The New York Post photo

December 7th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Paul Harper at NZ Herald reports:

A New York newspaper’s front page photo of a man’s final moments before he was hit by a subway train has sparked outrage.

New York Post freelance photographer R Umar Abbasi captured Queens man Ki Suk Han, 58, desperately scrambling back on to the platform after a “deranged man” pushed him off the platform at Times Square.

The image took up the entirety of Tuesday’s New York Post front page with the headline “DOOMED” and the subhead “Pushed on the subway track this man is about to die”.

I thought the photo and story were appalling. This man has family. There is no news value in seeing a man be killed.

Abbasi told the Post he was using the flash of his camera to warn the driver, however the published photo has been widely condemned by the Post’s readers and other .

I think that is bullshit. The photo is near perfectly focused and centered on the man.

However I think Abbasi bears the lesser blame. He may have been too far away to help, and a photographer’s instincts will kick in to record it. The decision I criticise more is the  newspaper editor who made the decision to publish it, especially in the way they did.

I understand Han was on the tracks for 22 seconds before the train came. It is appalling that he was not helped up by anyone. He may have survived. Arguably, he may have been better to lie flat on the track, but hard to think calmly in such a situation. Also I am unsure if all trains are high enough above the track that they can pass over a human. Anyone know?

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40 Responses to “The New York Post photo”

  1. hmmokrightitis (1,590 comments) says:

    Depends on which station in NYC. Some have pits like the underground in London, some dont.

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  2. Spoon (104 comments) says:

    TV One news last night had a chopper up in Auckland, doing their best to get footage of the concrete slabs that fell and killed people. I’m guessing at that point their bodies were still under there. All class.

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  3. peteremcc (344 comments) says:

    The whole “warning the driver” thing may be bullshit, who knows.

    But most DSLR lenses have auto-focus, and the newspaper could have easily cropped the photo to put the man in the middle.

    No evidence either way.

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  4. infused (654 comments) says:

    That was a bit of a shocker to be honest.

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  5. Simon Lyall (60 comments) says:

    There is a post on some options here. New York uses a “3rd rail” to power their trains so lying between the tracks is risky.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/life/explainer/2012/12/new_york_subway_death_what_to_do_if_you_re_pushed_onto_the_subway_tracks.html

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  6. rouppe (971 comments) says:

    Don’t New York subway trains run the “third rail” between the tracks, which provides the power to the unit? So
    a) there wouldn’t be much room between all three rails,
    b) if you touched the centre and either of the outside rails you’re fried and
    c) there must be a pickup under the train, so you’d get hit by that and/or attendant hardware anyway?

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  7. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    Yeah. Someone should have helped him up. Pretty obvious really. Were there people near enough to do so? Sounds like a tragic accident (in the sense that we consider the deranged person to be a force of nature given they were deranged). Photos of it are not classy.

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  8. cha (4,010 comments) says:

    More on the photographer.

    http://www.imediaethics.org/News/3640/Clues_that_abbasi_lied_about_new_york_post_subway_photo_.php

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  9. kowtow (8,444 comments) says:

    Multicultural diversity.

    Blackman pushes Asian onto tracks,photographed by Arab.

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  10. RRM (9,917 comments) says:

    kowtow (3,330) Says:
    December 7th, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Multicultural diversity.

    Blackman pushes Asian onto tracks,photographed by Arab.

    Nice observation.

    But did you notice Hitler was white?

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  11. mavxp (483 comments) says:

    Perhaps with such publicity on the hazard they will look to improve safety on the underground. The new stations in London (e.g. Jubilee Line Extension) have glass walls and automatic doors which the train lines up next to.

    Alas human solidarity is not alive and well in NYC.

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  12. kowtow (8,444 comments) says:

    RRM

    Godwin.

    Besides I thought everyone was going to get on under the half white President,isn’t that what He promised.

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  13. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    @kowtow, Godwin’s law is relates to comparisons of Hitler, not just the mention of him.

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  14. SPC (5,619 comments) says:

    What’s the story?

    That New Yorkers are outraged that no one tried to help this person or that a photographer – whose natural instricts are to photo something did not do this?

    Mine is that New Yorkers were outraged.

    Are they all retired firefighters (who charged into burning buildings on 9/11) now?

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  15. kowtow (8,444 comments) says:

    bevan
    both RRM and your comment are pointless. RRM references Hitler in a meaningless comment.Even without the comparison rule ,it ‘s still enough (for me) that RRM has brought Adolf to the table as it were. The pointlessness of his comment in itself satisfies the rule.

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  16. Longknives (4,741 comments) says:

    Here’s a cool picture of Hitler on a sled-

    http://imgur.com/2XLHW

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  17. RRM (9,917 comments) says:

    Kowtow –

    I merely observed that Hitler was white – that’s not an analogy or a comparison so not Godwin’s law.

    What was the “point” of your comment about “multicultural diversity”?? Do tell!

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  18. Mark Thomson (81 comments) says:

    The photographer was interviewed for 10 minutes on NBC’s today show – http://on.today.com/YOB7IG. I thought he seemed pretty credible.

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  19. kowtow (8,444 comments) says:

    Hitler’s so white I could hardly pick him out with all the snow there.

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  20. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    I understand Han was on the tracks for 22 seconds…

    So a ‘photographer’ has time to evaluate the situation and think: “I need to use the flash of my camera to alert the train driver so he doesn’t hit the bloke on the tracks” and then the additional time to pull out his camera [mobile phone?] / perhaps select the correct app [if it was a mobile phone] / focus it [if it wasn't a mobile phone] / aim it at the subject / take a picture…

    The other option would have been to run over / grab the poor bugger and try and help him back onto the platform.

    The ‘photographer’ was totally gutless. The editor who decided to publish the photo, has appalling judgement.

    The thought that they have both made a profit from this, is a total disgrace.

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  21. kowtow (8,444 comments) says:

    OK ,I was wrong…………

    Umar’s not an Arab,probably a Pak though.

    Still very multicultural.

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  22. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    both RRM and your comment are pointless. RRM references Hitler in a meaningless comment.Even without the comparison rule ,it ‘s still enough (for me) that RRM has brought Adolf to the table as it were. The pointlessness of his comment in itself satisfies the rule.

    But you bringing up the race of the perpetrator, the victim and photographer is completely relevant to the topic? IMO RRM bringing up Hitler being white was to show the absurdity of your own comment was.

    Do you even believe the shit that you’re shoveling?

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  23. Manolo (13,753 comments) says:

    Long live multiculturalism. But only in the West, of course.

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  24. kowtow (8,444 comments) says:

    Man dies on electric train system………”sparks” outrage !

    And Beavan , why has the race of the various protagonists got nothing to do with the story?

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  25. SPC (5,619 comments) says:

    Elaycee, it was a work camera – it was being carried and it had automatic focus.

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  26. SPC (5,619 comments) says:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20616635

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  27. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Thanks SPC – good article, but it didn’t mention the race of everyone involved.

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  28. Fentex (972 comments) says:

    Also I am unsure if all trains are high enough above the track that they can pass over a human. Anyone know?

    Not all are, and lying down near the powered centre rail is dangerous all on it’s own. Some stations have space under the platform but the only thing that is wise at all stations is to walk/run to the far end of the platform.

    It gives the train more time to stop and leads to a ladder up (nearly all underground stations in the world have access to rails/platforms at the end of platforms).

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  29. Jimmy Smits (246 comments) says:

    RRM (5,912) Says:
    December 7th, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Kowtow –

    I merely observed that Hitler was white – that’s not an analogy or a comparison so not Godwin’s law.

    What was the “point” of your comment about “multicultural diversity”?? Do tell!

    Let me explain to you in case you were unaware – kowtow is a Christian. As a result, he has no sense of compassion, and in a thread about a man who is sadly killed by a train and family grieving, he feels it appropriate to make a jibe at multiculturalism, because as a Christian he has no sense of empathy and only knows how to judge and be crude like a Pharisee, personifying his Saviour Jesus Christ in the best possible light for all to see what a shining example how his life has been changed. So basically if you ever feel the desire to worship God, just look to kowtow for an idea of what it’s like to be a Christian and have a Christian attitude.

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  30. kowtow (8,444 comments) says:

    Hey smits ,try this for compassion…..”Go fuck yourself”.

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  31. Griff (7,686 comments) says:

    You are doomed to purgatory for your abusive language kowtow :lol:

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  32. kowtow (8,444 comments) says:

    That’s OK,I’ve got rellies who can build a little church somewhere and hey presto,paradise found:)But let’s not take the thread that way,it’s tedious.

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  33. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Oh no, a thread is only improved when the fundie-mentals comes out to play.

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  34. Jimmy Smits (246 comments) says:

    kowtow (3,345) Says:
    December 8th, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Hey smits ,try this for compassion…..”Go fuck yourself”.

    The ironic thing is that’s what the photographer said when people asked him why he didn’t save the man who was pushed.

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  35. Griff (7,686 comments) says:

    How are the f undies going to include bum sex into the debate?

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  36. kowtow (8,444 comments) says:

    miken mental. See 2 can play that game .

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  37. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    This is a great photo. What’s even better, though, is that the photographer was able to help the girl.

    http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/vietnam-napalm-girl-turns-40/

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  38. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    miken mental. See 2 can play that game .

    yeah, take that milky. ooo errughh.

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  39. kowtow (8,444 comments) says:

    ooooh erggg

    great contribution.

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  40. CJPhoto (221 comments) says:

    His work camera would have auto focus and is probably 39mp if it is a pro level camera so big enough to crop.

    RE no one helping him. I assume the crazy guy who just pushed someone onto the tracks was close by. If you went to help, their is the risk you would get pushed too.

    The biggest issue is the news paper which had time to consider it, ran the picture but even worse, with just a terrible headline. They could have done a headline with compassion to lessen the impact of the photo.

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