As NewsBusters reported Saturday, a freelance photographer hired to shoot John McCain for The Atlantic's October issue has not only admitted to taking a rather sinister picture of the Arizona Senator that she hoped the magazine would use on its cover, but also generated some truly disturbing and disgraceful images of the presidential nominee which she proudly displayed at her website.
Clearly embarrassed by this revelation, folks associated with the magazine are already responding to what is now being widely disseminated across old and new media.
“We stand by the respectful image of John McCain that we used on our cover, and we expect to be judged by it. We were not aware of the manipulated and dishonest images Jill Greenberg had taken until this past Friday.
When we contract with photographers for portraits, we don't vet them for their politics--instead, we assess their professional track records. Based on the portraits she had done of politicians like Arnold Schwarzenegger and her work for publications like Time, Wired, and Portfolio, we expected Jill Greenberg, like the other photographers we work with, to behave professionally.
Jill Greenberg has obviously not done that. She has, in fact, disgraced herself, and we are appalled by the manipulated images she has created for her Web site of John McCain."
Bennet elaborated to the New York Post Sunday:
"We feel totally blind-sided," he said. "Her behavior is outrageous. Incredibly unprofessional."
Like others at the Atlantic, I was appalled to read about the actions of Jill Greenberg, the freelance photographer who took the cover portrait that illustrates my article about John McCain. Greenberg doctored photographs of McCain she took during her Atlantic-arranged shoot, which took place last month in Las Vegas. She has posted these doctored photographs on her website, which you can go find yourself, if you must. Suffice it to say that her "art" is juvenile, and on occasion repulsive. This is not the issue, of course; the issue is that she betrayed this magazine, and disgraced her profession. [...]
I don't know Greenberg (I count this as a blessing) and I can add nothing to what James Bennet told the Post except to say that Greenberg is quite obviously an indecent person who should not be working in magazine journalism. Every so often, journalists become deranged at the sight of certain candidates, and lose their bearings. Why, this has even happened in the case of John McCain once or twice. What I find truly astonishing is the blithe way in which she has tried to hurt this magazine.
The important thing here is not that Greenberg took and altered the pictures. The import thing is that she felt comfortable bragging about what she did! She expected to receive accolades and approval from the Left for her dirty trick. This tells us a lot about what kind of ethics Greenberg believes the Left approves of. Given her immersion in the upper class, urban, articulate intellectual culture of the far Left, her assessment is probably correct.
The far Left has long since adopted the world view of the radical Marxist in which political utility equals truth. Incapable of believing themselves capable of intellectual error or moral failing, they see themselves obligated to acquire power by any means necessary. They view democracy as only a means of acquiring the legitimacy to use that power. If they must do so under false pretenses, then they will. They believe that the enormous benefits of their enlightened rule outweigh any consequences of the dishonest acts that bring about that rule.
Politics is an ugly business and dirty tricks abound. Individuals from every part of the political spectrum stoop to low tactics to win. What we see on the contemporary far Left, however, is a lack of shame about doing so and complete unwillingness to punish those who go too far.
We should worry if that mindset really does gain power.