Friday, October 21, 2005

The Chronicle Scores Again

Today's San Francisco Chronicle has a huge front-page (above the fold) story headlined Teen Arrested in Bizarre Slaying. Immediately below the headline is a series of photos of the suspect from 2003, 2004, and 2005.

See the pattern?

This kind of thing makes me sick. Even in a cosmopolitan town like San Francisco, we're apparently hicks enough at heart to go for the Freak = Killer semiotics. It's less offensive than the racially charged photos of Scary Black Criminals a lot of papers run, but still: are those photos really necessary? Is the story they appear to tell (Good Kid becomes Freak becomes Killer) really the essential truth of the thing, or just lazy and facile pandering to stereotype?

Is that a rhetorical question?