Maybe it’s silly season. Maybe it’s Olympic fever. Or maybe it’s just a momentary lapse of judgement when faced with so many soaking wet sculpted men in tiny knickers. But some of our beloved news outlets seem to have forgotten how news works this summer.
As Britain’s dimple king Tom Daley, his torso and his diving partner Daniel Goodfellow scooped bronze medals in the Rio Olympics’ synchronised diving contest, a few of the front (and back) pages dedicated their main pictures to the former two:
All photos: Twitter/@suttonnick
And even where the papers included pictures of Goodfellow, many dedicated their headlines and copy to Daley over his “synchronised partner”:
Asking “Where’s Daniel Goodfellow?”, the outraged Guardian noted: “Goodfellow has inexplicably been cropped out of some coverage of their win”. And BuzzFeed chimed in, arguing that there are, “many photos that the papers could have chosen that included both of them”.
While your mole has sympathy with Goodfellow’s mother, who called the media coverage “insensitive” – and understands the irony of singling out one winner in a synchronised event – it’s still a little surprised that some publications are so outraged by their fellow papers’ choices of splash.
For various reasons – mainly his background story as the youngest competitor to reach a final in 2008’s Olympics – Daley is just way more famous. And when have newspapers ever favoured non-famous people above selling copies with a nice, big photo of a celebrity on the frontpage?
If there’s anything we should be uncomfortable about, it’s the potential uneasiness of newspapers about publishing an image of two nearly-naked young men embracing.
Or perhaps we should be celebrating the willingness of our papers – many of which have repeatedly (and justifiably) been accused of homophobia in the not too distant past – to publish a huge image of a topless, openly gay man on their frontpages.
Anyway, your mole could debate all day about the nature and purpose of news, but it has some more vital picture research to do for this story.