11-18-2018 11:51:36 AM -0800
11-18-2018 10:45:25 AM -0800
11-17-2018 03:06:03 PM -0800
11-16-2018 03:20:54 PM -0800
11-16-2018 10:35:46 AM -0800
It looks like you've previously blocked notifications. If you'd like to receive them, please update your browser permissions.
Desktop Notifications are  | 
Get instant alerts on your desktop.
Turn on desktop notifications?
Remind me later.
PJ Media encourages you to read our updated PRIVACY POLICY and COOKIE POLICY.

Stretch, grab a late afternoon cup of caffeine and get caught up on the most important news of the day with our Coffee Break newsletter. These are the stories that will fill you in on the world that's spinning outside of your office window - at the moment that you get a chance to take a breath.
Sign up now to save time and stay informed!

Passive-Aggressive Media 'Emerged' Bernie Sanders' Civil Rights Arrest Photo


In journalism school (Penn State '83) I learned to write in the active voice and to avoid passivity. Active sentences attract readers, and carry them through the story. The headline -- a truncated version of the story -- seduces the eye, beckons the mind and therefore needs the active voice even more.

So, this Chicago Tribune headline struck me like a door left ajar.

Chicago Tribune, Feb. 20, 2016

That's right -- a photo "emerged."

It bubbled up from the boiling, roiling Tribune archives. One imagines this happens with some regularity as the magma-like acetate churns, spewing out random images day by day.

Coincidentally, this "emerged" photo captured the moment that a young civil rights activist, who happens to be running for president of the United States now, got dragged off to the pokey in the midst of a protest.

The black-and-white image appeared like Brigadoon from the mist just a week before the Democratic South Carolina primary.

Hillary Clinton's campaign touts that contest as her "firewall," after she felt "the Bern" in Iowa and New Hampshire. She's slated to win big in the South because black voters reportedly love the Clintons and have never heard of Sanders, the blanched senator from the ivory state of Vermont.

Hillary Clinton's reputation as "a fighter" for black people arrives at her doorstep unearned. Bernie Sanders actually owns a substantive record of civil rights activism.

But this story isn't about Bernie or Hillary. It's about the Chicago Tribune's passive-aggressive reporting.

Take this sentence, for example, that appears in the second paragraph.

An acetate negative of the photo was found in the Tribune's archives, said Marianne Mather, a Chicago Tribune photo editor.

Note how Ms. Mather didn't hunt for the picture, nor did she produce it at the request of another, but she merely "said" it "was found."

Who found it? Why? How? Who knows? What difference at this point does it make? Let's move on...