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Reuters Admits Altering Beirut Photo

Annie

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I'm sure Dmp, Mr. B, and others can comment:
20060805beirutphotoshopoz2.jpg

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=21956_Reuters_Doctoring_Photos_from_Beirut&only
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Reuters Doctoring Photos from Beirut?

OK, now things are getting weird.

This Reuters photograph shows blatant evidence of manipulation. Notice the repeating patterns in the smoke; this is almost certainly caused by using the Photoshop “clone” tool to add more smoke to the image. (Hat tip: Mike.)

It’s so incredibly obvious, it reminds me of the faked CBS memos. Smoke simply does not contain repeating symmetrical patterns like this, and you can see the repetition in both plumes of smoke. There’s really no question about it.

Smoke billows from burning buildings destroyed during an overnight Israeli air raid on Beirut’s suburbs August 5, 2006. Many buildings were flattened during the attack. REUTERS/Adnan Hajj

3:41 PM PDT
 
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Annie

Annie

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Not a long wait:

http://www.leftandright.us/index.php/site/reuters_faking_photos/

Via LGF

The photo here is reproduced below

Notice how the pattern repeats in the cloud at the top?

That’s not the only thing that repeats:

The top red square is just a copy/paste of the lower.

The photo has been doctored, quite badly.
Posted by Rob on 08/05 at 07:49 PM

http://ace.mu.nu/archives/189452.php

Links at site:
August 05, 2006
Reuters Doctoring Photos From Lebanon?

flaming_skull.gif

Update: Three Makes A Trend: See update at bottom.

When it comes to matters of forgery, I think Little Green Footballs has established his bona fides.

Even I can see the very suspicious "clonings" of picture elements here. And I'm an idiot.


20060805BeirutPhotoshop.jpg


Decide for yourself. LGF throws a little question mark into the headline, and I follow his example, but he then writes "There's really no question about it."

I don't know enough to say "no question," but it sure looks like a crudely-manipulated photoshop to me.

Seems to me someone was just writing a lot about the MSM setting itself for a major scandal by credulously taking every report or picture submitted by a foreign stringer with likely poltiical biases, unknown loyalties, and dubious ethics, and splashing them on the front pages as if they'd all been carefully scrutinized and vetted.

Photo taken by REUTERS/Adnan Hajj.

Of the Hajj's of Louisberg Square, Boston, I wonder?

Again, you tell me.

Reuters has some explaining to do. The whole MSM has some explaining to do. But they will do no explaining, and ask no questions, and embargo the story, because they cannot admit that they have cut foreign budgets to such a degree tthey now rely almost entirely on local stringers of questionable objectivity and integrity for the bulk of their foreign reportage.

They just can't even get into this issue. They'd more or less have to simply say "Almost all of our international coverage is highly suspect due to our unwillingness to send credentialed journalists into these areas."

PS: Unless there's some sort of spoofing going on, the image appears to be posted on Yahoo news, credited to Reuters.

Did someone at Yahoo doctor it? Someone at Reuters?

I doubt it. I think it was doctored much earlier in the process.

There is enough on the simple face of it here to compel Reuters to make the original negative public. If they don't, they're compounding their crime by covering it up.

PPS: Tried to find my old Drudge Siren gif, couldn't, decided to go with a flaming skull. Too much, I imagine. But the Drudge Siren is old.


PPPS: I don't want to oversell this, but this could be Rathergate II: The Revenge, that we've all been waiting for.

It's not just this one picture. It is the MSM's "outsourcing" of most foreign news coverage to low-paid, low-experience, low-credentials, foreign "local" stringers who almost certainly have a very strong personal interest in 1) juicing their stories and pictures to make sure they sell and 2) advancing a political goal of slandering Israel that most Muslims, sadly, seem to share.

It would be one thing if, given economic realities, Reuters et al. did this but made sure they applied some very serious vetting to this material back at the home office.

But they don't. Whatever pictures come across their desks -- the obviously propagandized pictures from Qana, this absurd doctoring of smoke plumes to make the wreckage in Beirut seem more extensive and dramatic and, most important of all, disproportionate -- they simply publish without even the most basic scrutiny.

If this shoddy, crude forgery got past their vaunted "multiple layers of painstaking editorial fact-checking," what in the world would not?

It's too soon for a victory lap. But I'm going to be taking it pretty soon, I think. I wrote a major scandal was on the way. We needed only unambiguous evidence of "journalistic" misconduct on the part of the stringers, and beyond-negligent behavior by the home office of a news organization in putting obvious, shoddy doctored photos out to the world.

We just got exactly that.

This isn't mere negligence. This is wilfull blindness approaching connivance with co-conspirators.

If this crap gets by the MSM, what credibility do they have left? If I want speculation, bias, and doctored photos passed off as genuine, why not just read blogs?

You arrogant, incompetent morons. You were warned you were about to step on your own dicks with this kind of shit. You didn't bother to listen.

We'll see how that all works out for you, huh?

Cowbell Update: Although I've made it a general rule that "cowbell" only applies to economic events, I'll make an exception, as this is big, and the most recent economic numbers were not.

Click on the flaming skull to hear the cowbell theme, courtesy, as always, of Blaster's Blog.

Because you asked for it.


If Two Makes a Trend, How About Three?: Another possibly cloned plume of smoke from Reuters.

This one isn't as obvious, and it's even possible it's not doctored. If it is p-shopped, a better job of it was done, as there are elements blurred out to avoid obvious similarities to the foregrond plume.

Doctored? Maybe, maybe not.

But I'd sure like a look at the original negative. Wouldn't you?

And given what Reuters just sent out the world, they have a duty to provide it.

"Multiple layers of painstaking editorial fact-checking."

Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Via Via Left & Right, who deserves a follow-up click, as they don't have a sitemeter on their picture.


Purple Avenger reminds me of one of my favorite Bond quotes.

Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action. -- Auric Goldfinger


posted by Ace at 05:52 PM
 
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Annie

Annie

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and look at which photographer was mentioned, before this latest:

http://www.americanthinker.com/comments.php?comments_id=5710
Qana update

The site EU Referendum demonstrates the extent to which the Qana deaths are being exploited heartlessly by Hezbollah propagandists and their willing enablers in the mass media. The cynical exploitation of the dead bodies of children over a period of hours shows beyond any doubt that Hezbollah has no respect for or compassion for the the mortal remains of these victims of violence.

Which fact adds weight to the hypothesis that Israel’s attack did not kill the children, but they were rather kept inside the building afterward, and it collapsed hours later due to either its weakened state or to vibrations from an attack half a kilometer away, or perhaps from the explosion of weapons kept in the building by Hezbollah.

The IDF is reporting that evidence suggests that it was not, in fact, responsible:

Addressing the possibility that the building may have collapsed because the IAF bombing triggered a delayed explosion of weapons stored inside, Eshel said: “I don’t want to get into conspiracy theories. We will work diligently and collect every detail, so as to understand what happened there. I hope that we will know in the end, but I’m not sure. It’s possible that we will never know what exactly happened there.” The IDF screened a video yesterday showing rocket launches from Qana, and said it chose the objectives in the village by analyzing the locations from which Hezbollah had fired rockets on Israel. However, the house that was hit had no direct connection to the rocket-launching cells. Nonetheless, IAF officials said that immediately after firing rockets at Israel, some Hezbollah cells hide in civilian houses in built-up areas in southern Lebanon. IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz and other senior officers expressed regret yesterday over the deaths of the civilians. They said the IDF was not aware that the civilians were in the village and had expected them to leave Qana the week before, following Israeli warnings of an impending attack. Eisencott blamed Hezbollah for the deaths, saying the group uses the civilian population as a human shield.
Meanwhile, The Washington Times and Chicago Sun-Times editorialize that the blame for the civilian deaths lies with Hezbollah.

Ed Lasky 7 31 06

Update: it is obvious that the photogs at the Qana “massacre” site were in on the game. The Strata-Sphere reports a follow-up to the EU Referendum investigation:

This Reuters photo is actually of the same dead baby from the previous links. But now the poor child has been adorned with a nice clean pacifier to accent the propaganda value of this child’s corpse. Where are the Geneva Convention thought police when a child’s body is being used for propaganda by these terrorists? Where are the human rights organizations? Terrorists and photographers are gaining from the craven abuse of this child’s body!”

The evidence that the photographs at Qana were staged is so evident that the following photographers must be called to account for their conduct. Surely it is a crime to misuse their privileged media position to aid in propaganda. Adnan Hajj of Reuters; Nicolas Asfouri of AFP; Mohammed Zaatari of AP; Kevin Frayer of AP​

Kevin Frayer is the husband of CNN’s Middle East bureau chief. I want to contact the agencies ro express revulsion for such evident professional misconduct.

Clarice Feldman 7 31 06

Update: The Confederate Yankee has more on the possibility of staging the event.

Further update: the same man featured in the Qana photos appears to have been posing the dead in 1996.
 
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Annie

Annie

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Reuters pulls photo and apologizes. They've suspended the photographer, while they investigate. What about his other 'contributions?':

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3286966,00.html

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
Yaakov Lappin



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.



The photograph showed two very heavy plumes of black smoke billowing from buildings in Beirut after an Air Force attack on the Lebanese capital. Reuters has since withdrawn the photograph from its website, along a message admitting that the image was distorted, and an apology to editors.


Reuters withdraws doctored image



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."



Ignored
Israeli war deaths go largely unnoticed / Yaakov Lappin
Hours after mother and two daughters are killed in Hizbullah rocket attack, media outlets around world fail to report deaths; meanwhile, British press continues anti-Israel tirade
Full Story

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.



Earlier, Charles Johnson, of the Little Green Footballs blog , which has exposed a previous attempt at fraud by a major American news corporation, wrote : "This Reuters photograph shows blatant evidence of manipulation. Notice the repeating patterns in the smoke; this is almost certainly caused by using the Photoshop “clone” tool to add more smoke to the image."


News version of photo (Photo: Reuters)



Johnson added: "Smoke simply does not contain repeating symmetrical patterns like this, and you can see the repetition in both plumes of smoke. There’s really no question about it."


A series of close ups are then posted on the blog, showing that "it’s not only the plumes of smoke that were 'enhanced.' There are also cloned buildings." The close ups do appear to show exact replicas of buildings appearing next to one another in the photograph.



The Sports Shooter web forum , used by professional photographers, also examined the photo, with many users concluding that the image has been doctored.
Threat From Reuters
Reuters employee issues 'Zionist pig' death threat / Yaakov Lappin
Worker suspended after telling American blogger: 'I look forward to day when you pigs get your throats cut'
Full Story



'Looks so obviously doctored'


"I'll second the cloned smoke...but it looks so obvious that I don't know how the photographer could have gotten away with it," wrote one user.



After further research, Johnson posted a photograph he says is the original image taken before distortions were made, showing much lighter smoke rising.


Other blogs have also analyzed the photographs, and reached similar conclusions, such as Left & Right , which states: "The photo has been doctored, quite badly."



The author of the Ace of Spades blog wrote: "Even I can see the very suspicious "clonings" of picture elements here. And I'm an idiot."



The Hot Air blog also looked at the photo, describing the image as "the worst Photoshop I have ever seen."



Adnan Hajj, the photographer who sent the altered image, was also the Reuters photographer behind many of the images from Qana – which have also been the subject of suspicions for being staged.
 

Stephanie

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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
Yaakov Lappin

LBN20_a.jpg


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.




The photograph showed two very heavy plumes of black smoke billowing from buildings in Beirut after an Air Force attack on the Lebanese capital. Reuters has since withdrawn the photograph from its website, along a message admitting that the image was distorted, and an apology to editors.





Reuters withdraws doctored image
LBN20_wa(1).jpg



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."

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.

Earlier, Charles Johnson, of the Little Green Footballs blog , which has exposed a previous attempt at fraud by a major American news corporation, wrote : "This Reuters photograph shows blatant evidence of manipulation. Notice the repeating patterns in the smoke; this is almost certainly caused by using the Photoshop “clone” tool to add more smoke to the image."




News version of photo (Photo: Reuters)
LBN20_wa.jpg




Johnson added: "Smoke simply does not contain repeating symmetrical patterns like this, and you can see the repetition in both plumes of smoke. There’s really no question about it."



Speaking to Ynetnews, Johnson said: "This has to cast doubt not only on the photographer who did the alterations, but on Reuters' entire review process. If they could let such an obvious fake get through to publication, how many more faked or 'enhanced' photos have not been caught?"




A series of close ups are then posted on the blog, showing that "it’s not only the plumes of smoke that were 'enhanced.' There are also cloned buildings." The close ups do appear to show exact replicas of buildings appearing next to one another in the photograph.



The Sports Shooter web forum , used by professional photographers, also examined the photo, with many users concluding that the image has been doctored.

'Looks so obviously doctored'

"I'll second the cloned smoke...but it looks so obvious that I don't know how the photographer could have gotten away with it," wrote one user.



After further research, Johnson posted a photograph he says is the original image taken before distortions were made, showing much lighter smoke rising.



Other blogs have also analyzed the photographs, and reached similar conclusions, such as Left & Right , which states: "The photo has been doctored, quite badly."



The author of the Ace of Spades blog wrote: "Even I can see the very suspicious "clonings" of picture elements here. And I'm an idiot."




The Hot Air blog also looked at the photo, describing the image as "the worst Photoshop I have ever seen."



Adnan Hajj, the photographer who sent the altered image, was also the Reuters photographer behind many of the images from Qana – which have also been the subject of suspicions for being staged.



"A photographer who would blatantly falsify an entire 'news' image would certainly not be above posing and staging photographs of rescue workers," Johnson concluded.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3256534,00.html
 

Mr.Conley

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I'm glad they admited it. It sounds like Reuters is acting like it's the 20th century still. There is probably so much institutional inertia at the company that even in this day and age no one thought a photographer would give them doctored photos. Hopefully this will wake them up.
 
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Annie

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Mr.Conley said:
I'm glad they admited it. It sounds like Reuters is acting like it's the 20th century still. There is probably so much institutional inertia at the company that even in this day and age no one thought a photographer would give them doctored photos. Hopefully this will wake them up.

What about the 'employee making death threats'? Interesting organization...
 

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Kathianne said:
What about the 'employee making death threats'? Interesting organization...
Considering that this is an organization consisting of thousands of journalists and freelancers spread across the globe operating largely independent of central control, I'm not too surprised that one person in the organization is anti-Israeli. Besides, doctoring two photos to make a smoke plume appear slightly large hardly strikes me as an organization-wide conspiracy to destroy America.

Edit Add: These people are chosen based on photography skills, not politics. And as I've said before, Reuters was probably living in the 20th century. They thought they were too big for anyone to try to fool them with photoshop.
 
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Annie

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I have moved these posts to the correct thread and corrected the name of this thread. Stephanie, thank you for your patience. :thup:
 
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Probably the most complete roundup of Reuters, the photographer, the smoke, missiles, and Qana. Lots and lots of links:

http://americanthinker.com/articles.php?article_id=5737

Reuters Admits Photo Fraud: Now What About Qana?
August 6th, 2006

Stop the pixels! Caught red-handed publishing a fake photo, using PhotoShop or similar program to exaggerate the smoke rising from Beirut after an Israeli air raid, Reuters has withdrawn the picture.

As in the case of the Rathergate memo, credit goes to Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs for devising a means to demonstrate the fraud. According to Charles, the fakery was “crude.” Charles has in the past received an explicit death threat sent from a Reuters IP address. Perhaps a bit more careful screening of employees is in order.

The question arises, who exactly produced this fake photo? One Adnan Hajj received the initial photo credit. And guess what? The same man was one of the photographers at Qana!

Jawa Report has much more, as does Michelle Malkin. JR is showing other suspicious photos that come from Hajj or someone with a remarkably similar name.

We live in two different worlds, as the old pop song had it. One world employs local stringers who may well either be under the thumb of Hezbollah, Hamas, or other villainous groups, or who are outright partisans. But they claim to be objective.

The other world, that of internet journalists, acknowledges upfront their political perspectives, and goes after the truth, unafraid to raise and answer questions in a continuing inquiry.


One world, that of the MSM, is content to publicize heart-rending photos of children being carried in front of the cameras, and proclaim “57 dead” in Qana, blaming Israel for utter inhumanity. And then move along, regardless of the fact that only 28 died, and awkward questions must be answered about the suspicious circumstances of a building collapsing on victims in the basement hours after the attack. Why were those children in the building? That’s not a complicated question. In fact, it is awfully compelling, if the media chose to focus on it.

The other world, of course, is that of internet journalism. As we saw in the Rathergate memos, serious inquiry into media manipulation of public opinion takes place first on the internet, where questions are asked, facts are dug up, analyses tested, and conclusions gradually strengthened as the evidence warrants. It is an interactive and collective inquiry. Adopting the language of the Japanese philosopher and entrepreneur Konnosuke Matsushita, I call this powerful intellectual process, “The wisdom of the many.”

EUReferendum, the British website that has led the way in Qanagate, today updates the story and takes stock. The mainstream media live in a “parallel universe” where it has the freedom to engage in what Rush Limbaugh calls “drive-by journalism” – spraying images and words into the crowd, as shooters do from their cars, and then speeding away in search of their next victim. Drawing on the mysterious ubiquitous “green helmet man” it proposed the “green helmet award”

EUReferendum hereby announces the creation of the annual Green Helmet Award for the crassest example of journalism being manipulated for the promotion of terrorism and terrorist organizations. The runner up will receive the White Tee-Shirt Award.

Of course, there is a long tradition of major media as propagandists, epitomized by Walter Durranty who won a Pulitzer for the New York Times by covering-up the deaths of millions in the Ukraine as a result of deliberate policy.

A few days ago, Jefferson Morely of the Washington Post haughtily dismissed the internet journalists (including American Thinker) looking into Qana. if mainstream media reported it, then it must be true, in essence, was his argument. That attitude is very common, though obviosly unwarranted.

Europe’s bloggers, like EU Referendum, now have their own Rathergate story. The international media establishment is on notice. The game has changed, and the truth will out.

Hat tips: Clarice Feldman, Ethel Fenig

Thomas Lifson is the editor and publisher of The American Thinker.

Update: From Protein Wisdom:

In an email, Charles Johnson (who can’t get to his site right now) notes that the the “corrected” photo from Reuters still contains a phantom building first noticed by Allah at Hot Air and suspects that this photo is altered, too.

And Dan Riehl finds this 2004 complaint against Hajj:

Another morgue picture taken by the same photographer features a teenage brother and sister who were supposedly gunned -down by IDF troops. But an initial investigation indicates that their deaths were caused by an explosive device planted by the Palestinians. The photojournalists are a rather homogeneous bunch – hardly representative of an international press core. These are the names of the photographers and photojournalists from AP, Reuters and AFP who covered the action for the Palestinian side of the street in Gaza these past two weeks: Mohammed Salem, Suhaib Salem, Mohamed Azakir, Goran Tomasevic, Khalil Hamra, Adnan Hajj Ali, Nasser Nasser, Hussein Malla, Lefteris Pitarakis, Ahmed Khateib, Salah Malkawi, Abbas Momani, Said Khatib, Mohammed Abed, and Awad Awad.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…

The major drawback of a propaganda campaign, of course, is that,once it is uncovered, the credibility of those behind it is shot.

Clarice Feldman

Update: Maybe David Letterman needs to add a feature on “stupid cloning tricks.” Last year allies of the Venezuelan regime of Hugo Chavez pulled similar cloning stunt, as was noted by a Venezuelan blogger posted at Salon.com, in order to exaggerate the size of a crowd.

Obviously, it requires a real contempt for the public to think that such tricks will work. On the other hand, when supported by enablers in the major media, contemptuous of those who raise awkward questions, sometimes they get away with it, for awhile at least.

Ed Lasky

Update:

In the worldwide blogosphere, Mr. Green Helmet is showing up everywhere directing the death tableaus. He is ubiquitous at death shots in Lebanon.Here is an example from Tyre today, posted by commenters at Eureferendum: In one, sans helmet and another with helmet from Tyre. One shot BTW is from the AP’s Kevin Frayer, another member of the Qana gaggle, and the husband of CTV’s ME bureau director. For more photos of Mr. Green Helmet, the uniquitous body snatcher, see EU Referendum.

Clarice Feldman

Update: Reuters has gone through a major downsizing and restructuring, and has seen its profits soar. Sales down by about a quarter, and profits up by a similar percentage in the last year. But some Wall Street analysts are not persuaded that the favorable trends will continue. Ed Lasky Go figure. :rolleyes:

Update:

A fairly complete review of the published work (almost 350 photos) of Mr. Adnan Hajj can be found here. Not the Reuters correction.

Update: Kirk Hoglund, who blogs at AJacksonian, proposes a set of guidelines for news agencies, now that we are well into the Photoshop era, where seeing is not necessarily believing:

1) Any given image published shall have its raw digital data made available freely for examination by the public. Do retouch and boost colors and such on the published image, but for the original, it must be left ‘as is’ with the entire metadata for that original image encoded.

2) All images shall have their metadata encoded with them. Most modern digital cameras give metadata as to camera type, make, model, f-stop and such like. Many others have further capabilities added into them to include date and time. All of that from the original image must be left INTACT along with that original image source.

3) GPS data coordinates and metadata associated with it, when captured, shall be included as part of (2) above.

4) When purchasing images from a photojournalist or anyone having taken images of an event, all images taken from all cameras by that individual shall be made freely available, even if not used for the actual storyline. These shall adhere to the first three, above. Copyright sharing with other media sources may be arranged and some small, but limited time to release given, say a few days, as most of these images are not ‘newsworthy’ but show veracity of the images used. Very few images ever become ‘iconic’ in stature, and most of those soon pass into the public domain by default at some point. Give the photojournalist time to shop pictures around, realize that they will be digitally duplicated at other sites that buy them.

5) All film processing, camera types and digital conversion shall also be covered with this, along with source of conversion.

There will be screams and hollerings over 4. This is the era of cheap storage. Get used to it. If you are in the news or factual reporting business and use images to depict a real-life scene, then demonstration of giving the utmost to make these images verifiable and truthful is necessary.

The era of easy acceptance of a photograph as the actual image of an event is now gone.

Update: Dan Riehl, compares two Hajj shoot – one of a guerilla and one of a fireman – and thinks the men are one and the same.

Also,

AP joins Reuters in the Lebanon Follies. Here are two pictures by the two agencies, apparently of the same woman in the same garb on different days bewailing for the photographers the loss of her home(s).

Clarice Feldman

Update: Reuters has informed Adnan Hajj that they will not accept any more of his work. He is now identified as a “free lance photographer.” The agency also notes

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 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. [emphasis added]

However, as Michelle Malkin pointed out, the Reuters website claims 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 and clearly.”

Which begs the question of what kind of quality standards would allow a crudely Photoshopped picture to run? How is the review of the Qana pictures by Hajj any different from the scrutiny applied to the Beirut pictures by Hajj?

Since Reuters now acknowledges that it has been hoaxed, and in turn has hoaxed the world’s media, doesn’t it owe us a detailed explanation of its standards? Shouldn’t the review of the Qana pictures be put into the hands of an independent panel of experts.

Shouldn’t Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs be part of that independent review panel? After all, Reuters owes him a debt of gratitude for uncovering a mistake their own quality assurance standards were iunadequate to detect.


IF (and it must now be regarded as a serious question) Reuters is committed to supplying the world with truth rather than phony propaganda, Reuters must acknowledge the inadequacy of its standards. It must therefore immediately and thoroughly apply higher standards to all of the work it has published by Hajj, including the Qana pictures.

If Reuters continues to use its proven-inadequate internal procedures to vouch for the accuracy of it Qana pictures, thiose reassureances cannot be regarded as worthy of respect.

Thomas Lifson 8/6/06 3:20 PM PDT

Update: Sweetness & Light reports that the white shirted man in Qana carrying the dead child was widely reported by major media to be her father. A careful look through the Qana play act shoot, however, shows he seemed far too nonchalant at the dig for that claim to be real. On the other hand it is clear from other shots of his home, that he is a fervent Hezbollah supporter.

Clarice Feldman 8/6/06 4:05 PDT

further thought from Clarice (4:20 PM): the white shirted man identified as father of the girl takes France’s Channel 2 to his home. So what on earth was his “daughter” doing in the basement of the apartment building several hours after it was hit by the Israelis?

Update: Ace of Spades HQ debunks more suspicious Hajj photos. Great work here.

H/T Little Green Footballs 8/6/06 4:23 PM PDT
 

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Reuters atleast has some credibility admitting when they were caught with a fake picture. I still dont think CBS has admitted to those fake documents.
 
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Avatar4321 said:
Reuters atleast has some credibility admitting when they were caught with a fake picture. I still dont think CBS has admitted to those fake documents.
They admitted the one. They also have said they are not checking into any of his others. They did say they will not use anymore of his work. I guess he'll go to AP for a bit. He worked for Reuters for 2 years, 2 years off, then on again, now off again.
 
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http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N07348592.htm
LONDON, Aug 7 (Reuters) - 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.

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.

"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.

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.


"Manipulating photographs in this way is entirely unacceptable and contrary to all the principles consistently held by Reuters throughout its long and distinguished history. It undermines not only our reputation but also the good name of all our photographers," Szlukovenyi said.

"This doesn't mean that every one of his 920 photographs in our database was altered. We know that not to be the case from the majority of images we have looked at so far but we need to act swiftly and in a precautionary manner."

The two altered photographs were among 43 that Hajj filed directly to the Reuters Global Pictures Desk since the start of the conflict on July 12 rather than through an editor in Beirut, as was the case with the great majority of his images.

Filing drills have been tightened in Lebanon and only senior staff will now edit pictures from the Middle East on the Global Pictures Desk, with the final check undertaken by the Editor-in-Charge, Reuters said.

Hajj worked for Reuters as a non-staff contributing photographer from 1993 until 2003 and again since April 2005. Most of his work was in sports photography, much of it outside Lebanon.

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.
 
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Links at site:

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=21977_More_Photo_Fraud_by_Reuters&only

More Photo Fraud by Reuters

Power Line has another almost unbelievable example of distorted, misleading photojournalism from Reuters, as two photographs taken weeks apart show the same bombed area—and each photo’s caption claims that the bombing just occurred: Reuters calls the doctor, take 2.

UPDATE at 8/7/06 8:38:31 am:

And here’s another example of misleading photojournalism from Reuters, at Drinking From Home: Extreme Makeover - Beirut Edition.

The rocks are getting turned over, and what’s underneath isn’t pretty. Reuters has a major scandal on their hands.
 

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I love watching the propaganda unravelling.

I know, the past 3 days has been like watching a train wreck, in slow motion!
 
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Many links:

http://eddriscoll.com/archives/009436.php

Picture Kill: How We Got Here
By Ed Driscoll · August 06, 2006 08:13 AM · Oh, That Liberal Media! · The Memory Hole · War And Anti-War

Background here. Details of the above dispatch from Reuters here, here and here.

Update (2:41 PM PDT): Here's a trip down memory lane, to try to explain how we got to this point. To start, let's begin with this National Review piece by Tom Gross, which sets up how Reuters was historically viewed by the average reader:

Many people still think of Reuters as the Rolls-Royce of news agencies. Just as the House of Morgan was once synonymous with good banking, Reuters has long been synonymous with good news-gathering. In 1940, there was even a Hollywood film about Paul Julius Reuter, the German-Jewish immigrant to London who as early as 1851 began transmitting stock-market quotes between London and Paris via the new Calais-Dover cable.

His agency quickly established a reputation in Europe for being the first to report scoops from abroad, such as of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Today, almost every major news outlet in the world subscribes. Operating in 200 cities in 94 countries, Reuters produces text in 19 languages, as well as photos and television footage from around the world.
As with so many things in the world, that began to change on September 11th, 2001. So let's look at the immediate period after 9/11, back when the majority of Americans believed Osama bin Laden when he took the credit for 9/11, before a third peeled off into the Oliver Stone/Michael Moore/Kevin Barrett conspiracy ozone. As James Taranto wrote last year, linking to his own immediate thoughts after 9/11:

Far more dangerous than the hard anti-Americanism of the far left (and some elements of the far right) is the moral relativism that prevails among Western liberal elites, especially in journalism. Exhibit A is Reuters. As we noted on Sept. 24, 2001:

Stephen Jukes, global news editor for Reuters, the British wire service, has ordered his scribes not to use the word terror to refer to the Sept. 11 atrocity. . . . "We all know that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter and that Reuters upholds the principle that we do not use the word terrorist," Jukes writes in an internal memo. "To be frank, it adds little to call the attack on the World Trade Center a terrorist attack."

Reuters is the most self-righteous about it, but many other news organizations also use terms like militants, commandos, guerrillas and even dissidents to refer to terrorists--even though in some cases these terms are not only overly solicitous to the enemy but factually inaccurate (a guerrilla attack, for instance, has a military target, while a terrorist attack targets civilians).
Or as Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs put it in 2002:

Let’s see. Osama Bin Laden has called for the death of Jews and Americans, and said it was his duty to acquire nuclear weapons for a holy war against the West. His organization is responsible for numerous terror attacks. He turned Afghanistan into an unprecedented training ground for international terrorism. He’s on videotape gloating over the 9/11 atrocities.

But to Reuters, he’s merely a “dissident.”

Reuters, at times, has seemed particularly chummy with terrorists, as Ynet News spotted last year, referring to terrorist Zakaria Zubeidi:

Zubeidi, who heads Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in Jenin, has been named by security officials as a key figure in organizing terror attacks on Israeli civilians.

Zubeidi’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades have claimed responsibility for more than 300 terror acts in the last five years.
But to Reuters, he's a buddy to appear in their in-house joke videos:

A Reuters spokeswoman confirmed the video’s existence, but said the London-based news organization is “not associated with any group or faction in any conflict.”

The screening, which occurred in a Jerusalem restaurant last March, involved the showing of a video during a private party.

"The video's theme was what Israel would be like in 10 years," said an Israeli government official who attended the party and viewed the video.

"All of a sudden, at the end, there is Zakaria Zubeidi, playing the head of Reuters. Zubeidi was sitting in Reuters' Jenin office, saying he was Reuters’ chief,” the official said.

The party included guests from the BBC, ITN, the Independent newspaper, and French journalists.

"They all thought the video was hilarious," the official said. He added that only a few individuals did not seem amused during the screening.

"They were laughing; they thought it was very funny, he said.”
Which seems more than a little odd, considering the pressure that such affiliations put on their stringers. Back to the Tom Gross NRO piece:

Reporters of course can’t be everywhere at once. The increased speed of the Internet and the demand for instant, 24-hour TV news coverage means that the world’s news outlets rely heavily on Reuters and the AP, which in turn rely on a network of local Palestinian “stringers.” Virtually all breaking news (and much of the non-breaking news) on CNN, the BBC, Fox, and other networks comes from these stringers.

Such stringers are hired for speed, to save money (there is no need to pay drivers and translators), and for their local knowledge. But in many cases, in hiring them, their connections to Arafat’s regime and Hamas count for more than their journalistic abilities. All too often the information they provide, and the supposed eyewitnesses they interview, are undependable. Yet, because of Reuters’s prestige, American and international news outlets simply take their copy as fact. Thus non-massacres become massacres; death tolls are exaggerated; and gunmen are written about as if they were civilians.

As Ehud Ya’ari, Israeli television’s foremost expert on Palestinian affairs, put it: “The vast majority of information of every type coming out of the area is being filtered through Palestinian eyes. Cameras are angled to show a tainted view of the Israeli army’s actions and never focus on Palestinian gunmen. Written reports focus on the Palestinian version of events. And even those Palestinians who don’t support the intifada dare not show or describe anything embarrassing to the Palestinian Authority, for fear they may provoke the wrath of Arafat’s security forces.”

One Palestinian journalist told me that “the worst the Israelis can do is take away our press cards. But if we irritate Arafat, or Hamas, you don’t know who might be waiting in your kitchen when you come home at night.”

And yet, to Reuters, Hamas and the fortunately very late Arafat are the good guys! Last week, blogger Ace of Spades presciently noted that the use of pro-Palestinian stringers in the Middle East by Reuters and other news agencies was bound to eventually cause them big problems:

The American media is setting itself up for a massive scandal. One day, it will in fact come out that they are guilty of willful blindness and a deliberate avoidance of asking their stringers tough questions to maintain their own plausible deniability.

And they'll have to answer some hard questions, such as, "If you're so vigilant against being 'used' by the American government for its 'propaganda,' why are you so blithely nonchalant about being worse-used by America's enemies?"


Many of Steven Glass' colleagues looked back and wondered how they'd been fooled by his fabrications for so long. Apart from the outlandishness of some of his stories, he also had an uncanny knack for getting the Killer Quote that tied together a piece or summed it up in one pithy, bullet-point sentence. We should have known no one gets that lucky so consistently, they said later.

The American media seems to be an employing a possible Army of Steven Glasses, and yet they're more than willing to pretend they don't know what's going on so long as those suspiciously-dramatic front-page pictures keep coming back from the foreign stringers.​

Enter Charles Johnson, who did much to uncover the use of false memos by CBS's Mary Mapes and Dan Rather in September of 2004 in their attempt to influence the last presidential election. Johnson's blog Little Green Footballs has served, since 9/11, as a sort of clearing house of information about the Middle East that PC-obsessed "Big Media" considers too hot or too-PC to touch. He has long been in a thorn in the side of Reuters, to the point where in May of this year, a Reuters employee, apparently in their London office, issued a death threat to him. (While not publicly naming the employee, Reuters claims that he has been "suspended".)

This post about RatherGate, as it quickly became known in the Blogosphere, is worth flashing back to, as it highlights much of the same techniques used yesterday to demonstrate that the photo by Reuters stringer Adnan Hajj was a fabrication. The discovery of Rather's forged memos (allegedly from the early 1970s) actually didn't begin in the Blogosphere--it began on FreeRepublic.com, whose bulletin board technology actually predates the World Wide Web. But once the "Freeper" whose handle is "Buckhead" posted that he suspected the memos that CBS used were false, the Blogosphere went to work as a collective fact-finding team.

Eventually, this lead to LGF's Charles Johnson to simply fire up Microsoft Word into its default settings, retype the text of the document, print it out, place his version on top of a printout of CBS's version and noticed they were fake. In other words, there was no typewriter, electric or manual, that could do the sort of font-setting that we take for granted today with modern PC word processing programs and accompanying laser printers. Simultaneously, numerous other members of the Blogosphere came forth with their own knowledge of typography and its accompanying hardware both modern and 35 years ago, to rapidly discredit CBS.

A similar thing happened yesterday, as Johnson first spotted the Photoshopping in Adnan Hajj's photo of Beirut covered in multiple plumes of black smoke, and other members of the Blogosphere and message boards went to work analyzing the photo.

Unlike the all-knowing omniscience Americans seemed to grant Walter Cronkite during his heyday, I view the "Big Three" network TV anchormen of the past 50 years as little more than news readers; dramatists hired for their stentorian tones. it's their producers that write their copy--as even Cronkite himself has since admitted. And while Rather is infamous for trying to cover up an all-too-human and perfectly understandable bias with feints of "objectivity" (much like Reuters, collectively), I tend to agree that his biggest mistake in 2004 was circling the wagons; as Andrew Sullivan noted at the time:

The original mistake was not a firable offense. But the digging in surely is. It seems to me that when a news anchor presents false information and then tries to cover up and deny his errors, he has ceased to be a journalist. I'd like to say that Dan Rather needs to resign from his profession. But, judging from the last few days, he already has.​

Reuters, to the credit, claim they "shall not be accepting or using pictures" taken by Adnan Hajj, their stringer. While it doesn't place any blame on their editors or other gatekeepers for letting the photo through, it's at least a slightly better first step than CBS's.

But given Reuters' shoddy recent history, as 9/11 and subsequent events illuminate, they've got their work cut out for them,
if they wish to regain the trust of many of their readers, in the era of the Blogosphere. Again, it's worth harkening back to something that was written about RatherGate, this time by Glenn Reynolds in 2004:

I think there are some important lessons for Big Media -- and for everyone else -- in the rise of the blogosphere. They stem from the fact that bloggers operate on the Internet, where arguments from authority are difficult since nobody knows whether you're a dog.

In short, it's the difference between high-trust and low-trust environments.

The world of Big Media used to be a high-trust environment. You read something in the paper, or heard something from Dan Rather, and you figured it was probably true. You didn't ask to hear all the background, because it wouldn't fit in a newspaper story, much less in the highly truncated TV-news format anyway, and because you assumed that they had done the necessary legwork. (Had they? I'm not sure. It's not clear whether standards have fallen since, or whether the curtain has simply been pulled open on the Mighty Oz. But they had names, and familiar faces, so you usually believed them even when you had your doubts.)

The Internet, on the other hand, is a low-trust environment. Ironically, that probably makes it more trustworthy.

That's because, while arguments from authority are hard on the Internet, substantiating arguments is easy, thanks to the miracle of hyperlinks. And, where things aren't linkable, you can post actual images. You can spell out your thinking, and you can back it up with lots of facts, which people then (thanks to Google, et al.) find it easy to check. And the links mean that you can do that without cluttering up your narrative too much, usually, something that's impossible on TV and nearly so in a newspaper.

(This is actually a lot like the world lawyers live in -- nobody trusts us enough to take our word for, well, much of anything, so we back things up with lots of footnotes, citations, and exhibits. Legal citation systems are even like a primitive form of hypertext, really, one that's been around for six or eight hundred years. But I digress -- except that this perhaps explains why so many lawyers take naturally to blogging).

You can also refine your arguments, updating -- and even abandoning them -- in realtime as new facts or arguments appear. It's part of the deal.

This also means admitting when you're wrong. And that's another difference. When you're a blogger, you present ideas and arguments, and see how they do. You have a reputation, and it matters, but the reputation is for playing it straight with the facts you present, not necessarily the conclusions you reach. And a big part of the reputation's component involves being willing to admit you're wrong when you present wrong facts, and to make a quick and prominent correction.

When you're a news anchor, you're not just putting your arguments on the line -- you're putting yourself on the line. Dan Rather has a problem with that. For journalists of his generation, admitting an error means admitting that you've violated people's trust. For bloggers, admitting an error means you've missed something, and now you're going to set it right.

What people in the legacy media need to ask themselves is, which approach is more likely to retain credibility over time? I think I know the answer.​

Does Reuters? Given the post-9/11 track record of Big Media in general, Dan Rather's stonewalling to this day, and Reuters' cozy relationship with terrorism, I tend to doubt it. But going forward, I'd very much love to be proven wrong.

Update: Welcome Little Green Footballs and Michelle Malkin readers! Please look around--I suspect there's much here that you'll enjoy.
 

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