Let me begin by saying I don’t really know anything about Jonathan Chait, except he appears to make his living by telling everyone what he thinks about stuff. As this is also my job, I have something I need to say about the way he’s doing it.
I followed a link on Twitter to his writing today on Cuba and Obama and Jacobin magazine and Marxism and something about Denmark that didn’t make much sense and frankly I didn’t read all of it or get into much. That kind of punditry is not my thing, I have a different kind of punditry.
But then, Chait included this image in his piece:
Well, not exactly. I added the text, it’s not there in Chait’s piece It is not hard for me to deduce this image is a fake. He even somewhat incongruently says “Let’s not make this a reality.” below it, presumably just in case we were thinking of having an Obama non-consensual costume party, which, OK, we were, but we probably weren’t going to go through with it. The thing is, all I have to do is right click on that image and then put it somewhere else, like above this paragraph. Or I can just load it from the website, with that fancy, much believed and well loved nymag.com URL at the top. Now it doesn’t have Chait’s wit around it. It’s just a fake photograph floating around on the internet of the president dressed like a Soviet communist officer. Being served by New York Magazine.
What kind of internet would spread and take something so ridiculous seriously, or get worked up about it? Oh yeah, this one. And we all already know that. I know as well and better than most this sort of thing, mocking up Obama as any kind of villain, is going to happen. It happens every day. But it’s damn irresponsible for media professionals to be doing it, or spreading it, without clearly flagging in the picture that it’s a fake.
Journalists, pundits, essayists, and Jonathan Chait, don’t make the internet worse. Clearly mark any image, or image quote, as either fake, or with a reference.