AP Issues Weak Non-Apology for Image of Handgun Pointed at Sen. Cruz’s Head

AP image framed where it looks like an image of a pistol is pointed at Texas Senator Ted Cruz

The Associated Press (AP) has explained the agency’s decision to distribute a photo—and later take it down—depicting a handgun being pointed at Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s forehead. AP’s Vice President and Director of Media Relations Paul Colford said in a statement: “Presidential candidate Ted Cruz was shown in a series of 14 photos taken by an Associated Press photographer at a ‘Celebrate the 2nd Amendment’ event Saturday afternoon [June 20], held at a shooting range in Johnston, Iowa. Five of the photos published by AP included images of guns seen on a wall in the background so that it appeared a pistol was pointed at Sen. Cruz’s head. The images were not intended to portray Sen. Cruz in a negative light.”

AP image framed where it looks like an image of a pistol is pointed at Texas Senator Ted Cruz
AP Photographer Charlie Neibergall submitted this image of Sen. Ted Cruz and the press agency distributed it over the weekend before taking it down. AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall.
In a letter to supporters after the photos were published, Cruz wrote, “The liberal media is attacking again. I called out Democrats for trying to use the tragic event in South Carolina to advance their partisan agenda on gun control, and now, the liberal media has literally put a gun to my head… They are mocking and threatening not only me but anyone who supports the Second Amendment as well. In their attempt to sell newspapers, they are stirring up anti-gun sentiments.” Media Research Center founder and president Brent Bozell, who heads a media watchdog group, has asked that the photographer who took the pictures, Charlie Neibergall, be fired, along with all the managers who approved publishing the image on the wire service’s distribution channels.

Bozell’s statement read: This is disgusting. Just days after a horrific shooting that took nine lives, the AP has the gall to unapologetically display a gun aimed at the head of a presidential candidate. They would never do this to Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. Nor should they. The AP is lying. This was not an accident. They made a deliberate decision to publish the photo. The AP owes Senator Cruz, his wife Heidi, and his children an immediate and unqualified apology. Furthermore, I am calling on the AP to conduct a complete investigation of everyone involved in the publishing of the photo and to fire those who ultimately made the decision to publish the photo. For context, on the Shooter’s Log, we strive to ensure firearms and images of firearms are never pointed at human beings, much less presidential candidates. In fact, we even attempt not to have separate images of firearms pointed directly at humans.

What do you think: Did AP Photographer Charlie Neibergall purposefully work into position and frame the image with care when he took the image of Cruz and the handgun on the poster? Or was it an accident? Let us hear your assessments in the comments section below.

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Comments (249)

  1. “Ideas are more powerful than guns.We would not let our enemies have guns,why should we let them have ideas?”-Joseph Stalin “By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda ,one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise” Adolf Hitler “If you like your Healthcare,You can keep your Healthcare” -Barack Obama

  2. Funny you mentioned being in former communist countries; my wife is from a former communist country. She fled Poland when it was under Soviet control running into the mountains and bribing a border guard to enter Austria as a refugee. Nine months later she was selected by “lottery” to immigrate to South Africa. She had no idea was apartheid was but quickly found out. She fled that country when things got ugly for whites, no matter where you came from.

    Her father was (barely) a survivor of a Nazi concentration camp losing weight from starvation to 78 lbs when liberated. Pretty dismal for a man over 6 feet tall. Later he was tortured by the KGB who got wind that he had a gun. They removed his fingernails and beat him for a week. Imagine life without your nails when you earn a living as a tailor! Yet he was still a happy man and wore a smile on his face loving what he had. A life making clothing for people and he worked in his garden or fed the pigeons. he took delight in small things like flowers and birds. Sadly he passed shortly after my wife escaped communism and she was unable to return home for his funeral because the communists would have imprisoned her for life or worse.

    She also lived in Germany and was forced to clean toilets to earn wage until she learned to speak German fluently in spite of having a four year degree in nursing. That is the way Germany treats its immigrants. No freebies at all. Pull your weight or starve.

    My wife speaks Polish, English, Russian and German. Most Americans can barely speak proper English, their mother tongue. I have heard my wife talk of Polish people being whisked away like her father by the KGB and never returning. If you inquired about them and their safety, you would meet the same fate.

    People who never experienced the Cold War or had first hand knowledge of communistic rule, have no idea how bad it can be. Nor do they appreciate how fragile our freedoms are. Having the mightiest military in the world may not save us if we aren’t vigilant.

    I fear too much change, too fast. It is nothing but reckless. Apathy is insidious and takes us over slowly when we forget the sacrifices that were made to gain this much freedom. What took years to attain and tens of thousands of lives to keep can be quickly lost. We need to stand guard over the republic and not let our personal ambitions command all of our attention. getting ahead and raising the kids are important, for sure, but if we lose our freedom to pursue happiness then where will those things be? I have serious grave doubts that my grandchildren will experience the free America as I did. It saddens me.

  3. Will do Dennis-the so-called “progressives” are anything but and should spend some time as I have in former communist countries.Most of these anti-America types have no comparative experience with which to judge America by. Obama and his kind can try to undermine our society only because of the great sacrifice paid by past Generations. Any society that denies its moral compass is doomed to failure ….Peace

  4. Uh, I think you skipped a year. But I live on the west coast and due to daylight savings time and other time zone considerations, I haven’t been in the 21st century technically as long as some of you others. Some regions may have been blacked out by the NFL and they too may experience a delay.

  5. Steve,
    You aren’t the only baby boomer who is saddened by the shape of things in this once great land. I hear you and agree that much has changed and although change is inevitable much of it in America has been more of a decline than a progressive improvement. Our grandchildren will never know the America that we grew up in Steve. Practice your aim, read your Bible, pray for Holy guidance and vote conservative.

  6. Do you libs just sit around all day dreaming up new cutesy insults and believe that you are righteous because of this? You might have a look at some the liberal whinings (since you believe we are wasting time here) and you will find MUCH to decry within your own ranks, unless you are truly in denial. Go clean the grime from your own house before complaining about the dust in ours. BTW: What you refer to as progress is actually decline. The last few years of liberal leadership has not improved us but has surely divided us. Look at our S&P rating slip for a start and then follow from there. You people are delusional and out of touch with reality. Yeah, with liberal progress we may close out the century living in caves and living as true hunter/gatherers. None for me, thanks.

  7. Oh good grief. I can’t believe I stepped off into this bigoted, ignorant rightwingnutjob echo chamber or stayed, learning what all of you are all about to begin with. The only thing that is constant, folks, is change. I realize that some of you here will never reach the 21st century, but jeebus haploid khrist, some of you here have a few brain cells left. Use them and join the rest of us on planet Earth.

    1. This is a perfect example of liberal ranting. He/she is so eager to insult people failing to realize that we’ve been in the 21st Century for 14 years, 7 months, 10 hours and 8 minutes.

  8. Hey Guys-Its just the ramblings of a 65 year old man who deeply hurts from seeing a country that was so strong go so far astray.Just got back from NewEngland and that trip depressed the daylights outta me.Going to the range to practice my 50 yard bullseye. The Lord has blessed my Southern home.Thanks Guys!

  9. Steve, you are scaring me friend but I will address your post as best I can.

    We already have term limits (you might have noticed this already) but do you suggest they be restricted to one or two terms in office? . Some districts may not go with that but for the record I agree, to a point, but I will not chase down that debate here.

    I’m unsure what you envision for SCOTUS appointees. I foresee problems if they had short terms.

    I would welcome interstate competition between any and all enterprises.

    I’d not only eliminate the Dept of Education but also EPA and Dept of Health. What does the Surgeon General do?

    I would outlaw PACs altogether if I could and stop special interest groups from having access to congressional representatives outside of the channels available to constituents.

    Federal employees may be fired under current law (contrary to popular opinion) but it is a difficult thing to do. The guidelines for federal employees need to be revised to require greater accountability, That should run all the way up to the Cabinet level.

    Unions have exceeded their useful life and need to be retired. Maybe another way can be found to protect workers without this corrupted system that has become more evil than the entity it was created to combat.

    I would give special help to start up enterprises and lower tax rates according to the profit margin. Smaller companies that employ people should be nurtured as much as possible because that accounts for the majority of businesses in America. Countries hiding money outside the US or using foreign workers to run the company while Americans are unemployed should be taxed or fined heavily to discourage those practices.

    Social welfare programs need to be trimmed and stupid programs set up to simply squander tax money need to be axed. We need to get back to the basics as it once was and it needs to administered carefully so we don’t have people driving Cadillacs on welfare. People that need help should get it but there should be an education and training program attached to get those folks back into the workforce as soon as possible.

    The remainder of your post is common knowledge unless you live in a cave. Yes, you are correct and we are ALL frustrated and angry over the mismanagement of the budget and national debt.

    You see, Steve, we are in agreement on a lot of things. More than you imagined, huh? But please take a deep breath and r-e-l-a-x before you have a stroke or heart attack. Take action on the things that truly bug you, if you can, even if it is just letter writing or calling your congressional reps. The stuff we can’t change and is out of your hands, pray about it and then leave it go.

  10. Steve, brother you need to run not walk to your nearest therapist and seek medical attention. I fear you may have slipped the surly bonds of current reality and have fallen into the long ago dead past. Bringing the dreaded 3 S’s, South, slavery and Samson, into this conversation is not only irrelevant but inappropriate to this blog. If you can’t stay in the here and now then you are ill. Good luck partner.

  11. Let me get this out.Did you know that the North feasted on taxes it levied on the Slave market? Did you know that the South was afraid of a Tyrannical Federal Government- exactly what we have today? South Carolina was the first State to leave the Union-so that battle flag is an important part its history.Who speaks for the Confederate Dead? Only a small group of Southerners owned slaves.This sounds exactly like what ISIS is doing in Syria and Iraq.They destroy all traces of past history in order to validate their present history. Want to re-write American history? Try explaining the founding of the State of Oregon.It is a history of real racism.America is the only country that I know of that faces its problems and betters itself. However the present crop of liars and cheats seem to have robbed us of our future.We have become Samson.

  12. OK Dennis.First off we need term limits for Congress and yes for the Supreme Court appointees. I would allow competition between Health Insurance Companies across State lines.Eliminate the Dept of Education.Limit the influence of Pacs.Allow Federal workers to be subjected to being fired for poor performance.Elimate special treatment of Union donors when it comes to Obamacare.Encourage investment by lowering tax rates for companies investing in this country.Put real caps on Government Social Welfare programs.Do you know that this year our Debt has out stripped our GNP? Take a hard look at your money. It is a NOTE. A notes values is determined by the debtors ability to pay it back.Basically your money is worthless. Get us back on the gold standard? Trump is right. OUR LEADERS ARE CLUELESS.

  13. So Steve you laugh at the problems are country faces as if you have no investment in it. Do you live in America? Are you are citizen? If so then we await your ideas on how to solve our numerous issues. I hope you have some constructive input, we need it.

  14. I get a kick out of you guys dicing the photo.. Everytime I see a Dem. standing in front of a flag I think of Pelosis rant-“you have to pass the Bill to find out whats in it”..What a load of crap we have in Politics now.I am sure the Chinese.Russians , and head-cutting Muslims are laughing their collective asses off. Is Cruz any different?

  15. Let’s see — it is my understanding that if you use a poltico’s photo — like at a shooting range for a target — that it was tantamount to an actual threat upon the life of that individual —– so when is the Secret Service — The FBI and Homeland Security going to go to the office of the AP and arrest Paul Colford & the photographer Charlie Neibergall for making threats either real or unreal against a presidential candidate ???

  16. Now you are starting to prove my point for me. I am well aware of that notion, I majored in English and Mathematics. Thanks for the unnecessary assist, you’re a true pal!

  17. I guarantee you Rick that I can better you on any test of any subject you like. I am not ignorant as I have been well educated and I try to stay informed. Stupid doesn’t apply to me as I have been at the top of everything I have ever attempted. You mistake me for someone else. Nice try I suppose but you are wrong…again.

  18. You have an incredible grasp for the obvious peanut. Of course he is at a 90 degree angle to a poster mounted on a WALL!!! What does that prove? NOTHING. Cruz didn’t PLACE himself in front of the poster as you keep trying to prove. As I said the photographer was nearly BEHIND Cruz in order to juxtaposition the good Senator with the poster and the gun image close to Cruz’s nose anyone can see that but then you aren’t just anyone are you, Slick? You will see what you want, as all liberals do, with your left-wing blinders on.

    1. If I was a liberal–which I not–I could change that with my votes and philosophies. You, however, are stuck with your condition. Ignorance can be cured, but stupidity is forever.

  19. I had already posted this link in a direct comment to shut Rick up once and for all. Here it is again so it is easier for all the other libs to find. Even still, I’m certain you idiots will still find a way to claim it wasn’t intentional.

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