Washington Post Makes Egregious Cover Photo Error

Washington Post Makes Egregious Cover Photo Error

As far as typos and editorial errors go, this is a big one, particularly considering the cultural context. The question is: even if it was entirely an innocent mistake, what preconceptions does it indicate? 

We all know images are powerful tools to provoke and influence thought and opinion. But when we run that in reverse, what can we learn? What can an image tell us about the creator? 

The Women's March on Washington is shaping up to be the largest anti-Trump protest thus far, and as such, the Washington Post Express, the newspaper's free daily, made it their cover story. However, in doing so, they made a frankly shocking error, seen below:

In reporting on a march supporting women's rights, the paper made their cover image a group of people forming the male gender symbol. The paper quickly deleted the tweet, but not before print copies hit the streets and many registered their outrage. In response, they issued the following statements: 

Even if it was a simple error, many are pointing out that it indicates something is wrong either with the makeup of the editorial staff or the culture there. I personally think it's a valid point. What does this error say about our culture? 

[via Mashable]

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Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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Really? It means that editors are human, and humans make mistakes sometimes. C'mon, man.

Sure, of course we all mistakes. But think about how many sets of eyes a cover photo passes through, and no one realized the error? What does that imply?

They apologized. The only other thing they can do is recall the issue and put out the right cover. Honestly it was just a mistake and shit happens. It's not the end of the world. (Not talking about you Alex, just people in general) Sometime people can be a bit too hypersensitive.

Implies, to me, that our culture focuses more on trying to manufacture impact than to manufacture a genuine response by proper focus on content.

It is an almost impossible mistake to make; how could they make such a stupid mistake

it implies we live in a world with too many dumb people with no culture! first of all, how can you NOT know this? This is very basic... this is a mistake and mistakes happen but this is a huge and very unprofessional mistake that cannot occur in a magazine!

hahaha HOW did this get past so many people?!

I think there are a good number of people that don't know the symbols for man or woman. Like most people these days, it seems like you're trying very hard to get offended.

I am not offended, more amazed at the acceptance of ignorance these days. It shows that there are a lot of either undereducated or uninterested people working in the publishing world today. Did everyone on the staff who saw it just think "oh that's a cool shape, good job 23 y.o. intern for plucking such a great image off the internet". Or are there only 2 or 3 people working there...

There is so much information out there that is easily accessible, it's impossible not to be ignorant on something. In this situation, someone probably found the image in ignorance and everyone else didn't pay any attention, assuming that the first person had done their due diligence.

I looked at the cover, read the text, and had no idea what the mistake could have been. I had to read the article you wrote to figure it out. As I was reading it, I started to figure it all out in my head, Austin Powers flashed in my head, and I said outloud "WHOOPS!". I don't think most people really think about the "symbols" for man and woman other than the one on the sign for the bathroom, personally.
Mistakes happen. This is clearly one of them. The culture this mistake says the most about is the culture of "you've offended me", especially in light of the public apology made by TWP.

from start to finish it must had passed in front of many peaople in the there and no one noticed?

Shakespeare; Richard III Now is the winter of our discontent. There is an agenda here and whether the image was intentional or a mistake the point was to further an agenda and create advertising revenue. The truth is secondary.

I like how the first image cuts out any relevant information, leading us to believe that there is a massive flaw in the first image when there is not.

If this is all it takes to hurt peoples feelings, we suck as a Country. Quit acting like a bunch of f*cking crybabies all the time.

Liberalism is a mental disorder.

get 'em

Strange. I have a psychology degree, and we never once talked about liberalism as a mental disorder. Couldn't find it in the DSM-5 either.

So is ignorance...

It means they don't know the difference between the symbols. lol most people I know don't know which symbol is which! Not something that will make me question our culture, but definitely a costly mistake!

I didn't know what the error was either, until it was explained. I always wonder with these types of mistakes if they're deliberate, to garner additional publicity from a wider audience.

I don't think it is a cultural thing. It is incompetence. How is it that nobody thought to google the symbol for female. Idiots.

That is so funny. That said, I'm a trained geneticist and the male/female symbol is so integral to that vernacular so it registered immediately. I'm willing to give something of a pass to those less familiar, or, dare I say it, plain ignorant.

This is a huge issue, 150k people in Washington are unemployed or have nothing better to do!

Or like most people, they don't work on Saturdays?

Lol, not an error at all... Express wanted publicity and now they got it. 1000's of more people clicked on their website today than any other day of their existence...

It's just the way of the world now... click bait and controversial ploys to get people to click on your website...

I'm outraged. Well, not really. Things must be quiet at Fstoppers today for this to make a story.

That is not a typo. It is an admission of the general level of ignorance and semi-literacy that pass for "normal" these days.

I actually do hope Planned Parenthood is defunded the $500 million of taxpayer money they get each year.

Do they even have editors anymore? Or all freelance bloggers? Funny that no one wanted double check if they got the right symbol or even knew it was a symbol at all, probably just thought it was cool shape.
The dumbing down of America continues....

I worked as a newspaper editor for 25 years, and folks, this is a bad one. It indicates that the Post needs some scrutiny of its procedures. But it could also be a testament to the decline of editing resources.

BTW, all of the commenters here are male.

Ito me it just goes to show that they are not really in tune at all with their stories. That is kinda hard to mistake the male symbol for the female one. Either way I think is ironically funny. March on women, you have it so hard in America.

The error indicates that editors are not paying close enough attention these days. More likely, there isn't anyone with the specific task of copy editing and/or fact checking on that staff. I sincerely doubt a group of people in this PC era made a committee decision to slam women, and I doubt any individual was so ready to find a new job to have made such an individual decision. "Never attribute to malfeasance that which can be explained by stupidity."