Crossed-arms photographs at the Washington Examiner: A TBD INVESTIGATION

It’s entirely possible that Scott McCabe isn’t a badass. You just wouldn’t know from his photo.


Every day the paper's published, the Washington Examiner’s Crime & Punishment columnist stares out sternly at readers. God help the perp who tests his patience. Go ahead and lie to me, the photo seems to say. I will ferret out the truth, you wretched worm.

Not that other Examiner reporters look like they're poised to suffer fools.

• Emily Babay, his co-columnist, stands with her arms crossed, as if invisible justice rays are shooting from her elbows.

Crime and Punishment

• Brian McNally and Craig Stouffer, the paper’s avuncular Cheers & Jeers columnists, look considerably less terrifying, but their stances imply skepticism, too.

Cheers and Jeers

• Nikki Schwab and Katy Adams of Yeas & Nays stand with folded arms, their gestures just daring a boldface name to step over the line.


Yeas and Nays

The scoreboard: six photographed staff writers, 12 crossed arms. Somewhere there’s an e-mail from the Examiner boss saying, Tomorrow is photo day for all staffers whose images will appear in the Examiner. Be sure to be on time, dress professionally, and cross your arms.

Actually, the boss tells a different story. “There’s no grand design conspiracy here,” says Examiner editor Stephen G. Smith. That said, Smith acknowledges the tough-guy look has its advantages for the crime reporters. “Some people are very comfortable with the camera, but for most of us, our arms are a problem,” says Smith. “I don’t say to a columnist, ‘This is the picture of you I want to run.’”

Smith says he thinks the police are more comfortable with the Examiner’s reporters based on their pictures. Speaking of McCabe’s previous photo, with former co-columnist Freeman Klopott, Smith says: “Cops are pretty savvy about picking out people who are going to be hostile to them. When you look at Freeman and Scott, you say, These are our kind of people.” Babay, he says, is effectively continuing the blue-line-pleasing tradition. He says this is a happy coincidence: “I’d love to say we’re smart enough to do that.”

Klopott and McCabe

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