May 17, 2005
Reduced to "Newswee"
So, you’re a major news organization and your assignment is to get on with the flogging of Newsweek for claiming a Quran was unceremoniously flushed down the toilet at Guantanamo Bay.
It’s a big story because the now discredited report led to rioting in any number of cities in the Arab world. It’s an even bigger story domestically because it gives the right wing the opportunity to: a) reinforce the notion that the press is dominated by a cabal of America-hating liberal wackos, b) railroad criticism of the heinous detention facility, even if the report is true, and c) accelerate the drive to eliminate the use of unnamed sources by the (allegedly America-hating liberal wacko) press.
When it comes time to put a picture to the story, you have a number of choices. You can show various images of the anti-American or anti-Newsweek demonstrations fomented by the report, such as WAPO, FOXnews.com or CBC did. Or, like the Drudge Report (through AP News, which show two versions), The Huffington Post, and SFGate.com, you can run this AP file shot of the front of the Newsweek Building in New York.
There are a number of almost subliminal reasons I think the latter is a good choice.
Because Newsweek seems to be catering to a younger audience with it’s its irreverent, cocky (and now we can add, slipshod) style, of the two figures in the photo, the one more representative of the target demographic (a woman in denim and high heeled shoes) is apparently racing from the building as quickly as possible. (I especially like how her raised heel lines up with the front door.)
The paper the woman is trailing behind her ends up slicing through the “k” in the Newsweek logo. It’s a cut reflective of the slicing and dicing the publication has brought upon itself for its sloppy journalism.
As if the police were called to respond to this egregious journalistic crime, the window of the building is secured with caution tape.
There is also masking tape over the crack in the street front window. This conjures the impression that someone (inspired by the right wing blogosphere?) tried to express their feelings with a brick. Or, it could just suggest that the place is cracking up.
…Of course, just the fact the photo is shot from curb level associates the news organization with dirt.
(edit: 5/17/05 9:18am PST)
(image: Mary Altaffer/AP. May 17, 2005 in YahooNews and about 25 other places)