07 August 2006

Reuters News Service Admits Distributing Manipulated Information

In case you missed this over the weekend:

Reuters admits altering Beirut photo

- Reuters withdraws photograph of Beirut after Air Force attack after US blogs, photographers point out 'blatant evidence of manipulation.'
- Reuters' head of PR says in response, 'Reuters has suspended photographer until investigations are completed into changes made to photograph.'
- Photographer who sent altered image is same Reuters photographer behind many of images from Qana, which have also been subject of suspicions for being staged

A Reuters photograph of smoke rising from buildings in Beirut has been withdrawn after coming under attack by American web logs. The blogs accused Reuters of distorting the photograph to include more smoke and damage.
( ... )

In the message, Reuters said that "photo editing software was improperly used on this image. A corrected version will immediately follow this advisory. We are sorry for any inconvience."

(emphasis mine)

If you are getting your news from major TV and newspaper outlets, remember that virtually all of them rely on news services like Reuters for much of their content and images.

Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs has been on this since the photo was released and Michele Malkin has more here, here and here.

As the number of additional doctored images grows blog journalists have begun raising some serious questions about the incident, now referred to as "Reutergate". And Reuters owes its news outlet customers and the end consumers of their information some serious answers.

Reuters admits to more image manipulation

- News organization withdraws photograph of Israeli fighter jet, admits image was doctored, fires photographer.
- Reuters pledges 'tighter editing procedure for images of the Middle East conflict'

Reuters has withdrawn a second photograph and admitted that the image was doctored, following the emergence of new suspicions against images provided by the news organization. On Sunday, Reuters admitted that one of its photographers, Adnan Hajj, used software to distort an image of smoke billowing from buildings in Beirut in order to create the effect of more smoke and damage.

The latest image to face doubts is a photograph of an Israeli F-16 fighter jet over the skies of Lebanon, seen in the image firing off "missiles during an air strike on Nabatiyeh," according to the image's accompanying text provided by Reuters.

Sheesh. Did Reuters really think no one would notice? And more importantly, were Reuters grossly negligent or complicit in creating and disseminating manipulated materials? Either way, this is a major scandal.

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