New York Times photo editors liken House of Representatives to screaming ‘metalheads’ in apparent web gaffe
by Arlen Parsa
The New York Times website Friday published an article by staff writers Jeff Zeley and Michael Luo about the recent rebuke that the House of Representatives sent to the White House condemning President Bush’s escalation plan.
The only problem was, the photograph that the Times website published prominently above the article was not of Congressmen debating Iraq– but instead of a group of grungy-looking heavy metal fans screaming at a ‘Slayer’ concert in the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan.
The photograph of the unruly concert-goers graced the Times’ website under the serious headline “A Divided House Denounces Plan for More Troops.”
The Times’ article, which was published at 10:04PM Eastern time and will appear in Saturday’s paper, reported that the debate in the House of Representatives “illustrated how the partisan divide over the war has deepened.” Perhaps so, but a quick check of C-SPAN assures The Daily Background that the US House of Representatives has not, in fact, devolved into a pack of bearded, long-haired, screaming ‘Slayer’ fans.
The photograph of the screaming heavy metal fans, taken by NYT photographer Michael Falco on Thursday, was originally was meant to grace a music review which will also appear in the Saturday Times. (The Times had a mixed review of Slayer, calling it “completely unreasonable music” but also “impressive.”)
Although it is easy to explain away the appearance of the photograph as a simple mistake, the NYT website is among the best-staffed most highly-trafficked websites on the entire internet– receiving nearly 1,000 visitors every minute, according to data available on a popular website ranking directory.
It seems that editors could hardly have chosen a more inappropriate photograph to illustrate the sombre Congressional debate over the war in Iraq which lasted most of this week.
Shortly after 10:40EST, the Times replaced the photograph of “metalheads,” as the music review identified them, with a photograph of Speaker Pelosi waving to staffers on Capitol Hill after the debate over the Iraq vote in the House of Representatives.
Pelosi in the replacement photograph, unlike several concert-goers seen in the Times’ earlier photo choice, did not appear to have any tattoos. (At least not any visible ones.) Neither the Times’ website staff, nor public editor responded immediately to a request for comment or explanation.