Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Photos of friendly Muslims can totally get you in big trouble
Journalists take note: If you run pictures of Muslims in your paper on 9/11 who are happy celebrating Ramadan, or playing water polo, or doing anything at all except lobbing dynamite, people will be pissing at you.
Take this story in Maine. The Portland Press Herald ran a photo of local Muslims celebrating the end of Ramadan in the 9/11 edition of their paper.
Then, apparently, people complained because they showed NICE Muslims. So the paper ran an APOLOGY for not showing "both sides of the story."
Ramadan is news. Local activity is news. Local Muslims celebrating Ramadan locally is news. So you run a photo, and people get pissed off?
This sounds like bigotry. And a former staffer at the Press Herald and an editorial by their own columnist called bullshit on this embarrassing spectacle.
But it also makes me think of another event, and wonder if this is related or not. Before I took my job at the Jewish Voice & Herald of Rhode Island, I heard a story about an editor at another Jewish paper who got in trouble for running a Muslim photo. This time, it was, in their September 11 special issue, where they ran a picture of a Palestinian girl lighting a candle in remembrance for the victims who died on the Sept. 11 attacks. This was controversial because, in trying to come to terms with what the attack meant and what the world reaction to it was more like this (at right).
So did the peaceful picture go against the narrative the paper was trying to portray? Or was it simply inaccurate - was the picture of the girl not representative of the population, and therefore misleading? What do you think? Remember where you were - and what you were thinking - on Sept. 11, 2001. Which picture would you have run?