A Subtle and Not-So-Subtle Message

In recent days, Haredi residents of Jerusalem demonstrated against the controversial decision to open a parking lot on Saturday during the Jewish Sabbath, and against the way police handled the case of a haredi woman accused of starving her son.


On Thursday, AFP photographer Ahmad Gharabli snapped this photo of one such protester.


Afp

His caption is straightfoward enough:

An Ultra Orthodox Jewish man gestures during clashes with Israeli forces following demonstrations against the arrest of a woman accused of child abuse in Jerusalem on July 16, 2009. Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews clashed with police for a third day in protest at an ‘unjustified’ arrest of a religious woman and the opening of a parking lot on Saturdays, the Jewish holy day of rest. AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images

Fast forward to today, where the same photo appeared in The Australian‘s coverage of — the US-Israel disagreement over construction in eastern Jerusalem. The caption’s Down Under version doesn’t even say what the demonstration is about.

An Ultra Orthodox Jewish man gestures during clashes with Israeli forces following demonstrations in Jerusalem.

So Australian readers could assume this is an example of Israeli defiance of the US.


This isn’t the first time we’ve seen problems of photos unrelated to news stories come up. Last year, for example, Sky News removed an unbalanced photo montage it said had been auto-generated.


Now why would an editor juxtapose a story about Jewish development in eastern Jerusalem with an unrelated image of a haredi demonstrator flipping the bird? What subtle message does The Australian convey here?

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[sc:graybox ]Cherryl Smith, PhD, is professor emerita in rhetoric and composition at California State University, Sacramento. Her blog is Framing ...