*From the images presented in the Ray Tensing case, it looks like media outlets are still behind on how to fairly portray black people.
On Friday (July 31), the Cincinnati Enquirer took note of the issue while reporting on an image of Ray Tensing in front of a flag that NBC and CNN ran Wednesday (July 29) along with a police mugshot of the unarmed Black man he fatally shot, Samuel DuBose.
At the time of the shooting, Tensing was a University of Cincinnati police officer. On Thursday (July 30), he plead not guilty on charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter pertaining to DuBose’s death, which occurred on July 19, Richard Prince’s Journal-isms noted as it highlighted the Enquirer’s story.
“Many social media commentators questioned why a man who’s been indicted for the most serious crime would be pictured in a patriotic milieu while a victim was portrayed at one of his life’s low points. Among the tweets and Facebook posts are those below. . . .,” the publication voiced.
The picture issue with Tensing and DuBose resonated with other online outlets as it became the top trending story Thursday on The Root, which focused on the situation with the following headline: “News Outlets Prove, Once Again, Their Photo Bias When It Comes to Black People Being Killed.”
Others mentioned in the Journal-isms story included alldigitocracy.org’s Jean Marie Brown, who pointed out the disconnection of DuBose’s picture to the story as it made it look like he was the person responsible for the shooting, not Tensing.
“The image of DuBose is completely unrelated to the story about how and why he died, and paints DuBose as a dangerous criminal, which supports the police officer’s now questionable narrative of being ‘in fear for his life.’ By looking at this image, if one didn’t know better, we’d think that it was DuBose who was indicted for murder, not Tensing. For the record, Tensing pleaded not guilty Thursday on charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter in the July 19 shooting death of DuBose,” Brown wrote Thursday about NBC’s tweet.
While the reaction to the images used for DuBose and Tensing is noticeable, Michael McCarter, interim editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer, acknowledged in a chronology that the NBC’s tweet and CNN’s error could stem more from “the availability of images and lack of sensitivity by particular employees than malice by ‘the media,’ Journal-isms stated while citing how Rehema Ellis, a black journalist for NBC’s “Today” show, ended up using pictures of a uniform-clad Tensing, while the picture they used of DuBois was of him in normal streetwear.
Although the Enquirer was sensitive in its use of images of Tensing and DuBose, McCarter touched on how obtaining suitable images could be challenging.
“We did avoid that controversy,” McCarter told Mije via email. “I would like to think that it’s because a visual editor is currently in the interim executive editor role (smile) but it is much more than that. The only photo available to us of Tensing early on was provided by the University [of Cincinnati, where Tensing worked.] He had not been booked (or charged) and as you can imagine we weren’t having much luck getting more than that.
“The DuBose image we used was a lower quality image that one of the photographers photographed during the funeral. One image was on a leaflet taped to the windshield of a car outside the funeral and another was from the funeral program.
“As a practice, we always try to get the most current photo(s) from the family if at all possible,” he continued. “A conversation did take place in our newsroom about the booking mug. The question was raised about why we were not using the ‘better’ image that was all over most media outlets. I noticed the ‘better’ image (in quality only) was his booking mug. I, along with a few of our editors, made the decision to NOT use a booking mug. It was irrelevant to this story and DuBose was the victim. You have to understand the power of images in situations like this.
McCarter goes on to point out that the initial image of Tensing was switched out for his mugshot as soon as it became available as well as pictures the Enquirer received from DuBose’s family.
“Once we had the booking mug of Tensing, we began the process of swapping that image out on our site and we made sure that his booking mug ran in print,” he said. We used other images provided by the family of [DuBose].”
Read/learn MORE at Richard Prince’s Journal-isms.