The NYPost asked me to write a special column on The Atlantic’s Jill Greenberg photo fiasco. Here’s the intro (link):
When you lie down with Bush-hating photographers, you get up with public-relations nightmares.So learned The Atlantic magazine after hiring celebrity lenswoman Jill Greenberg to take portrait shots of John McCain.As The Post reported Sunday, Greenberg gloated to an industry Web site, Photo District News, last week that she had tricked McCain during the magazine photo shoot into standing over a strobe light to create ugly shadows on his face: “He had no idea he was being lit from below,” she sneered. “I guess they’re not very sophisticated.”Greenberg is Glenn Close to The Atlantic’s Michael Douglas in this real-life, photo-journalistic adaptation of “Fatal Attraction.” And her McCain imagery was the rabbit in the deranged Greenberg’s boiling pot. “I left his eyes red and his skin looking bad,” she cackled.And that’s not all. She took the pictures she captured for The Atlantic and defaced them on her own personal Web site with crude, vulgar captions and Photoshopping. One featured McCain with fangs and blood dripping down his mouth – with the Greenberg-added words, “I am a bloodthirsty warmongerer (sic).”Another piece of her “art” showed an ape (a favorite Greenberg subject) defecating on McCain’s head. Because, you know, manipulating images of animals relieving themselves on political candidates you hate is the sophisticated way of expressing disapproval.
Next time: Google the photog first.
That advice goes not just to the media outlets, but to the McCain camp, too.
The Atlantic’s editorial note on the fiasco is here. They don’t seem to get that vetting a nutjob like Greenberg is not simply a matter of vetting her “politics.” It’s about vetting her insanity and complete lack of professional ethics. They didn’t do due diligence, period. I repeat: They shouldn’t be suing anyone.