Reuters Crops Photo to Make Terrorists Look Good

Reuters has been caught numerous times photoshopping (1) images to make Israel look bad or to abate the savagery of Muslims, so I thought they learned their lesson and stopped doing those things. I was wrong.

Here we see a photo of an Israeli soldier beaten by the militants on board the Turkish Marmara, which was part of the recent flotilla to Gaza. The Turkish English Daily newspaper Hürriyet Daily News and Economic Review released this image on 6 Jun 2010:

Israeli soldier beaten by the militants on board the Turkish Marmara

Caption from Hürriyet:

Photos recovered from memory cards and acquired by daily Hürriyet provide an inside look at what happened when Israeli commandos raided the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara in the early morning hours of May 31.

Here we see the same photo from Reuters, but cropped so as not to expose the dagger clearly seen in the Turkish newspaper image:

Israeli soldier beaten by the militants on board the Turkish Marmara

And again, here is another original image:

Israeli soldier beaten by the militants on board the Turkish Marmara

Plainly visible is the hand of a passenger holding a knife and some blood on the railing.

Israeli soldier beaten by the militants on board the Turkish Marmara

And here is the Reuters version. Miracle: no knife, no Israeli blood.


Reuters on Monday rejected accusations of biased coverage, adding that it had reverted to the use of “the original set” of images, once the organization realized that the photographs it had published had been cropped.

A Reuters spokesman told Haaretz: “Reuters is committed to an accurate and impartial reporting. All images that pass over our wire follow a strict editorial evaluation and selection process.

“The images in question were made available in Istanbul in following normal editorial practice were prepared for dissemination which included cropping at the edges. When we realized that the dagger was inadvertently cropped from the images Reuters immediately moved to the original set as well.”

Yes, I suppose accidents happen, but as political commentator Tom Gross told Haaretz: “this isn’t the first time Reuters had been caught altering photos to make them less sympathetic to Israel. They did so, for example, in the 2006 Lebanon war.

“Everyone makes mistakes, including journalists, but every time Reuters says it makes a mistake, it does so to Israel’s detriment, and this looks suspiciously like a deliberate pattern.”



National Press Photographers Association, 7 Aug 2006, Reuters Apologizes Over Altered Lebanon War Photos; Suspends Photographer

Fresh on the heels of last week's photojournalism ethics controversies about Patrick Schneider's color-altered image that led to the end of his employment as a Charlotte Observer staff photographer, and el Nuevo Herald's doctoring of two images to create one fake photo to illustrate an anti-Castro story without telling readers the manipulated picture was a "montage," now Reuters News Pictures is in the ethics hot seat for publishing at least two doctored news photographs taken during the current clash between Israel and Lebanon.

The photographs, by Lebanese freelancer Adnan Hajj, show thick smoke rising from downtown Beirut after an Israeli bombing raid on Saturday, and in a second doctored photo the number of flares dropped from an Israeli F-16 have been increased from one to three and misidentified in the caption as "missiles."

In the first picture the smoke appears to have been awkwardly doctored using the cloning tool of photographic editing software in order to make it look more intense. After a series of Web sites displayed the picture on Sunday and discredited the image by showing how it had been manipulated, Reuters issued a statement removing the picture from their archives and apologizing "for the inconvenience." The statement also said, "A corrected version (of the picture) will immediately follow this advisory."

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