September 14, 2008

Re: The Atlantic, and Other Publishing Mishaps

Gerard has the whole story of how The Atlantic got screwed by freelance photographer Jill Greenberg during and after her McCain cover shoot.

I'm sticking it out for right now with The Atlantic; I do not believe the editors and art directors who work for a publication should "vet" their independent contractors on the basis of their politics (though they do, all the time, in the other direction—I'll let that pass—one must go along to get along, and if you cannot laugh at the "we hate Bush" jokes, I guess you must get out of the kitchen—and I'm out, all right).

If the folks at The Atlantic ever use Jill Greenberg again, however, I'm cancelling my subscription, and taking their site out of my bookmark collection.

If they keep Andrew Sullivan on among their bloggers, and/or do not take on any center-right bloggers whatsoever to balance out all of their center-left-to-left-left bloggers in the next six months, I'm cancelling. (And no disrespect is intended to their stable of weblogs; other than crazy-Ivan Sullivan, I like their crew a lot: McArdle, Coates, and Fallows, especially; but taken as a whole, the ship is . . . listing).

And if I continue to go to their website only to see that two of the five revolving "top stories" are critical about Sarah Palin—and none are critical of Democrats, and the cartoon is also anti-Palin—I'm cancelling.

I can take reading contrary points of view; in fact, I want it. I want intellectual honesty. I want challenge.

What I do not want, however, it to subsidize—with money, circ numbers for the paper version, or uniques for the online edition—a publication that wants to shade information all in one direction. (Unless that is its clear editorial mission, as with National Review, Weekly Standard—or, for that matter, The New Republic—or even, let's face it— Time or Newsweek.)

McCain's people should have been suspicious when Greenberg picked the "bad" angle on McCain that exaggerated his enlarged gland to make him look ugly.

Between egregious behavior from an Atlantic freelancer to extreme bias in interviewing and downright malevolence in editing at ABC, it hasn't been a great week for the mainstream media.

Hey, Guys? The audience is listening.

And if you've just cancelled your subscription to Us because of their slimy visual hit-job on Sarah Palin last week, the folks at People want your money: Check out the McCains on the current cover, and People's visible archives, which show clearly profiles of both the Clintons and the Reagans as cover stories—the subtext being, we aren't in this to take sides; we serve the readers rather than ourselves.

I bought a copy to have and to hold, just on general principle. I'm not a big celebrity-culture girl, but one wants to reward those who are making an honest attempt to keep their politics out of the workplace.


UPDATE: Ace is outraged!

Geez: Do you have any idea how complex an operation a high-end magazine is, Buddy? Have you any notion how many different editors, circulation bigwigs, publishers, and the like get "veto power" over a magazine cover?

Sez Acey:

Vanderleun has a different take on this than I do. He seems to know more "facts," but so what? I'm more confident in my assertions. That's all that really matters.

He puts the blame on Greenberg. I say nuts to that. There was no "betrayal" of The Atlantic here. She did what her masters wanted. She only betrayed them by letting the cat out of the bag.

Sure, Excitable Ace. The photo editor probably said, "take the out-takes home with you. Play around with P-Shop. And don't forget to blog about it."

FWIW, last month's issue featured portraits of both McCain and Obama, and McCain's was for more flattering.

We don't fight flagrant, dishonest bias with flagrant, dishonest bias of our own . . . do we? But don't mind Ace; he's experiencing "Andrew Derangement System."

On the other hand, sometimes The Lord of Reasonably Priced Spirits turns his evil powers to the cause of good: here's a collaboration between him and one of his "Morons," Lee.

legionposter2.jpg

Little did Jill Greenberg realize what she was unleashing upon the world—nor how much the world would love it.


UPDATE 2: Michelle suggests that they should have Googled Greenberg before using her, though that might prove impractical over the long-run: as it is, it takes a lot of time to look through all those porfolios. I could see that someone might know that this woman was a staunch Democrat, but also be happy with her shots of centrist Republicans such as Schwarzenegger, and conclude that she could handle an assignment that involved another centrist Republican.

It's my hope that no respectable magazine hires her after the way she betrayed The Atlantic. Even those who share her politics, or mainstream mags (but I repeat myself).

Posted by Attila Girl at September 14, 2008 06:29 PM | TrackBack
Comments

Did a loose cannon photographer add that
"Porn and Adultery" slash bar/banner too? The photographer did what she was told to do. She will be canned for holding back photos they paid for. What price will the management pay?

Save all of those postage-pre-paid subscription cards until the Yellow pages and all their competitors start leaving their wares in your complex. Tape securely in two directions, attach the cards, then post them.

Until you decide, of course.

Posted by: Darrell at September 14, 2008 07:41 PM


Remember: I'm still waiting for them to let Sully go, and to add a think whisper of balance to their remaining stable of webloggers--most of whom are intellectually honest, but all of whom are at least slightly left of center.

And I haven't seen Steyn in their pages lately; nor Caitlin Flanagan. Styen usually does obituaries, so if I don't see something next month on David Foster Wallace by him, it'll either mean they aren't using him any more, or that his current project is too demanding (or that he never finished Infinite Jest, which is awfully on the long side).

My mother says Science News is okay, but more "dumbed down" than it used to be. I told her that since my science background was a good deal lighter than hers, "dumbed down" might not be a horrible thing.

Posted by: Attila Girl at September 15, 2008 01:35 AM




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