspection.”

“The Central Park Five” is set in the park, where a murder is discovered by one of the officers there. A cop is arrested, convicted and put away for a year for manslaughter.

“The Inspection” is also part of the military, where two brothers both serve, and where in the course of reporting the story, an AP photographer discovers himself as a gay Black male.

Here are a few stories, in three parts, that make up “The

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