Bad stock photos never hurt anyone, but they haven't done a lot of good either.
Sure, there are the occasional horrible stock images that perpetuate negative stereotypes about the U.S. military and veteran community, but those seem to be outliers. On the whole, they're just consistently bad in the same predictable, if not laughable, ways.
And look, it's tough to find that perfect shot. We get it, it's not like the Pentagon or subscription-based services and news wires have vast archives of images showing actual service members doing their jobs, wearing the proper uniforms, and conducting themselves in a way befitting of the service they're in. That'd be too easy. (On an unrelated note, check out DVIDS, the Associated Press, or Getty Images, among others if you're looking for photos of actual troops, doing actual "troop things.")
But sometimes a business, or ad agency, or political group, or misguided news site has to turn to stock photo archives for that one-in-a-million pic — or more than likely, the first one they see out of a sea of millions. And that's how you end up with gems like this:
With the gripping title, “Firework Fail - Idiots light mortar shell in garag,” what can possibly go wrong? The “e” is missing, but that’s probably because whoever filmed this posted it online as quickly as possible. Probably thinking: “Oh my god, the world has to witness this! There’s no time for spell check!” Or, “Shit the cops are coming so I might as well get this out to as many people as possible before they haul us in.”