Not sure if you’ve heard by now, but the United States killed Osama Bin Laden last week. A couple of days later, in a propaganda/awesome move, the White House released a picture of President Obama and his cabinet watching the raid on Osama’s compound in real time. Again, the picture is awesome.
The picture and the story spread across the world quickly. Every newspaper was reporting on it–including the Hasidic newspaper, Di Tzeitung. Except they left out something very specific–women. That’s right, Hillary Clinton, the Secretary State of the United States, and Audrey Tomason, the Director of Counterterrorism for the National Security Council, were photoshopped out of the photo. By the way, you’ve got to admit, their photoshop editor really is pretty good. It really does look like they were never there.
Of course, this type of thing gets noticed, especially with such an iconic photo clearly changed. And the uproar began. The uproar was the usual. It’s offensive to women. Hillary played such an important role in all this, etc., etc.
Listen, before I go on, I think it is absolutely absurd that they photoshopped the picture. But at the same time, I do (kind of) understand where they are coming from. The newspaper has a religious policy of not showing pictures of women. As horrible as it may sound to you and me, because I haven’t even spent a day inside the Hasidic world, who am I to judge their values?
But here is where I’m lost. Why did they feel the need to show the picture in the first place? Sure, the picture is cool, but it is by no means necessary in the grand scheme of reporting the story. Just show a picture of Osama, or his compound, or even Obama making the announcement that Osama was dead.
You don’t want to show pictures of women because it might offend some of your readers? Fine. Be that way. But why spend all that time photoshopping women out a photo when you don’t even have to show the photo at all?
Final point. What would they have done if Hillary has won in 2008? Would they just show empty stages every time she gave an important speech? Would they just pretend McCain had won? Or would they just tell their readers that Hillary was a ghost?
Pronounced: khah-SID-ik, Origin: Hebrew, a stream within ultra-Orthodox Judaism that grew out of an 18th-century mystical revival movement.