By Hillary Busis
December 05, 2012 at 06:23 PM EST

This certainly won’t win the Post any points with Alec Baldwin.

Yesterday, the Big Apple’s most notorious tabloid created a firestorm of controversy with a cover that depicts a man about to be hit and killed by an oncoming subway train. The victim, Ki-Suck Han of Queens, was reportedly pushed onto the tracks by an unknown assailant; he died Monday.

Though most agree that publishing the photo this way — and with a headline reading “DOOMED” — was in poor taste, opinions are divided with regard to whether the picture’s photographer, Post freelancer R. Umar Abbasi, should have tried harder to help Han. It’s an ethics question as old as journalism: When a subject is in danger, what are the journalist’s responsibilities?

Abbasi defended his actions during a somber Today segment this morning, telling Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie that he was standing on the opposite end of the subway platform from Han when Han was shoved into the train’s path. “It took me a second to figure out what was happening,” he said when Lauer asked if he had immediately started taking pictures. “The guy got up and was trying to get as close to the edge of the platform, and I saw the lights in the distance of the approaching train. And the only thing I could think of at that time was to alert the driver with my camera flash. And I started running.”

Abbasi had his camera with him because he had been shooting another story in Times Square about “a homeless man who didn’t have any shoes” — possibly related to fellow Today guest Officer Larry DePrimo? — right before the subway incident. Lauer asked whether there was something the photographer could have done in the 20 seconds between when Han hit the tracks and the train came. “The people who were standing close to him, on the 50th Street exit, they could have. They could have moved and grabbed him, and pulled him out. Nobody made an effort,” Abbasi responded. “There was no way. If I could have, I would have.”

Watch below:

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