On Wednesday, a National Public Radio producer in Minnesota caught something on men’s style and fashion magazine Esquire‘s digital front page that would have been alarming on any day, but was truly shocking on Sept. 11, 2013, the twelfth anniversary of the 9/11/01 attacks.
The item originally appeared as a subfeature in the sidebar on the front page and was taken down some time within the past hour or so.
The reaction from left-leaning website Mediaite was to judge the major faux pas as nothing more than an unintentional “glitch.” From Mediaite:
And, clearly, Esquire did not mean to do this on purpose. If one were to ask the magazine what its most famous piece of original reporting has been over the past few decades, they would undoubtedly point to Tom Junod‘s 2009 exploration of the mysterious “falling man” tumbling to his death in one of the most harrowing photographs taken moments before the World Trade Center was reduced to rubble.
Anyone who knows anything about how digital publishing works also knows that Mediaite‘s attempt here to white wash is hogwash. Actual decisions by real people are made when assigning images to particular sections and items. Text copy has to be written to associate with those images; presumably there are adults at Esquire who are accountable for what runs on the website.
This particular image of a man plummeting desperately from the burning World Trade Center is easily recognized. The attempt at gallows humor made by Esquire‘s editorial staff and the teaser headline is just as easily recognized, and likely to offend many.
This is not the first time that Esquire has courted controversy in its editorial decisions on how to use terrorist attacks to gin up its readership among extreme left-oriented readers.
Some will remember that NW Daily Marker reported that on the morning of this year’s tragic Boston Marathon bombing, Esquire political blogger Charles Pierce looked into his crystal ball while victims were being tended to in Boston area trauma centers and found ample evidence that law enforcement should focus on right-wing extremists as perpetrators of the violence.
From Pierce’s post on April 15, the day of the bombing:
Obviously, nobody knows anything yet, but I would caution folks jumping to conclusions about foreign terrorism to remember that this is the official Patriots Day holiday in Massachusetts, celebrating the Battles at Lexington and Concord, and that the actual date (April 19) was of some significance to, among other people, Tim McVeigh, because he fancied himself a waterer of the tree of liberty and the like.
What is the antonym of omniscient?
UPDATE: The public reaction to Esquire’s decision to run the photo with the accompanying text prompted them to respond. The magazine’s “apology” is perhaps more disgusting than the initial offense.