How we remember James Foley

Aug 20, 2014

It takes truly horrible news to eclipse all other bad news, and that's just what we've received: ISIS claims to have killed captive American journalist James Foley. ISIS briefly posted a video yesterday that it claimed showed the beheading of Foley, who was kidnapped in Syria roughly two years ago. In a moving Facebook post, his mother Diane Foley writes, "We have never been prouder of our son Jim. He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people." At the Sacramento BeeMarcos Breton tweets, "James Foley: God rest your soul." At Public Radio InternationalSteven Davy tweets, "My heart goes out to the Foley family." New York Times' Elisabeth Goodridge adds, "Thank you foreign journos for your work and your guts."

Some discord erupted over whether to show images from Foley's execution while reporting his death; many fiercely felt this was inappropriate and, worse, helped spread the ISIS message. "This Is How We Should Remember James Foley," Sheera Frenkel insists at Buzzfeed (836 shares). Frenkel's colleague Jina Moore called it "A lovely & loving look at the life &work of James Foley, from @sheeraf, w/ voices of many who knew & respected him." Meanwhile, Washington Examiner's Justin Green implores, "If you must share a picture of James Wright Foley, make it this one." Vox's Max Fisher, too, offers reflections on James Foley (5, 253 shares).

In a surprising but comforting turn, Twitter announced its team was working to suspend accounts of anyone tweeting graphic images of Foley's death (1,911 shares). This would include ISIS supporters, who appeared to be harassing Foley mourners with screen grabs of his purported death. "We have been and are actively suspending accounts as we discover them related to this graphic imagery. Thank you," Twitter CEO Dick Costolo reveals. "Bravo! Could also start with @nypost front page tweet," Heidi Moore suggests at Guardian US. Yeah, about that. The New York Post didn't think twice about using Foley's last moments as fodder for their front page today, and has been almost universally condemned for that choice (664 shares).

Meanwhile, Washington Post's Terrence McCoy explains how journalists like James Foley fall victim to world’s most dangerous conflict (619 shares). "Freelance war correspondents like James Foley are often 'lightly resourced, laughably paid, almost wholly uninsured,'" McCoy tweets.

About the author

Writes the @MuckRackDaily & runs #muckedup chat. Creator of #100helpfuldays. I can haz media tips?

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