Sunday, August 06, 2006

Reuters Admits To Doctored Photo

On Saturday, Little Green Footballs--who back in May received a threatening email from a Reuters employee--had a post with convincing evidence that a photo from Reuters showing Beirut was doctored. It took the photo below and provided various demonstrations to show how the picture had been photo-shopped--the smoke had been increased and buildings had been cloned.

doctored photo
original photo

Now Reuters has come forward and admitted the photo was indeed altered.

Reuters' head of PR Moira Whittle said in response: "Reuters has suspended a photographer until investigations are completed into changes made to a photograph showing smoke billowing from buildings following an air strike on Beirut. Reuters takes such matters extremely seriously as it is strictly against company editorial policy to alter pictures."

"As soon as the allegation came to light, the photograph, filed on Saturday 5 August, was removed from the file and a replacement, showing the same scene, was sent. The explanation for the removal was the improper use of photo-editing software," she added.

In his analysis of the doctored photo, LGF also noted the identity of the person who took the picture:

The photographer who took this picture (probably also the person who doctored it), Adnan Hajj, is rather well-known to LGF readers. In fact, rather well-known to the entire world.

He also took this infamous photograph from Qana of the guy in the green helmet, parading a dead body around for pictures, featured on the front pages of newspapers worldwide: Yahoo! News Photo.

Meanwhile Honest Reporting has 3 basic questions that Reuters needs to answer:

  1. Why did a Reuters photographer manipulate the images to make the damage look more severe than it was;
  2. How could Reuters editors not catch the fraud when a blogger and a group of amateur photographers noticed it easily;
  3. What steps is Reuters taking to punish those involved in the creation and distribution of this forgery and what Reuters is doing to prevent these hoaxes in the future.

That same Honest Reporting communique also features a piece on media manipulation by Hizbollah--it features an article by Tom Gross in the National Review entitled The Media Aims Its Missles.

Gross writes about the BBC featuring audience comments that Israeli attacks are likely to increase support for Hizbollah, and then notes that it is not Israel who will attract recruits to Hizbollah as much as the biased and inflammatory reporting from the Western TV stations:

While the slanted comments and interviews are bad enough, the degree of pictorial distortion is even worse. From the way many TV stations worldwide are portraying it, you would think Beirut has begun to resemble Dresden and Hamburg in the aftermath of World War II air raids. International television channels have used the same footage of Beirut over and over, showing the destruction of a few individual buildings in a manner which suggests half the city has been razed.

A careful look at aerial satellite photos of the areas targeted by Israel in Beirut shows that certain specific buildings housing Hezbollah command centers in the city’s southern suburbs have been singled out. Most of the rest of Beirut, apart from strategic sites like airport runways used to ferry Hezbollah men and weapons in and out of Lebanon, has been left pretty much untouched.
Gross also quotes journalists who admit that Hizbollah has controlled their reports and notes the lack of balanced coverage in regards to Hizbollah's attacks and their effect in Israel.

Read the entire National Review article.

Update: Pajamas Media has all kinds of information about Reutersgate, including the news that Reutersgate is now an entry in Wikipedia.

Over at The Corner, Kathryn Jean Lopez wonders about what may be another Adnan Hajj production.

Reuters own article on the story is here, including the photographers claim that it was an accident due to poor lighting and an ettempt to get rid of dust marks.

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