I was shocked to see the Reuters photo (with the caption “Halloween hijinks”) in the Oct. 29 edition of The Japan Times, showing U.S. Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin hanging by the neck in effigy from the roof of a house in California as a Halloween decoration.
I assume the effigy itself, and the running of the photo, was meant to be a satirical comment on the U.S. presidential election race. If not, why else would one consider it newsworthy? But can you imagine the outcry if the effigy had been of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama?
Would The Japan Times — or any other mainstream media outlet — have run the picture if it had been of Obama’s effigy? I think not. If Obama were hanged in effigy, there would be a public uproar from all sides of the political spectrum, and the FBI would be investigating it as a hate crime.
Can anyone question whether there has been a double standard at work during this electoral season?