Friday, March 31, 2006

You Can't Handle the Truth!

According to this story on, the Archdiocese of Boston's newspaper fired a freelance photographer who took a photo of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia making an obscene geature. The paper's editor said it wasn't personal, but he needed people on staff "he could trust."

The photographer, Peter Smith, apparently breached that "trust" not by taking the photo, but by making it available to the press. Smith said he released the photo after Justice Scalia said a story about the incident in the Boston Herald incorrectly characterized the gesture. Smith said the paper got the story right and that Justice Scalia was spinning his actions to deflect criticism.

By "trust" I presume the editor means he wants to hire people that will tow the Conservative line and not make waves. Smith, a 10-year veteran of the newspaper, apparently is not one of those people.

Smith should not feel bad about being fired by the Archdiocese of Boston. In fact, he should be relieved. They obviuosly don't stand for Christian values. They obviously don't believe in freedom of the press. And they obviously don't believe in the truth.

(Full Disclosure: I was raised Roman Catholic and attended Catholic schools for 12 years).

But then, this is the Catholic Church we're talking about here. I don't think anyone should be surprised by this.

1 comment:

Tim said...

I think I disagree with your take on this. Just because the camera captured something does not mean that everyone must find it tasteful. If it were a company and CEO involved, it would be fair to expect the company to wish the photo not be published in order to present a professional image. Ditto the church, except that probably `retain corporate dignity' is more appropriate than `professional' for phrasing. A member's expletive should be investigated by the local church hierarchy first and only splashed over the front-page of a news-paper either with their permission, or if the story is significant and corroborated. Notably if you read on to page 2 you'd see "A Herald reporter who was nearby did not hear that utterance".

If I were a photographer known to the church for a decade and let rip a controversial photo without running it past them first, I'd expect to be fired as well.

Just because you've supposedly got some `freedom of the press' does not absolve responsibility as well, any more than `freedom of speech' is not without its responsibility too.