You are the editor: the ‘Nazi salute’ photo

Unwittingly, perhaps, but the nation’s newspaper editors who were asleep at the switch today have proven the value of good newspaper editors.

What’s happening in this photograph from the Associated Press?

LM Otero/Associated Press

Obviously, it’s a group of kids giving a Nazi salute. Except that it’s not.

It took a few hours before the Associated Press put a corrected caption out to accompany the story on an anti-gay group, Trail Life USA, described as “the new Christian-based alternative that excludes openly gay boys.”

The boys weren’t giving the Nazi salute. They were singing some sort of song that involved arm movements and the photographer snapped the image at an inopportune time.

By the time the AP issued its clarification, it was already zipping across the social media sites, to the astonishment of those who posted and reposted it.

That it implies something quite different from what it was is undeniable, which makes it odd that so many news sites ran the picture, or didn’t replace it entirely once the Associated Press called it to their attention. USA Today chose to drop the image and use others, instead.

Others insist if it quacks like a duck, it’s a legitimate picture.

Says The New Civil Rights Movement website:

Are these AP outlets, including MSN and USA Today, whitewashing the real story here — not that there’s a new group in town, but what they’re learning, intentional or not, is unacceptable?

You are the editor? How do you handle this photograph for this story?

(h/t: Julia Schrenkler)