Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Picture Depicts Actual Person

Almost all of the awards out there that are taken "seriously" (as seriously as you can take something that is awarded subjectively) are for things that are done well. What we as a people need are awards that are for things done like crap. These awards need to be handed out at a huge ceremony. There needs to be a red carpet. There needs to be 'round the clock cable news coverage. But instead of getting a trophy, the winners are immediately shipped off to some sort of deserted island which will eventually be completely inhabited solely by winners of the P.O.S. Awards.

Let's start with the Journalism category. I only have one nomination right now. I could dig a bit for competition to this nominee, but I doubt that I'd find a serious contender. So, without any further ado, here is my nomination for the P.O.S. Journalism Award:

Over there at something called truthout is an article by a chap by the name of Dahr Jamail. I'm not including Mr. Jamail in my nomination process here, as I am going to give the benefit of the doubt and assume that he did not have a hand in the part of the process that went horribly awry over there. His article is a horrific story about a one US Army Specialist Alexis Hutchinson. Spec. Hutchinson is to be deployed to Afghanistan. She has not been able to find someone to take care of her 11-month old child, Damani while she is gone. (Hutchinson is a single mother. There is no mention in the article of a father, even though one would seemingly have to exist. Hutchinson's family members have their own health issues and are unable to care for an infant as well.) She did not show up when her plane left for Afghanistan. Thus, because this is the most reasonable thing for the Army to do, she was arrested and her son was placed with Child Protective Services. She faces up to a year in jail. Sure. That makes perfect sense. What. The. Hell.

This whole story is a mess. But it's not as much of a mess as the way that they reported it on truthout. Look what they did. Behold!

Yes, yes. That's heartbreaking isn't it. It's also extremely odd and completely ridiculous when you've seen a picture of US Army Specialist Alexis Hutchinson and her SON Damani. Wait. What now? Isn't that a picture of them? Uh, no. This is, behold!

Wait a minute. So, for some reason, truthout doesn't have access to Google and couldn't come up with an actual photo of Spec. Hutchinson and her child so they went with some sort of stock photo for effect? And underneath they went with the caption of "A soldier with her child"? Do they even know if that's really that soldier's child? Do they even know if that soldier was being deployed or returning home? (Usually, you see the crying like in that picture upon return, not upon departure. Granted, I have NO idea which one it is. Purely speculating is what I'm up to.) How asinine is that?

Quick! Someone accuse them of being racist! They didn't want to show a black soldier, so instead they showed a white soldier. Quick! Hurry! Before people figure out that they are not racist, they're only completely incompetent and have no idea how to run The Google!

What's the purpose of a photo that is not of the actual person in the story? I have never understood that. I mean, I get having stock photos for some sort of advertising or display or whatever. I don't think that all of those folks in those Verizon commercials are actually Verizon customers, but they don't need to be because it isn't relevant to the depiction of the product. Is a picture that is actually of the person that the story about necessary? Why, yes. YES IT IS! Why bother using actual pictures of actual people EVER if you're going to do crap like this? Why not just have a big file of photos (I'm sure that truthout could get their employees to pose for them) and just rotate through those. Man smiling. Woman scorned. Child playing ball. School being taught. Work being attended. Dog wagging tail. Cat playing with yarn. Building from afar. No need to use the actual subjects from actual stories. Noooo! That's so old school!

This is just such a P.O.S. excuse for journalism at any level I don't know what else to say. I'd like to know the rationale behind not using an actual photo of Spec. Hutchinson and her child. I'm doubting that it's a cost issue, as the photos for other stories that I've read were provided by Spec. Hutchinson herself. It's not like they had to license it from Getty Images or anything. They're either just lazy, incompetent or both. Whatever the reason, it's inexcusable. Thus, truthout being my leading candidate for the winner of the P.O.S. Journalism Award. If a serious contender emerges any time soon, I'll let you know (but don't hold your breath.)

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