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June 25, 2008

“Locating” Those Head Scarves


Sorry for the previous write-up here.  Apparently The BAG was a little sleep deprived last evening.

What I was originally referring to was the image accompanying last Thursday’s NYT Obama headscarf story (which also called out the Obama campaign for excessive stagecraft and refusing to playing ball with the press).  My thought was that the accompanying picture — with a detached looking Obama and emphasizing the crowd behind him at the June 16th Gore endorsement rally in Detroit — seemed to be hinting at the absence of the Muslim women.

With that background in mind, my focus switched to Tuesday’s NYT front page image (above).

Besides my feeling that the accompanying article“Muslim Voters Detect A Snub From Obama” — represented a five-day-old effort to keep the story alive, it also bothered me that The Times seemed to be speaking for the Arab-American community in detailing the perceived slight.  Beyond that, however, I thought this photo represented a heavy-handed gesture, using a photo taken last February at a large Obama rally to personify the two “disappeared” Islamic Obama supporters.

(image: Emmanuel Dunand/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images. February 2008.

  • Matt Platte

    Is that a really real photo? It looks like Mystery Science Theater 3000 to me.

  • quotheraven

    “mi’ror,mirr’r to ward the wall: who’re the deadest of us all?”

  • catfood

    Not that it makes a lot of difference but they are not in the rafters. They appear to be at the front of the second tier, so let’s call it the middle of the bus. Also, the camera exaggerates the distance between the women and the stage.
    If these were the same women who were asked to move and odds are against it, Detroit has a fairly large Arab-American community, I would say they definitely have cause for complaint. If, as I suspect these are simply two random audience members among the other tens of thousands, I’ll bet they were reasonably content with their seats, center stage and only halfway up.

  • donna

    It isn’t Obama’s job to do crowd control, and his people may have made a mistake. But either way, it would have been an Issue.
    The whole thing is very Rovian, as all the attacks have been, designed so an Issue is made out of it either way.
    Our politics will be a far better thing when that little vermin is gone.

  • Emily L. Ferguson

    The NYT was probably caught in a bind for an illustration – I suspect there are no other options.
    But they also had a responsibility, in my view, to caption the image “from a campaign event last January” or some such, so intelligent readers couldn’t complain, as we now are, that they were using the image to make an editorial point, rather than reporting the news.

  • catfood

    That is incredibly deceptive of the NYT, running a photo from several months ago that has nothing to do with the accompanying article, for no purpose other than making the candidate look bad.
    I hadn’t previously given it a lot of thought but now I have to believe that this type of juxtaposition of unrelated photo and text is a common practice. My already low expectations regarding the MSM are now even lower.

  • zatopa

    The use of this photo is a cheap shot –digging deep into agency photos for something somewhere with anonymous Muslim women in hijab, choosing one which frames them to look like a couple of outsiders watching something far distant from some kind of precipice (when as others have pointed out, these are not bad seats, and there is a very substantial Arab community in Detroit). Where it comes to representation of Muslim women in the news media, much progress has been over the past few years, but the use of this image by the NYT shows how entrenched the damaging cliches remain — Muslim woman as ever anonymous, ever in need of a strong hand to bring light into her deep darkness.

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