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January 01, 2007

The NYT's 2006 Questionable 'Icons'

Michele McNally, assistant managing editor of photography for the New York Times, explains that the Times' Year in Pictures online feature is meant to include "images that become hopefully icons" in that they are "memorable," "historical," "sociological, sort of define what people do, what people do to each other" "psychological, it needs to have some sort of emotional impact" and "aesthetic."

Media observers who followed last summer's war between Israel and Hezbollah will immediately recognize the following image, which appears in Year in Pictures, as an "icon," but probably not in the way that McNally intended:


Indeed, the blogosphere considers the Green Helmet Guy an "icon," -- an icon representing Hezbollah's manipulation of the media.

Other observations about the Year in Pictures:

* In one photographic essay, Tyler Hicks maintains that "Lebanese Red Cross workers have been hit while driving their ambulances." Back in July, the Times was apparently duped like many other media outlets during the fog of war. What's the Gray Lady's excuse five months later for continuing to report this disputed claim as fact?

* Although there are images of Israeli soldiers with weaponry, there are no images of, and very little comment about, Hezbollah fighters. Instead, the "historical" feature places a heavy emphasis on Lebanese civilian casualties, without mentioning that Lebanese claims about the number of civilian casualties have themselves become history.

(Hat tip: Ehud R)

Posted by TS at January 1, 2007 02:45 AM


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