Thursday, January 26, 2012

Samuel Then And Now

Photographer Michael Clancy had a rare opportunity: he took a photo of a surgery in which a fetus of 21 weeks was being operated on for spinal bifida correction. Clancy caught on film the "fetus" grasping the surgeon's finger with his hand. The picture was historic, since 21 weeks was the youngest ever to have this surgery performed. At the same time, Life magazine was getting ready to publish a photo of a baby 24 weeks in utero, doing the same thing, but the photo was posed.

Clancy hurried to get his photo published before Life could scoop him and publish their "posed" photo. He managed to do that, and Life buried their story deep within the magazine, rather than putting it on the front cover.

The controversy cost Clancy his job in the news industry, and he has worked free-lance ever since. The surgeon who performed the surgery claims that he "posed" with Samuel's finger for the photo. However, Clancy took a series of photos and did not even know what he had captured on film until it was developed.

The episode changed Clancy's life. He has become a strong pro-life advocate and one has to wonder if the incident was glossed over by the surgeon and the mainstream media because of the storm it would unleash around the issue of abortion. Read more of Clancy's story on his website

Michael Clancy

An interesting aspect to this story is the involvement of Matt Drudge of The Drudge Report:
In 1999 Matt Drudge hosted a Saturday night television show called Drudge on the Fox News Channel. In Nov 1999 he attempted to show Samuel's picture on his Fox News program, but was not allowed to by the network. This led to his leaving of the show for what he claimed to be the network's censorship. Fox News directors didn't want to use the picture because they feared Drudge would use it to support a pro-life argument. They viewed this would be misleading because the tabloid photo dealt not with abortion, but with an emergency operation on the baby for spina bifida.
- Wikipedia

Clancy has written a book about it all and I just ordered a copy. You can order directly from his website or from Amazon: Hand of Hope The Story Behind the Picture

h/t Jill Stanek

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