Press Using Older Photos of Alton Nolen Over Recent One in Muslim Garb

September 28th, 2014 9:41 AM

During the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman saga, the press was widely and deservedly criticized for repeatedly and almost exclusively using a photo of Martin as an innocent-looking 13 year-old over others more recently taken which were readily available.

Perhaps they're at it again with alleged murderer Alton Nolen. On Saturday morning, the Associated Press described Nolen as having "beheaded a woman with a knife and was attacking another worker when he was shot and wounded by a company official." Photos of Nolen from 2013, 2011 and 2010 have accompanied press reports, while the one which will be seen after the jump from Nolen's own Facebook page just three weeks ago has been absent (HT to an emailer):


The photo is one of two dated September 5 at 10:06pm. The description: "At The Masjid (Mosque)Today For Jumar 9/5/2014 & Peforming Wudu!!!" Wudu is "the Islamic procedure for washing parts of the body using water, typically in preparation for formal prayers."

There is no reasonable doubt that it is Nolen who is pictured. Given that he is said to have been actively attempting to convert co-workers to Islam and to have been shouting Islamic slogans as he carried out his actions, it would seem far more relevant to employ Nolen's Facebook photo than the other three cited, all of which are from law enforcement sources. At the very least, one has to ask why Nolen's Facebook photo has not been included the mix of pictures seen in news reports.

The only reason not to use Nolen's more recent picture would appear to be a desire to shield readers and viewers from what appears to have been primary motivator which drove Nolen to do what he did. That's not a justifiabe reason.

Cross-posted at