Wednesday, August 31, 2005

AP's subtlely racist coverage in New Orleans 

White people "find."

Black people "loot."

Splash, out


UPDATE: Turns out there was nothing to it.

"When we see people go into businesses and come out with goods, we call it looting," said Santiago Lyon, AP's director of photography. "When we just see them carrying things down the road, we call it carrying items."

Lyon said the photographer who took Tuesday's photo, Dave Martin, had seen the man go into the store and take out the items.

As for the other photo, Getty said it stood by its caption and its photographer, Chris Graythen, who says the subjects of his photo were simply picking up items floating by in the dank waters.

And Graythen, frustrated by the controversy, wrote an emotional response on a photojournalism Web site, SportsShooter.com.

"These people were not ducking into a store and busting down windows to get electronics," he wrote. "They picked up bread and cokes that were floating in the water. They would have floated away anyhow."

Consider the post retracted. My apologies to Yahoo, the AP and the AFP.

Sorry Jason, but you missed it on this one. That's been going around the Blogosphere a lot, but an important point is missed: the first caption is NOT from the AP. It's from AFP - Agence France-Presse. So it's just a matter of how blunt the AP is willing to be vs. the AFP. No racism involved.
I'm not sure about that. Unfortunately, the average European, the French in particular, are more racist than the average American. At least they were in the late 80's and early 90's when I was there. They're just more adept at downplaying it into normal tones than the Americans that choose to express their ignorance.
Just the use of the word 'find' is odd...seems a deliberate attempt to paint it as something other than looting.

On that note...is it looting when you do it for survival? Is it looting when cops do it?
Have to disagree here -- there's a difference between finding a floating loaf of bread, and going into store and looting said loaf of bread.

I'd imagine there are a lot of food items floating across the entire city, inasmuch as the entire city is covered by water.

Both of the items this lady is carrying, are items that float.
Yahoo has taken the pics down now, citing the controversy, but they are up on Snopes.

I think the construction in the 'white' photo cpation seemed off - "finding"..."from"..."a local store". Seems like maybe looting or another word was substituted out, b/c some frog at AFP doesn't know what preposition goes with "finding". (in, at...)
At the Volakh Conspiracy

Mr. Volakh is a professor who teaches law at UCLA. He says it is not against the law to take what you need in the event of a life threatening emergency. Some of the reports of "police looting" were based on requests to the police by a bunch of Doctors who had been at an HIV convention to get medical supplies for for a makeshift clinic they set up in a bar. Again, I would suspect that is also legal, or if against some law will never be prosecuted. What is worrying is the number of gang members and criminals who didn't leave the city specifically so they could loot. This is why evacuation plans need to be very carefully and completely executed in an emergency. The authorities were too busy looking after survivors to take on the gang memebers. Which is a perfect reason to get rid of all the professional criminals now. One of the police officers said the people causing trouble are the same ones who always cause trouble.
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