I swear to you I looked at that photo and said, "I could have done a better
job than that." Have you seen my Wacko plays Jane photoshop?
(Picking on Wacko is my hobby. :)
On Wed, 09 Aug 2006 01:38:26 GMT, Carl 1 Lucky Texan
In case anybody didn't get the reference, Reuter's (which has a long
and dishonorable record of Israel-bashing) published photographs by a
local Islamic stringer they had employed for years Thanks to
sharp-eyed photo experts, the pictures were exposed (sorry!)
as phonies, doctored with photoshop, to make damage results look
much worse. Reuter's, under huge pressure, gve a wink and a nod to
"apologizing", but chez Reuter's, the beat goes on...
Here's the story you will not hear/see in most US media:
Institutional Failure at Reuters
Thomas Lifson Mon Aug 7, 4:30 PM ET
Though I am five thousand miles away, I think that I can detect the
vibrations emanating from West Norwood Cemetery in London. For surely
Paul Julius Reuter, the German rabbi's son who founded the Reuters
News Agency a century and a half ago, is spinning in his grave.
No other news agency can match the history or romance of Reuters,
dating as it does to the pre-telegraphy era, when Reuter employed
carrier pigeons to ferry stock price information between Aachen,
Germany and Brussels. Hollywood even made a highly-regarded biopic in
1940, Message from Reuters, starring Edward G. Robinson as the
Julius Reuter adapted to changing times very well, unlike his
successors at the agency. Moving to London in 1845, he quickly was
baptized into the Christian faith, and dropped his birth name Israel
Beer Josaphat in favor of the name by which history remembers him,
according to the sometimes-reliable (like Reuters) Wikipedia site. An
early internationalist, Reuter became a naturalized British subject in
1857, but did not let this stand in the way of accepting a barony from
the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. He chose to end his days living in
A century after his death, his corporate heirs, running the four
billion dollar a year Reuters empire have made his name a
Reuters has been caught red-handed peddling to the world's media a
fake Photoshopped pitcture exaggerating the damage done to Beirut by
an Israeli air strike. And according to experts and casual observers
alike, it is a crude job, not in the least bit artful in its attempted
deception. Charles Johnson of the website Little Green Footballs first
raised the alarm over what appeared to be an obvious fake, and the
internet community of bloggers and experts took over, rapidly
demonstrating beyond any doubt that the photographer credited with the
picture, one Adnan Hajj, had cloned smoke and buildings (to make the
district attacked look more built-up, apparently) and exaggerated
considerably the extent of the aftermath.
Humiliatingly, Reuters issued a "Picture Kill" notice to its clients,
and later published a notice that it would no longer accept photos
from Mr. Hajj. But Reuters expressed its finding that only one
photgraph was problematic.
Hajj worked for Reuters as a non-staff freelance, or contributing
photographer, from 1993 until 2003 and again since April 2005.
He was among several photographers from the main international news
agencies whose images of a dead child being held up by a rescuer
[identified as the "Green Helmet" when he was caught appearing in
photoshopped phony pictures with the times unbelievably out of
in the village of Qana, south Lebanon, after an Israeli air strike on
July 30 have been challenged by blogs critical of the mainstream
media's coverage of the Middle East conflict.
Reuters and other news organisations reviewed those images and have
all rejected allegations that the photographs were staged.
(Update: Reuters has belatedly now withdrawn all Hajh photographs, as
of 14:38 GMT, 7:38 AM PDT, after the first publication of this
The blogosphere has been doing the work that Reuters' photo editors
didn't, and has been examining the nearly 350 pictures from Mr. Hajj
that have been distributed to the worldwide media by Reuters. Already
other examples have been shown to be faked. The Jawa Report shows an
Israeli jet firing a defensive round Photoshopped into an attack, for
Mr. Hajj was representing Reuters on the ground at Qana, where severe
doubts have been raised about the authenticity of his work. See, for
example, a dust-covered baby with a sparkling clean pacifier around
its neck, courtesy of Reuters and Mr. Hajj.
The Reuters rot goes higher
But Reuters is not a purely innocent victim of a rogue photographer.
Hajj's handiwork should have been discovered by any competent photo
editor. Consider this: Power Line has published examples of two photos
sent to the world's media showing the same building in Beirut in
ruins. One of the photos says it is evidence of an attack on July
24th, and the other photo says it is evidence of an Israeli attack on
It should have been easy for any photo editor with two functioning
eyeballs to detect the summer rerun of the photo. A very distinctive
building with a multi-story geometric pattern on its wall stands
adjacent to the wreckage and was clearly visible in both photos. There
is no other word than "negligence" to describe this kind of editing.
The only reasonable alternative is "complicity."
Since the alleged indiscriminate and widespread bombing of Beirut is a
cardinal propaganda theme of Hiz b'allah and its allies, repetitive
use of the same photo as evidence of multiple attacks makes Reuters an
ally of the terror group, fighting the information war on its behalf.
Experts in the field of public relations counsel getting on top of a
problem when an organization is in a damage control situation. Staying
ahead of your critics by quickly investigating and revealing the
entire extent of the problem is the only way to go. Reuters has
violated this well-accepted principle by refusing to admit that it has
a serious problem with its photo editing.
Michelle Malkin examined Reuters' publicly-proclaimed quality
assurance standards and found the following:
"Our policy is to send news to our customers only after scrutiny by a
group of production editors who ensure quality standards are
maintained across all our news services. When we get something wrong,
our policy is to be honest about errors and to correct them promptly
This clearly indicates a group of editors was fooled by a crude fake
photograph. There can be no denying by Reuters that its organization
is deeply flawed in terms of its ability to enforce elementary quality
standards. And any client of Reuters which continues to accept
photographic material from it is on notice that the organization is
unable to stand behind the integrity of its photojournalism, and that
it does not plan to do anything about the organizational failure to
which it has admitted.
Apparently, these same editors are still unable to detect the obvious
problems the outside analysts of the blogosphere have already
uncovered. Any outside observer can justifiably conclude that a
breakdown in basic quality assurance standards has occurred, and that
the organization is unable to correct itself.
An independent outside panel is needed
In the interest of helping Reuters regain the credibility it has
already lost, I suggested on Sunday that an outside panel of experts
be appointed and funded by Reuters to review all of Reuters'
photojournalism from the Israel-Hiz b'allah conflict. Come to think of
it, the entire body of Middle East coverage ought to be reviewed.
Other internet journalists are supporting that call, and supplying
concrete suggestions, including names of appropriate experts.
A full day after the fraud was admitted by Reuters, only a handful of
mainstream media outlets, none of them in the United States, has
picked up the story, according to a Google News search. (update: as of
7 AM PST today, Fox News Channel has picked up the story.) To stay
abreast of the extent of the rot at Reuters, informed media consumers
will have to rely on sites such as Little Green Footballs, Michelle
Malkin, The Riehl World View, Ace of Spades HQ, and others, including
The American Thinker.
If the past is any predictor, expect talk radio to play a key role in
spreading news of the scandal to millions, and thereby forcing major
media outlets (many of them Reuters clients) to cover it.
Karl Marx was right about one thing: history repeats itself, first as
tragedy, second as farce. You can ask Dan Rather.
You're right. I'm surprised. I watch FOX and listen to Limbaugh and
thought everybody would catch my sarcastic Reuters comment on doctored
tree photo. I'm not sure how much credit for media manipulation we
should give the Hezbo's when we have a very accepting media ;(
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