First, it was forged documents that I’d Rather not write about right now.
Yesterday and today, the story was poorly modified pictures.
Reuters withdrew all 920 photographs by a freelance Lebanese photographer from its database on Monday after an urgent review of his work showed he had altered two images from the conflict between Israel and the armed group Hizbollah.
Note: please realize that should read as two confirmed modifications. We wouldn’t want to imply that the other 918 are all legit.
Global Picture Editor Tom Szlukovenyi called the measure precautionary but said the fact that two of the images by photographer Adnan Hajj had been manipulated undermined trust in his entire body of work.
Again, see earlier note. Also, there seems to be legitimate questions of staged photos and deceitful captioning by Hajj. Feel free to follow up on this aspect by reading the excellent blogs I link to later in this post.
“There is no graver breach of Reuters standards for our photographers than the deliberate manipulation of an image,” Szlukovenyi said in a statement.
“Reuters has zero tolerance for any doctoring of pictures and constantly reminds its photographers, both staff and freelance, of this strict and unalterable policy.”
The news and information agency announced the decision in an advisory note to its photo service subscribers. The note also said Reuters had tightened editing procedures for photographs from the conflict and apologised for the case.
Removing the images from the Reuters database excludes them from future sale.
Reuters ended its relationship with Hajj on Sunday after it found that a photograph he had taken of the aftermath of an Israeli air strike on suburban Beirut had been manipulated using Photoshop software to show more and darker smoke rising from buildings.
Credit for this initial takedown goes to Little Green Footballs.
An immediate enquiry began into Hajj’s other work.
It established on Monday that a photograph of an Israeli F-16 fighter over Nabatiyeh, southern Lebanon and dated Aug 2, had also been doctored to increase the number of flares dropped by the plane from one to three.
Dr. Rusty at The Jawa Report nailed this one and goes to the trouble of summarizing his related posts for his readers.
Hajj was not in Beirut on Monday and was not responding to calls. He told Reuters on Sunday that the image of the Israeli air strike on Beirut had dust marks which he had wanted to remove.
Questions about the accuracy of the photograph arose after it appeared on news Web sites on Saturday.
Several blogs, including a number which accuse the media of distorted coverage of the Middle East conflict, said the photograph had been doctored.
Folks, large portions of the mainstream media are being manipulated, sometimes seemingly willingly, by our enemies. “Our” media have become a weapon to be wielded against our civilization — we have no way of knowing what portion of this manipulation is actually discovered. As just a small piece of evidence of bias, I point to the Reuters piece actually acknowledging distorted coverage of the Middle East conflict, whether by shoddy practices or blinders caused by mindset, which is wrapped up with an almost snide description of a “number” of blogs which “accuse the media of distorted coverage.” Who cares if those blogs are right? Well, you should. At that point, accusation becomes pointing out fact.
A belated hat tip, as I first read about it yesterday as the story was developing, to Ace and his oft-updated coverage.