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Orthodox Jewish paper apologises for deleting Hillary Clinton

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1oregonobsessionz
May 15, 2011, 5:20pm Top

An Orthodox Jewish newspaper has apologised for digitally deleting an image of US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, and counterterrorism director Audrey Tomason, from a photograph of Barack Obama and his staff monitoring the raid by navy Seals that killed Osama bin Laden.

Doesn't really matter which religion you are dealing with, it's always about the women. Apparently the religious sensitivities of their readers might have been offended by learning that the Secretary of State is female.

2LolaWalser
May 15, 2011, 6:02pm Top

Aw, how harmful can it be to deny a fact or two, such as that women exist? When it's done for the greater glory of god, at least.

3lilithcat
May 15, 2011, 7:45pm Top

> 2

They aren't denying that women exist. They don't publish images of women because they consider it immodest.

What is curious about that, of course, is that they don't find images of men immodest, presuming either that women don't read the newspaper, or that women don't find images of men sexually arousing.

4drbubbles
Edited: May 15, 2011, 7:48pm Top

Lucky for them Hillary isn't prez. Their building would probably collapse from all of the wall-beating by editorial foreheads.

ETA
>3 lilithcat:

My understanding was that they consider photos of men & women together immodest. So it's all photos of women?

5LolaWalser
May 15, 2011, 7:54pm Top

#3

Yes, I know, but I'd say that when you present images of a world from which women are deliberately absent, you are in effect denying their existence.

Whoever is seeing such a picture isn't thinking "oh yes, of course there was also Lady X and Lady N present". They are seeing a world without women.

6lilithcat
May 15, 2011, 7:58pm Top

> 4

It's images of women, period. See the article: The Forward's managing editor, Lil Swanson, said that removing women from photographs is "in keeping with" the belief of some ultra-Orthodox Jews that showing images of the female form is "immodest".

But it's ridiculous to suggest that the stricture against images means that they think readers would be "offended by learning that the Secretary of State is female" or that Hillary being president would be a problem for their reporting.

There's no need to exaggerate and misrepresent their views; they're absurd enough (in my opinion) already.

7LolaWalser
May 15, 2011, 8:08pm Top

If they were removing blacks from images, would it be possible to exaggerate their views too?

8Phocion
Edited: May 15, 2011, 8:16pm Top

I'm more concerned that they altered a photo than with the gender bias. I would expect the Jews to understand the dangers of historic revisionism better than most, but it's good to be reminded that no matter how minor or marginalized a group is, they can still act stupid.

9prosfilaes
May 15, 2011, 8:16pm Top

#6: The logical conclusion to objecting to women in photos is that they would object to women in the public eye where they would be photographed. You couldn't be a secretary of state in a society that denied you the right to appear in photographs; that's part of the job.

10drbubbles
Edited: May 15, 2011, 8:59pm Top

>4 drbubbles:

or that Hillary being president would be a problem for their reporting.

There's no need to exaggerate and misrepresent their views; they're absurd enough (in my opinion) already.


Sorry; I clearly wasn't clear. I meant that they'd have to go the term with no pics of the president,* and that would surely be frustrating.

* ETA originally thought just a very few pics of the prez, and none with her doing much of anything presidential; I would think none whatsoever would be worse.

11lilithcat
May 15, 2011, 9:00pm Top

> 10

Maybe so. But then, some of us are old enough (though we may hate to admit it) to remember the days when newspapers didn't have any photographs whatsoever.

12drbubbles
May 15, 2011, 9:09pm Top

Fair enough. But photojournalism plays some role in their publishing, or this thread wouldn't exist.

13LolaWalser
May 15, 2011, 9:09pm Top

Btw, I took oregonobsessionz's remark to be sarcastic in tone.

#11

Some of us remember when the NY Times published only in black & white!

14jjwilson61
Edited: May 15, 2011, 10:44pm Top

Di Tzeitung said it has a "long standing editorial policy" of not publishing women's images. It explained that its readers "believe that women should be appreciated for who they are and what they do, not for what they look like, and the Jewish laws of modesty are an expression of respect for women, not the opposite".

What a bizarre statement. Shouldn't men also be appreciated for who they are and what they do, not for what they look like? By that logic they shouldn't publish photographs of men either.

15Jesse_wiedinmyer
May 15, 2011, 10:59pm Top

“Nothing remains of Clementis but the fur hat on Gottwald’s head.”

16Citizenjoyce
May 16, 2011, 1:22am Top

I don't know that I would characterize Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright or Golda Mier as particularly modest people. Does that mean that since they're women they're defective?

17Jesse_wiedinmyer
May 16, 2011, 1:54am Top

Since they're women? Or as women they are?

18WholeHouseLibrary
May 16, 2011, 2:00am Top

Woman = Man 1.1

19ed.pendragon
May 16, 2011, 4:35am Top

I wonder if readers of Di Tzeitung only read that paper, never watch TV or films, never spot posters that contradict their concept of the correct way to respect women.

The real nub of the problem is that men must be protected from anything that stimulates their libido and causes them to sin. Poor things, that they can't help themselves.

20Jesse_wiedinmyer
May 16, 2011, 4:53am Top

Stupid graven images.

21Citizenjoyce
May 16, 2011, 5:02am Top

I would ask how men can be considered the stronger sex when they need so much protection; but since women are defective by nature I guess poor weak men win by default. Ah, religion, it's so uplifting.

22ed.pendragon
May 16, 2011, 6:33am Top

The shock, for me, was the fact that a paper felt they could get away with airbrushing women out of photo that was accessible to all and sundry via other media. If they felt they had to excise the two women there surely they could have just cropped the image.

In fact, what message, what story is the photo conveying? There are so many levels of narrative that judicious cropping the image would easily have solved their false dilemma. The rapt faces must have recalled the global audience registering disbelief as they watched the images of 9/11 unrolling on their TV screens. The hunched figure of Obama, normally pictured as a figure of power, shown to be as much an observer of events he had set in motion as anybody else, only marginallyprimus inter pares. The power of moving images that all the faces intently watch the screen rather than mugging at the stills camera recording the scene. These and other scenarios suggest themselves more than that the observer will be 'distracted' by the only two women in the shot (one so distant that you can hardly make her out).

The act of air-brushing is absolutely indefensible.

23justjim
May 16, 2011, 6:51am Top

I think cropping the image would also be against the terms of the licence under which it was released.

24ed.pendragon
May 16, 2011, 7:08am Top

>23 justjim:
Ah, fair enough. Then I would suggest that the paper should not have gone with the image in the first place.

25dtw42
Edited: May 16, 2011, 11:02am Top

>23 justjim:: But airbrushing people out of it isn't?

26jjwilson61
May 16, 2011, 11:12am Top

From the article,

It issued a statement saying its photo editor had not read the "fine print" accompanying the White House photograph that forbade any changes

27paradoxosalpha
May 16, 2011, 11:13am Top

> 23, 25

Yeah, I can't imagine the license that would forbid cropping but permit wholesale photoshop alteration of the figures in the frame. It seems that cropping or blocking out the "immodest elements" of the image would be a far more responsible exercise of journalism. If I were to edit under such ludicrous constraints, I think the best answer would be to put opaque blocks over them, and include a caption that listed them among the other subjects left-to-right, remarking "(editorially screened from photo)" of the women.

As it is, all official denials notwithstanding, the altered photo does effect an attempt to write the women out of the events.

28justjim
May 16, 2011, 11:17am Top

>25 dtw42: If you look closely, you might see the word "also" in my comment.

29dtw42
Edited: May 16, 2011, 11:19am Top

>27 paradoxosalpha:: Well, quite. A black censorship box says "there was a woman here but we'd better not let you see her in case you get all flustered". An airbrushed space says "woman? What woman?"

>23 justjim:/28: Yes, indeed. My apologies.

30lilithcat
May 16, 2011, 11:18am Top

> 27

the altered photo does effect an attempt to write the women out of the events.

I don't think that's necessarily the case. It's interesting that in all of this brouhaha, no one has thought to reprint the actual article that accompanied it, or other coverage from the paper.

Without that, without knowing what was said about Secretary Clinton's (or any other woman's) involvement, it's not possible to say that there was "an attempt to write women out".

31paradoxosalpha
May 16, 2011, 12:01pm Top

> 28

Right, okay.

> 30

I respectfully disagree. Many newspaper readers look at photos without reading the accompanying articles. Newspaper editors know this fact quite well. Photos make a statement, and in this case, the statement is one that excludes women from a narrative in which they actually played important roles.

32lilithcat
May 16, 2011, 12:14pm Top

People who don't read the articles shouldn't expect to get the full story.
The saying that "a picture is worth 1,000 words" is just flat out wrong when it comes to the news.

33prosfilaes
May 16, 2011, 1:33pm Top

#23: Except that the White House has no copyright over the picture, and thus no right to impose any license on it, for good or evil.

34paradoxosalpha
Edited: May 16, 2011, 1:40pm Top

> 32 People who don't read the articles shouldn't expect to get the full story.

That's all well and good, but as I already pointed out, newspaper editors do expect--quite accurately--a significant portion of those who view the picture not to read the article, and yet to infer a story from the image. Neither those editors (nor you) can convincingly excuse their misbehavior by appealing to the slothfulness of the media consumer.

35jjwilson61
May 16, 2011, 5:08pm Top

34> Again, It issued a statement saying its photo editor had not read the "fine print" accompanying the White House photograph that forbade any changes.

It doesn't say that the "fine print" came from the White House, but I presume that it did come from whoever holds the copyright for the photograph (otherwise this why would the newspaper issue an apology?).

36drbubbles
May 16, 2011, 8:06pm Top

>34 paradoxosalpha:

That may be true for the majority of papers, but I suspect—based on assumptions, prejudices, and what I've heard about the paper in question—they have a small readership whose practices they know quite well (and likewise, I'm sure). I doubt it's at all interested in anything like a typical media consumer.

37Taphophile13
May 16, 2011, 9:32pm Top

I believe that typically the photographer holds the copyright.

38prosfilaes
May 16, 2011, 9:37pm Top

#37: Only if the photographer works for himself. If he works for someone else, they own the copyright; if he works for the White House, there is no copyright in the US.

39justjim
Edited: May 16, 2011, 10:30pm Top

I withdraw my statement at >23 justjim:

From http://www.usa.gov/copyright.shtml

A United States government work is prepared by an officer or employee of the United States government as part of that person's official duties.

It is not subject to copyright in the United States and there are no copyright restrictions on reproduction, derivative works, distribution, performance, or display of the work. Anyone may, without restriction under U.S. copyright laws:

reproduce the work in print or digital form;
create derivative works*;
perform the work publicly;
display the work;
distribute copies or digitally transfer the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending.


*My emphasis.

So unless the photograph was taken by an independent contractor, which I would consider unlikely given the security clearances that would be required, the White House is claiming rights that it does not have.

ie. The original photograph was released by the White House with the strict instructions that it must "not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House". Sydney Morning Herald May 9, 2011

Edit: I haven't seen any news stories covering this aspect. I would have expected US newspapers to jump right on it.

40lilithcat
May 16, 2011, 10:43pm Top

Question is: is Pete Souza (the photographer) an independent contractor: "Works prepared for the U.S. government by independent contractors may be protected by copyright, which may be owned by the independent contractor or by the U.S. government."

41prosfilaes
May 16, 2011, 11:15pm Top

#40: He's "the current chief White House photographer for President Barack Obama." Wired* says the photos are PD and have been so identified on Flikr. They do have a right to insist that advertisers not suggest approval or endorsement of the President, but that's completely independent of copyright law or whether or not they use the photos.

* http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/05/flickr-creates-new-license-for-white-hous...

42keristars
Edited: May 16, 2011, 11:36pm Top

If you want, here's the photo with the original caption that the White House released: http://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/5680724572/in/photostream

This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

ETA: I had the thread open and took a while to get around to reading/responding, and when I finally did, prosfilaes had already replied with the Wired link.

43dtw42
May 17, 2011, 3:38am Top

It would be an interesting legal point to see whether cropping counts as manipulation: I can certainly envisage that some would hold the opinion that it does, others that it doesn't.
(Quite apart from whether or not the WH has the right to impose those restrictions.)

44EricJT
May 17, 2011, 6:14am Top

> 19
"The real nub of the problem is that men must be protected from anything that stimulates their libido and causes them to sin. Poor things, that they can't help themselves."

But what about gay men? Don't our libidos merit guarding?
Or are we just naturally stronger than straights?

But then again, perhaps none of us are orthodox Jews either :-)

45ed.pendragon
May 17, 2011, 7:18am Top

All the major monotheistic religions see homosexuality as sinful, so they won't be even considering that gays need their libidos guarding where images of other men are concerned; it's just not on their radar. And as for lesbians...

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