The debate over Tuesday’s cover photo for the New York Post showing a man literally seconds before he was struck and killed by a subway train made its way to NBC’s Today Show, where meterologist Al Roker criticized the man who took the picture.
“Somebody’s taking that picture. Why aren’t they helping this guy?” Roker asked co-hosts Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie. Lauer called the photograph “alarming” and said he was only showing it to viewers because of the police’s search for the unidentified suspect.
WNBC-TV reported that police identified the victim as Ki-Suk Han, and released footage taken by a bystander of Han in an argument with an unidentified suspect, who allegedly pushed him into the train’s path.
“Leave me the (bleep) alone,” the suspect says in the video. “Take your (bleep) over there, stand in line, wait for the R train, that’s it.”
According to Gawker and the Poynter Institute, the photograph was also derided by other journalists and bloggers; Ian Prior, sports editor for the British newspaper The Guardian, called it “sickening” and Digg editor Josh Petri called it “over the line,” among other complaints.
The newspaper said both the cover photo and an interior shot of Han while he was seated on the tracks were taken by freelancer R. Umar Abbasi, who was working on another assignment. When Guthrie shared Abbasi’s explanation — that he was trying to use his camera’s flash to alert the train’s conductor and get him to stop — Roker dismissed the argument.
“I’m sorry, somebody’s on the tracks, that’s not gonna help,” Roker said.
Watch Roker, Lauer and Guthrie discuss the photograph and the investigation into Han’s death, as aired Tuesday on NBC, below.