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August 30, 2005

Picture these captions

Via Teresa and Patrick Nielsen-Hayden, guess what prompted the difference in these two Yahoo News photo captions (click links for photos):

"Two residents wade through chest-deep water after finding bread and soda from a local grocery store."

"A young man walks through chest deep flood water after looting a grocery store."

Posted by Chris Clarke at August 30, 2005 10:10 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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Maybe it's the duffle bag full of loot?
Maybe the photog watched what happened.
Maybe it's just racism.

I'm not jumping to conclusion #3 without evidence.

Posted by: carpundit at August 31, 2005 05:55 AM
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carpundit, what is the difference between "finding" groceries in a closed shop and "looting" groceries in a closed shop. Either way, it's taking stuff from its owner without permission. Whether that's justified or not under the circumstances is debatable (I would probably say "yes"), but the difference in adjectives can hardly be based on the some observation of different behaviour.

Posted by: Paul Tomblin at August 31, 2005 06:34 AM
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Well, by all means let's apply some healthy skepticism, but let's do so across the board. The kid's "duffle bag of loot", which appears to be a trash bag or two, is floating, so he obviously doesn't have the cash register in there, but maybe he's got that tied to his waist. Meanwhile we've got no idea what's in those backpacks, so per the above we assume it's something too heavy to float, or we suspend our judgement in both cases.

I'd have thought "Different people wrote the captions," or "The second was written after some sensitivity to the plight of people trapped without food and water developed and they forgot change the first caption," might be a better defense. But in any event skin tone is an adequate explanation of a curious distinction, not evidence of runaway credulity.

Posted by: doghouse riley at August 31, 2005 10:36 AM
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