Today, this was the Daily Mirror front page.
But, it turns out that this is a photo from 2009. What’s more, it’s a US child. Crying because an earthworm wriggled away.
Opinion is torn. Is the Daily Mirror wrong to do this? Use an image that isn’t true to the situation?
The first reactions I saw on twitter were horror that this was the situation for children in the UK. Then praise for the Daily Mirror on the power of the front page.
Then a couple of tweets about the photo and where it came from. Then a few more tweets about this. Then the tweets where people stated they didn’t care that the photo wasn’t real, because the situation was.
I immediately thought about the charity sector and fundraising. As I often do.
I’ve been privileged enough to work as a fundraiser in the international development sector for almost ten years. I’ve witnessed the constant turmoil about images, authenticity, truth – the list is endless. I’ve heard the phrase poverty porn. I’ve blogged about the phrase poverty porn.
And I can’t help but question the response had the Daily Mirror been a front page of a child, facing extreme poverty in a country like the Democratic Republic of Congo? One of the poorest countries in the world, where children face horrors that I can’t even begin to think about.
And they used a photo of a child from a different country? A different year? A different situation? Somehow I think the reaction would be different.
And if an international development charity did this? I could almost write the headlines:
“International fat cat charities bamboozle public”
“Fury over lying photo”
“Spiralling web of lies at well-known organisations”
This is an interesting comment piece from The Guardian: "Perhaps it doesn't matter if the Daily Mirror's weeping child is a lie."
I have no answers, just questions and some musings. It made me think though. Never a bad thing.