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April 27, 2009

Buzzing Manhattan

McLane AF1 NYC.jpg

I don’t know what kind of photos the Pentagon was looking for, or what they got, but this image — taken yesterday by one Jason McLane on his cell phone — seems to have emerged, as I look around the web, as the signature shot of yesterday’s aerial misunderstanding over NYC. (For a cross section, here is a WSJ slide show of reader-supplied photos of the fly over, and here is the one the NYT ran.)

This one is a particularly macabre shot for a number of reason, including: a.) the grainy, captured-by-bystander quality; b.) the low orientation of the plane in what could loosely be imagined as an alignment to the building; c.) the sense of the fighter plane as either a second airliner further away, or the Air Force in pursuit of a hijack; and d.) the strange juxtaposition of the (phallic-looking) crane, which maybe (in a 9/11 do-over fantasy?) conjures a shoot-down scenario.

(image: Jason McLane via A.P.)

  • NS

    i’ve been asking myself WHY all day… it just seems like such a ham-fisted REMINDER.
    and doesn’t it seem like we are all entitled to see the official pentagon pictures from this “photo op”? if the whole ghastly thing was just a photo op, those photos had better be incredible.
    your post leads one to wonder, though, whether maybe the photo op was not for a pentagon photographer but for the citizens at large… nightmarish but somehow entirely plausible.

  • Cary Conover

    An airplane so big flying so low and banking so severely…ham-fisted is exactly right.

  • Stan B.


  • Seitan Worshiper

    As someone who saw F-16s flying over my (suburban NY) neighborhood that awful day, I couldn’t agree more with the comments thus far.
    I also can’t help but wonder: if someone is trying to sabotage the Obama administration from within, they’re doing a heckuva job.

  • scott

    Don’t forget that the buildings the planes are flying toward evoke the architecture of the WTC, with vertical white lines.
    Wish I could take a cell phone photo that epitomizes anything. I can’t even do it with a Canon…

  • thomas

    I can’t wait to hear what Elizabeth Wurtzel has to say about this.

  • Vulture Breath

    This is such a non-story to me. Get over it. Someone made a faux pas. He apologized. No one got hurt. But Rush Limbaugh sure is flogging the hell out of this today.

  • Ursula L

    I find it interesting that the memory everyone jumps to is 9/11, and not the much more recent emergency landing on the Hudson. Another case of a low-flying plane over the skyline of NYC, and one which got enough publicity that it should have come to mind when one saw the plane. (Not instead of remembering 9/11, but certainly in addition to.)
    Likewise, I find it odd that there were no reports of people panicking to see a low-flying plane in NYC when the landing on the Hudson happened, yet the focus is on panic this time. It isn’t as if people knew that day that the low-flying plane they saw was making an emergency landing – yet they didn’t panic.
    There is something fishy going on here, with the way that this visual is being covered.

  • Joanne

    This is a ridiculously stupid mistake. Why didn’t the Obama administration just spend $300 on Photoshop rather than scaring thousands of people in New York??? Nice move, Caldera. Anyway, here’s a video i found today that shows how different news outlets are covering the story. Definitely worth a look:

  • NS

    if there’s any place that is less likely to “get over” a) images such as the one above, with similar photographs taken by hundreds if not thousands of panicking people, or b) the incident depicted, about which THE OFFICIAL PARTY LINE WAS “it was a photo-op,” i think it’s a blog dedicated to parsing photograph/images from the news.
    maybe blowhard radio pundits need to “get over it,” but i think it makes sense for bagnewsnotes to spend some time on this. don’t you think this is a textbook case of visual politics?

  • DanM

    I can’t bring myself to worry about the photo itself because I couldn’t be more appalled, astounded or livid about this stunt.
    I believe that a strict reading of the applicable laws could (and perhaps should) end up with an embarrassingly large group of people charged with terrorism.

  • Vulture Breath

    Probably because then people would be screaming about how an official photo had been photoshopped, was fake, and the Obama administration was trying to pull a fast one on us. That’s how these things work, isn’t it?
    I agree with you though, too much money was spent on it.

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