City Desk

Weekend in Review

Hey folks, great to have you back at WIR!

Let's dig into some stuff, right now: Hooray for Post Ombo Andy Alexander, who stood up for the paper's decisions to run various disturbing photos of the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake in very prominent spots. As usual when the paper does anything other than put politicians and more politicians on the front page, people get pissed.

Here's David Beck of Arlington, as featured on the "Free for All" page:

I take exception to your choice to run the Jan. 15 front-page photo showing the lifeless Haitian schoolgirl slumped in the rubble of her school. I understand the need to report the extent of the devastation and tragedy in Haiti, but showing the crushed child would be needlessly frightening for any young reader who saw it.

I'm sure that, as soon as the paper came into the house, thousands of families did the same thing as I did, hiding it so their children would not accidentally stumble on it. Nothing could be done, however, about the newspaper racks throughout the Washington area.

Tragedy and death are part of this world, and children need to learn about them, but that photo's sudden appearance was not the way to do it.

Alexander notes that truth and reality need to be treated with immediacy, or something like that. And he's right. Somehow, people feel that nothing unpalatable should ever appear on the front page of newspapers, because they can't prepare for that. I've heard that same sentiment expressed with respect to certain covers that Washington City Paper has produced.

My take: Yes, news organizations should be careful about the images and language they thrust into the public eye via street boxes. No, news organizations cannot guarantee that they'll never shock, upset, or offend people with those images and language. Sometimes it's going to happen, and sometimes it's going to happen for a good reason. Haiti's catastrophe gets over the bar by a good couple of feet.

Now on to the NFL: Finally the playoffs yield an excellent game, a balanced contest with high-caliber play on "O" and "D." But as well as both the Vikes and the Saints played on Sunday night, the best players in the whole affair were announcers Troy Aikman and Joe Buck. What they lack in personality when compared to, say, the classic Madden-Summerall team, they make up for in poise and expertise. Witness the third-quarter play on which Saints defender Anthony Hargrove slammed Vikes QB and Drama King Brett Favre to the turf. The announcers had a disagreement, with Buck saying that Hargrove had violated NFL rules that bar lifting and slamming; Aikman thought it a legit hit. I couldn't decide, but I loved, just loved, the smart and extemporaneous and calm little debate that Aikman and Buck pulled off in the midst of a critical playoff game. Here's just one of the tweets out there on this question: "Troy Aikman=3 superbowl rings, Joe Buck=weasel with microphone. How can Buck disagree w/Aikman re: football tackle method?"

And wouldn't you know: Favre seals it with an INT.

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    Word has it Wemple's been known to body slam CP staffers now and then.

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