Attention to the Intention
Moore’s photo served to educate and galvanize the public in relation to immigration issues. Does the fact that the toddler was not separated from her mother matter, given that thousands of other children were?
Enlightenment and education are what the public look to gain from reputable news magazines, one such publication is TIME. To grab readers’ attention, news magazines tend to use images. Although words are powerful, it is images that often stick with audiences, and elicit a response. When there is an issue that is not given the attention it requires, drastic measures must be taken. A photo freezes a moment in time and allows for people to digest it with their thoughts and feelings. John Moore’s intention with the controversial image was precisely that, capture the emotion the child was displaying, and bring it to the audience to highlight an important issue (Lauricella, 2018). While TIME magazine’s use of the photo did not apply to the situation directly, the feelings and emotions that the photo represented were.
The editor-in-chief of TIME Edward Felsenthal despite issuing a correction defended the use of the photo (Lauricella, 2018). The truth is the child may not have been separated from her mother, but there are thousands of other children that have. The detainment of undocumented immigrants is a real issue that TIME has chosen to shine a light on, using an image to give readers an idea of what these children go through. The United States President Donald Trump popularized the term ‘fake news’, however; his use of the phrase is typically for the news he does not like (Leblanc, 2017). Fake news is when noticeably untrue information is presented as true, to mislead the public (Leblanc, 2017). When dissecting the purpose of the cover, it does not specifically fit any of the criteria for the types of fake news laid out by The Telegraph, it could be argued that it fits the type of fake news generated to support political interests (Leblanc, 2017). However, the purpose of this magazine cover is beyond political interests, it is about basic humanity, and showcasing the separation of children from their parents.
This photo may not be one of the many children separated from their parents, but it captures the distress they endure in that situation. The photo shows a little girl crying and afraid, which are emotions kids being kept away from their families share. The goal John Moore had in mind when taking the photo was to show how families are living in fear, the fear of being taken away from their loved ones. This is what TIME magazine hoped to accomplish by showing Donald Trump towering over a terrified little girl, how Trump’s vision for a great America has affected families, leaving them separated. This is not about fake news; it is about paying attention to the intention of TIME magazine. TIME showcased their integrity after they informed readers that the photo was not of a daughter taken away from her mother. They correctly defended the use of the image, as it is not completely related to the issue at hand, but the feelings exhibited are. The image of Aylan Kurdi’s body showcased how powerful photos are, they can be catalysts for change. While this image was not completely accurate, it sparked a conversation about immigration, using real emotions of a girl in fear, which is a feeling shared by thousands of children, who are torn apart from their families. The reality of the situation cannot be ignored; the distress of thousands should be not outweighed by the validity of an image.
Lauricella, S.,(2018) “Case Study: Does the Photo Fit the News? The Ethics of Powerful Images in the Immigration Debate”. Media Ethics Imitative, Vol 12(No #1) Retrieved from https://www.mediaethicsmagazine.com/index.php/browse-back-issues/210-fall-2018-vol/3999232-does-the-photo-fit-the-news
Leblanc, C. (2017). Fake News and What to do About It: WHAT IS “FAKE NEWS”? PRESSBOOKS. Retrieved from https://fakenews.pressbooks.com/chapter/what-is-fake-news/