As we posted yesterday, the Washington Post published a photograph of Reina Luisa Tamayo holding the urn containing the ashes of her martyred son Orlando Zapata Tamayo with a caption that called into question Zapata Tamayo’s status of political prisoner. The gross insensitivity and ignorance displayed by the Washington Post editors by allowing this to be published in their pages is astounding. However, even more astounding is their laziness.
Marc at Uncommon Sense has discovered that the photograph and caption came from Getty images, and WaPo, along with a myriad of other journalistic operations, merely reprinted what they purchased without ever bothering to confirm the information.
Getty Images insults the legacy of Orlando Zapata Tamayo
The outrage about a photo caption in the Washington Post that described the late Orlando Zapata Tamayo as “a Cuban who was considered by some to be a political prisoner,” is appropriate. Amnesty International called him a prisoner of conscience one so that should be good for anyone, whether of the right or left. Failing to acknowledge that insults his legacy and probably reveals a bias and/or ignorance about Cuba today.
While the Post did publish the offending cutline, it most likely is guilty not of bias but of journalistic laziness.
A closer examination reveals that the photograph and offending caption were originally distributed by Getty Images and reproduced it in its entirety by the Post and presumably other newspapers and websites that subscribe to the service.
Captions for several other photographs of Zapata’s mother published in recent days also include the offending description. It was a cut-and-paste job later repeated at the Post newsroom.
What the Post apparently did is a common practice in most newsrooms with material from other sources — a practice that sometimes comes back to bite a publication in the correction column.
That Getty was the original source doesn’t absolve the Post’s editors completely for the misrepresentation published in their pages. They own what they did.
Let’s just direct our outrage where it really belongs.
Send your comments to Getty here.