One of the Internet news stories over the past few days has focused on a blog post by the apparently Chinese “Hot Girls” blog (sorry we decline giving that blog a link) that contained a blatantly racist image of first lady Michelle Obama — an image that came up high on Google Image rankings (high…like first place). Google refused to remove it themselves. And, so, there it stood: an image of Michelle Obama photoshopped to make her look like a monkey had gotten a high ranking on Google, it was on a blog, and Google had a disclaimer but left it up there..
Now, after a big Internet outcry, the blog has apparently removed it voluntarily.
But this story pointed to a bigger issue. When weblogs were created there was much talk about how blogs would encourage citizens to share ideas, foster citizen journalism, lead to great communication, clarify issues. The case of the image news reports call offending — can’t we be blunt and say it was blatantly racist in this case? — suggested that it was one more indication of how blogs have not lived up to their once lofty potential.
However, this incident underscored that there indeedARE standards and limits to 21st century rough-n-ready satire and ridicule, and the most respectable American conservative blogs would not touch that photo or condone it. One good example of the reaction to the image being removed is HERE.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.