4.17.2010

Hey, Guess Who Got Censored?

As you all know, I've been writing for AOLNews for a bit. And so far, it's been great. Until today, when I found out that my column from Thursday regarding an artist's strange crucifix image of Jesus and the way she drew his abdomen looking like a penis was censored.

Due to outrage from readers, they yanked the following image:



The reason AOL - parent company for AOLNews, and the ones who actually pulled the image - decided to yank it was not because of some ethics-based issue. This isn't like the Janet Jackson nipple slip... Do we publish the image because it is actually news, or do we censor it because it's a nipple? That's a legitimate discussion that should be had at the editorial table at a news organization. But this? This is an artist's depiction of Jesus that resembles a pee pee. And it only resembles a pee pee because our monkey brains are juvenile and we like seeing penises in things that even barely resemble a penis.

AOL was pushing hard to become an originator of news; dumping aggregated content and hiring journalists (even Pulitzer winners) to generate content and report on things worth reporting on. But then they yanked this image because they couldn't handle reader complaints.

The major thing is that it was an editorial decision not made by the editor, or even the news department. I feel like AOL should have deferred to AOLNews, and I really wish they'd have come to me.

(note: the first version of this blogpost was a lot more furious and whatnot. I've since realized that my anger is due less to OMG SAVE JOURNALISM and more on the fact that I (and my editor) never got the chance to defend myself or the piece.)