An Example of Lousy Photojournalism

I saw a number of references over the past couple days to a photo taken of members of Trail Life USA. The kids seem to be using the Nazi hand salute.

For those that don’t know (it’s of great interest to me since I’m a Boy Scout leader), Trail Life USA is a group formed as a Boy Scout-like group, with ranks and camping and the like. The group was formed specifically due to the policy change by the Boy Scouts to no longer exclude gay Scouts.

We won’t ask why the group is OK with atheists, and other sinners, but just frown on this one sin that offends them.

Regardless, the Associated Press was doing a story on the Trail Life people, and the photographer took the picture. You can see the picture here, along with a discussion.

The boys in the picture are actually doing a hand sign where they lower their hands during “Taps”. I have seen a number of very similar closings in Boy Scouts, where Scouts make the hand sign, and lower it slowly during a closing song.

But my question is all this, where in the world did the photographer, or most likely editor, have their head? Was it so far up their butt that they had fecal material in their eyes? Anybody with an IQ higher than their collar size would know that publishing a photo that appeared to be boys repeating the Nazi salute would be incendiary. Regardless of what I think about why the Trail Life formed, using a picture that implies they are even slightly Nazi-influenced is just flat wrong.

I’ve been around professional photogs. When those guys take a photo, they shoot a string of them. I can’t believe that in this case, the photographer took a single picture at just the wrong moment. I can’t believe that an editor had only that photo to choose from, and didn’t say “no freakin’ way!”.

Whoever decided to use that photo in the article about Trail Life is incompetent, or biased against the group for some reason. Regardless, firing would be an appropriate response by the AP.


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