We don't expect a lot from the tabloids in New York, except that they'll capitalize on society's worst moments and basest instincts when they think it will sell copies. In the wake of the ISIL propaganda video that reportedly showed photojournalist James Foley beheaded by militants in retribution for U.S. airstrikes, today's front covers could only be worse if they were gifs.
As New York magazine editor Abraham Riesman wrote last night:
Jesus Christ can you imagine tomorrow's @nypost cover— Abraham Riesman (@abrahamjoseph) August 20, 2014
You could, if you happened to watch the ISIL video yesterday. On today's front pages, the New York Post and the New York Daily News competed for the most tasteless tribute to the memory of journalist James Foley. Under matching headlines — "SAVAGES" — both covers feature clips from the video that reportedly show Foley in his final seconds.
The Daily News cover, available here if you want to see it, shows the militant with the knife in his hand. The New York Post, not to be outdone, shows the knife making contact. "The New York Post cover of James Foley is as graphic and despicable as we've come to expect," Dylan Stableford at Yahoo wrote.
Other outlets covering Foley either featured the story below the fold (The Washington Post, The New York Times, ) or not on the front page (Los Angeles Times). The Wall Street Journal focused on the success of the airstrikes in a story that mentions Foley in the third graf. USA Today showed a still from the video above the fold, and even then it's not as graphic as the Post or Daily News.
Twitter has announced that it will suspend the accounts of people who post stills from the video, which has led several users to wonder if, or when, the Post account will be suspended. Others noted that there are better uses of our time. "Time spent talking about the Post's front page, which sensationalizes James Foley's execution, is better spent celebrating his life," tweeted Andrew Katz at TIME.