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Reuters Admits, Pulls Doctored Photos 593 593

fragmentate points to a post on PopPhoto which says "Reuters pulled a photograph of burning buildings in Beirut yesterday after a post on the Little Green Footballs blog outed it as digitally manipulated. The photo, filed on Saturday by freelance photographer Adnan Hajj, ran with the caption "Smoke billows from burning buildings destroyed during an overnight Israeli air raid on Beirut's suburbs." Fragmentate adds "Another image from the same photographer was found to have been doctored. Whether you're a CNN fan, or a FoxNEWS fan, you have to wonder how much of what we see is fake, or exaggerated."
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Reuters Admits, Pulls Doctored Photos

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  • by Jhon (241832) * on Monday August 07, 2006 @05:32PM (#15861702) Homepage Journal
    Whether you're a CNN fan, or a FoxNEWS fan, you have to wonder how much of what we see is fake, or exaggerated.
    Fake? I'm fairly sure these are the exceptions rather than the rule -- but exaggerated?

    Virtually EVERY news report from ANY source is either exaggerated (to reflect the reporters bias) or softened (to likewise reflect the reporters bias). Add to this equation the pressure for ratings and simple stories can quickly and easily become "sensational".

    True 'unbiased' reporting is a myth.

    If you want an idea of whats going on, read/view as much as you can -- from as many sources as you can. From Fox to CNN, from the far left Pacifica to convervative talk radio. From The Standard to the NY Times. From LGF to DailyKos. My limited experience has suggested to me that the 'real story' is usually somewhere in the middle.

    That said, I'd like to address this statement from TFA:
    Hajj, who has freelanced for Reuters since 1993 and has been suspended pending an internal inquiry, "denied deliberately attempting to manipulate the image, saying he was trying to remove dust marks and that he made mistakes due to the bad lighting conditions he was working under," according to the Reuters statement.
    (sneeze)BULLSHIT(/sneeze)

    Bad lighting conditions? Remove dust? Come on. Last I checked CRT and LCDs glow... unless he was working from memory alone without the aid of a monitor, he's a flipping liar.
    • by dso (9793) *
      Believe it or not there are still a few honest sources for news. CBC is a good source, and have for many many years reported both sides of the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Fox on the other hand has a serious bias, which is sad and a dis-service to genuine news reporters.
      • I think ALL sources are "good" sources -- but I also believe they all suffer from bias. CBCWatch [cbcwatch.ca] most likely wouldn't exist of if there wasn't bias. Although, CBCWatch looks like a loonie fringe site... I'll table my opinion for a while.
    • If he was working with a laptop outside in the sun, it's not unthinkable that he wouldn't be able to see what he was doing. But it's very unlikely he would have been able to make anything that would pass casual inspection as an undoctored photo if that were the case. Not having seen anything but the tiny picture in the article, I'll reserve judgement.
    • by tgibbs (83782) on Monday August 07, 2006 @05:47PM (#15861829)
      True 'unbiased' reporting is a myth.

      That may be, but representing photoshop-retouched pictures as images of actual reality is more along the lines of fraud, although it might perhaps be motivated by bias.
      • by aminorex (141494) on Monday August 07, 2006 @07:31PM (#15862538) Homepage Journal
        Photoshop doesn't do nearly so much to falsify the facts on the ground as does selective framing. Consider, for example, the photos of Firdos Square, and the toppling of the S. Hussein monument thereon.
    • by mspohr (589790) on Monday August 07, 2006 @05:49PM (#15861848)
      If you look at the "before" and "after" photos, you can clearly see that the photographer manipulated it to show more smoke (and did a poor job of "smoke cut and paste"). There was a lot of smoke in the original, so you wonder why he felt he needed to "improve" it.

      Reuters says it normally sends all photos to their Singapore office to check for manipulation but this one slipped through. Looks bad but not quite the same level of deception as the hack who put Kerry and Fonda in the same photo during the last election cycle.

      • I smell bullshit. Any 14 year old with 2 months experience could have made a better job. And now you say such photo made through the editors AND another guy who, as distracted as he could be, failed to notice an obvious fake? Also, wasn't there enough smoke already? Maybe such pics are meant to spread a kind of FUD about the carnage? Or meant to make people speak about doctored photos instead of current events? Anyway, great way to end a photographer career. Very zidanish :)
      • "the hack who put Kerry and Fonda in the same photo during the last election cycle."

        For what it's worth, only one of the two photographs floating about purporting to show Kerry and Fonda together was actually a fake. The other, as it turns out, was real. More here [snopes.com].

    • Virtually EVERY news report from ANY source is either exaggerated
      True 'unbiased' reporting is a myth.

      You're conflating two issues here. Manipulating the evidence isn't bias, it's manipulating the evidence, a far more heinous crime. Two different reporters can present the same facts in different ways, eg. by describing the same group of people as terrorists or freedom fighters. Arguably there is nothing wrong with this. Different audiences have different values and this ought to be reflected by biases i

    • True 'unbiased' reporting is a myth.

      And 'biased reporting' is an overworn, inflammatory cliche drummed up by the conservative right some years ago in reaction the perception that the Fifth Estate was unfair to their ideals and goals and should be beholden to those in power instead of continuing the long standing tradition of questioning it. The phrase is repeated on a daily basis so often that people actually believe it means something.

      If you're a devotee of "talk" radio or a consumer of similar ill-inform
      • by Cylix (55374) on Monday August 07, 2006 @09:26PM (#15863131) Homepage Journal
        As for those who do the reporting, I'd wager that anyone who spends years in an institution of higher learning so they can earn (yes, "earn") a degree in journalism has probably learned something during those years that the rest of us sitting on our couches didn't. I'd also wager that after graduating, most take up employment in an organisation that has a history and tradition that extends farther than recent memory. If you don't believe any of that counts for something, then I guess it's both fair and logical to assume you don't count for anything, either.

        Welcome to the world of tomorrow where ideals have been beaten with a bloody claw hammer and your hopeful world really doesn't exist.

        News reporting organizations don't exist for the common good of mankind in today's world as they have an agenda at hand. They exist to earn revenue or generate a larger audience. The latter form works on the basis of creating a ratings foot hold in order to bolster post and pre-ceeding programming.

        Though after all has been said I wonder if you have actually worked in news/journalism. (I know I have!)

        I was going to go after some other points, but really your post was just riddled with jabs and pokes at the previous poster. I'm not sure I've seen that many negative associations since last nights Fox broadcast. (Actually, I don't watch it, but I thought it was funny.)

        In closing, I propose a new moderation tag be put in place after reading your recent post: eloquent troll.
    • If you want an idea of whats going on, read/view as much as you can -- from as many sources as you can. From Fox to CNN, from the far left Pacifica to convervative talk radio. From The Standard to the NY Times. From LGF to DailyKos. My limited experience has suggested to me that the 'real story' is usually somewhere in the middle.

      Unfortunately, that's not just an observation, it's a strategy many people adopt. The consequence? People can manipulate where "the middle" is by becoming ever more extreme. I

    • by grcumb (781340)

      "Bad lighting conditions? Remove dust? Come on. Last I checked CRT and LCDs glow... unless he was working from memory alone without the aid of a monitor, he's a flipping liar."

      Not necessarily. I work in the developing world, and one of the biggest problems we face is poor quality monitors in rooms that are too bright. Most places in the tropics have very open buildings, and artificial lighting is a luxury, so one often finds oneself sitting in a room where an LCD screen is almost unusable. I imagine that,

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 07, 2006 @05:33PM (#15861708)
    Beruit is not being bombed!
    • But there are people who are using this to try and prove that using these photos.

      Take a look at giyus.org. They basically have software which they are using to astro-turf/spam thier agenda as they find it. The Israeli foriegn office have hired over 5,000 trainee diplomats as well to run the software.

      This is one such story that appeared a few hours back and I am seeing it spammed elsewhere. Even money said that a giyus user spammed slashdot with this story.

      The fake photos doesn't detract from the fact that t
  • Wasn't there a program to find digitally-manipulated images? Or is it that all of their images are at least somehow digitally manipulated that make them indistinguishable from the real ones? Every time I read about a topic I know extremely well I am amazed/amuzed at the number of flaws that are in the story. This makes me wonder about the stories on topics that I don't know much about.
    • The program was called "A Human Editor" to double check these things out as carefully and humanely as possible. However, since everything coming out of the Middle East is supposed to bad, horrible or bloody worst, Reuters canned the program since timing is everything in getting the story.
    • There has been a lot of research on the subject. Google [google.com] has some interesting links to different research topics.

      The problem with an automated tool is that the tool becomes a litmus test for a forger.

      All the bad guy has to do is download, steal or buy the tool, then run his pictures through it. Once the tool says "this is 99% likely to be an original picture" then the bad guy knows he won't get caught.

      For that reason, there are "forensic cameras" available that have a digital signature algorithm buil

      • For that reason, there are "forensic cameras" available that have a digital signature algorithm built in that sign the images. Any tampering results in an invalid signature. Perhaps news photographers are going to have to go that route next?

        Well this brings up the point that all photographs are manipulated. The only question is degree. And the secondary question in the case of news is "what degree of manipulation is acceptable?"

        People need to get it through their heads that just as a news report can never
        • Quick solution to all the manipulation that needs to occur: require a digitally signed orignal submitted with the altered final. That way the end user (the paper/editor in this case) can look at the two and accurately judge if the manipulations altered the actual content or were done to simply enhance color/lighting/tint or crop/resize etc.

          tm

    • Well, here's the bullshit excuse: [alertnet.org]

      "The photographer has denied deliberately attempting to manipulate the image, saying that he was trying to remove dust marks and that he made mistakes due to the bad lighting conditions he was working under," said Moira Whittle, the head of public relations for Reuters.

      (credit to JWZ for the link)

      I'm guessing that images are digitally "enhanced" all the time, thereby rendering any such program useless. Whether the images are actually being manipulated to remove dust and g

      • '"The first thing lost in war is truth."
        (I'd be much obliged if someone could tell me where that quote came from.)'

        'In war, truth is the first casualty.' Aeschylus

        'All warfare is based on deception.' Sun Tzu

        'Among the calamities of war may be jointly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages.' Samuel Johnson

        'The first casualty when war comes is truth.' Hiram Johnson (US Senator)

        ... and others

  • by plover (150551) * on Monday August 07, 2006 @05:34PM (#15861717) Homepage Journal
    The photo was so obviously manipulated as to be laughable. ANYONE who's ever used the Clone Brush tool would immediately recognize it as having been manipulated, and anyone who's completely unfamiliar with digital photography would still question the regularity of the blobs of smoke.

    Sure, this photographer is at fault, and you can make assumptions about his political motives for photoshopping this image. But what's worse is how did Reuters let such a piece of crap into the system? The guys on SomethingAwful [somethingawful.com] or Worth 1000 [worth1000.com] all do a much better job, and that's just for the glory of the contest. They're not trying to pass their stuff off as "news." Even the guys at Fark [fark.com] aren't this bad (not even Heamer :-) No, this photoshop was of "The Daily Show" quality -- comically bad.

    The only conclusion I can come up with is that Reuters isn't actually looking at the images that come in the door. Even if someone at Reuters had the same political agenda as the photographer, he should have had the good sense to deny that picture because the photoshopping was so obvious. Actually, neither conclusion is good news for Reuters at all.

    • The only conclusion I can come up with is that Reuters isn't actually looking at the images that come in the door.


      Quite possibly. This might be a by-product of quick news cycles... less time to review new information in the rush to get the story out there first.

      Seems to be a product of Hanlon's Razor though... as you say, the image quality is so bad as to be laughable.
    • Sure, this photographer is at fault, and you can make assumptions about his political motives for photoshopping this image.

      I don't get it either. I doubt it's political, though. There are more than enough bombed out buildings in Lebanon right now to use for a story. I'm going to guess that laziness or just plain lack of access to the active front was the primary motivator since a building still burning is a scoop that shows "on the scene reporting" where as a burnt-out shell doesn't.
    • The first commentary I ever heard on Reuters still holds true today - "Reuters - always first with the wrong story"
    • by Megane (129182) on Monday August 07, 2006 @06:19PM (#15862095) Homepage
      It was done so badly that I could tell it was clone tooled by looking at the thumbnail of the picture.
  • by creimer (824291) on Monday August 07, 2006 @05:34PM (#15861720) Homepage
    If it's posted on Slashdot, then it must be true. :P
  • Both of those photos were so clearly fake. Even with the small size of the smoke photo, you could clearly see the cloning in the smoke. And as for the jet photo, the trails coming from each of the missiles are exactly the same, which would be impossible in reality, but quite easy in Photoshop.
  • Geeks have always known this was the inevitable. I cant count how many movies I have seen that have shown image or video manipulation as the wave of the future with advertisements and big brother messages being blurted on big screens everywhere.
    It was just a matter of having technology cheap enough or accessible enough to be done cost effectively.
    Now it appears any 13 year old with a below average PC can manipulate images to make them look authentic.

    So according the same movies soon there will be an undergr
  • Does CNN has fans?
  • Oblig. (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    "Smoke billows from burning buildings destroyed during an overnight Israeli air raid on Beirut's suburbs."

    Not unlike the smoke that now billows from the LGF webserver...
  • by Tackhead (54550) on Monday August 07, 2006 @05:44PM (#15861801)
    In addition to blipverts, organ harvesting, and whacketts, chalk up another episode of Max Headroom coming to life.

    Out in an abandoned heavy-industry area north of Sector 7, something strange is happening. Network 23 junior reporter Janie Crane is hiding out with a telephoto "gun camera" as two would-be terrorists blow up a huge empty building. Janie is left injured but alive by the blast.

    [...]

    But then, pipsqueak Breakthru-TV manages to get instant coverage of the explosion, and a huge ratings surge. When the network scrambles Edison Carter with Martinez at the stick of the helicopter, they get to the explosion only to have the police chief send them packing. The reporter from Breakthru is already on the scene, despite having lumbered in in a battered network bus. Worst of all, Ped Xing of the Zik-Zak Corporaton is threatening to move his advertising to the hotter Breakthru-TV.

    [...]

    Frank Braddock calls Cheviot back to gloat at the ratings bonanza they passed on, and is directed to a live interview with the White Brigades leader, Croyd Hauser, taking place on Breakthru. As they watch, an explosion levels another building. It's terrorism on demand, and Breakthru holds the rights.

    From the synopsis to Max Headroom, Episode 15, "War" [maxheadroom.com], ca. 1987.

  • by liangzai (837960) on Monday August 07, 2006 @05:45PM (#15861804) Homepage
    ... welcome our new al-Reuters image manipulating overlords!
  • by Crashmarik (635988) on Monday August 07, 2006 @05:45PM (#15861805)
    You use reporters with a political agenda, shared by the editors, it should come as no surprise that this is what you get. The international press does not like Israel. They especially seem offended that the country hasn't just given up and died yet.

    This is no way confined to Reuters. Here is an excerpt from yesterdays reliable sources between howard kurtz and Thomas ricks of the washington post.

    Reliable sources [cnn.com]

    THOMAS RICKS, REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I think it will be. But I think civilian casualties are also part of the battlefield play for both sides here. One of the things that is going on, according to some military analysts, is that Israel purposely has left pockets of Hezbollah rockets in Lebanon, because as long as they're being rocketed, they can continue to have a sort of moral equivalency in their operations in Lebanon. KURTZ: Hold on, you're suggesting that Israel has deliberately allowed Hezbollah to retain some of it's fire power, essentially for PR purposes, because having Israeli civilians killed helps them in the public relations war here? RICKS: Yes, that's what military analysts have told me. KURTZ: That's an extraordinary testament to the notion that having people on your own side killed actually works to your benefit in that nobody wants to see your own citizens killed but it works to your benefit in terms of the battle of perceptions here. RICKS: Exactly. It helps you with the moral high ground problem, because you know your operations in Lebanon are going to be killing civilians as well.

    This fellow Ricks is willing to spout crap like the above on national television. The Khmer Rougue could make a convincing case for the moral high ground against Hezbollah. Israel a country that goes to the trouble of trying to get civilians away from targets before they are hit does not.
    • Hello (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I am not exactly sure what the "political agenda" you are suggesting Reuters has is. In what way is a "political agenda" served by leading people to believe they are looking at a photo of a building in Beirut burning? Are you suggesting that buildings in Beirut are not burning, and some sort of agenda is being served by leading people to believe buildings are burning in Beirut?

      Perhaps a simpler explanation is that these doctored photos are simple fraud by a photographer trying to make the photos he is takin
    • You use reporters with a political agenda, shared by the editors, it should come as no surprise that this is what you get. The international press does not like Israel. They especially seem offended that the country hasn't just given up and died yet.
      Oh, really? I mean, does someone from USA or Israel listen to the international opinion? I mean, the War on Oil^H^H^H^HTerror and this yet another international military conflict american style?

      This is no way confined to Reuters. Here is an excerpt from yesterda
      • by advance512 (730411) on Monday August 07, 2006 @06:48PM (#15862290)
        Would you be happy if Cuba launches missiles at the USA because confirmed anti-communist elements in the USA kidnap three Cuban soldiers, kill 7 other Cuban soldiers and escape into the American borders not to even be glimpsed at by the American government?

        Now imagine I tell you these anti-communist elements have attacked Cuba for a few decades now, and have kidnapped and killed other Cuban soldiers and civilians - all of this after Cuba retreated from the conquered American soil to prevent such attrocities. What do you think now?
    • The Khmer Rougue could make a convincing case for the moral high ground against Hezbollah.

      Anyone who thinks they could place the Khmer Rouge on higher moral ground than Hezbollah has no business criticising others for having agendas.

      You'd have to be a grandmaster of spin to credibly equate a terrorist group that has killed fewer than a thousand people in its 20+ year existence with a regime that executed hundreds of thousands of its own people (and caused the deaths hundreds of thousands more) in the space
      • Yes, the two hours I spent at Toul Sleng Museum in Phnom Penh was one of the few times I've ever felt ashamed to be human. I'm not Cambodian, and in no way can appreciate the Khmer Rouge's violent ideology, but just the sheer thought that someone could come up with such a human depravity gives me the shivers even now.

        This isn't a see-my-baddies-are-worse-than-yours pissing contest. Hezbollah could be evil incarnate for as far as I care, I really have no insight into their methods or aims, but let's not bri

  • more occurances (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dogbowl (75870) on Monday August 07, 2006 @05:47PM (#15861826) Homepage
    As peple have been pouring through recent Reuters photographs, a number of other discrepencies have arisen: Here's one http://drinkingfromhome.blogspot.com/2006/08/extre me-makeover-beirut-edition.html [blogspot.com] from Drinking From Home. 2 separate photographers sent in captioned photographs of a woman who's house "had just been destroyed". The only problem is, it the same woman and same house but the claimed airstrikes were 2 weeks apart.
  • mix and match (Score:2, Insightful)

    Here's the trick. Don't trust any single news source, read a few that report the same thing, Some will say one thing, others, something slightly or even radically different. The truth is probably somewhere inbetween. You only have to compare and contrast what's going on over in Lebanon right now to see this in action. If you compare Fox or the BBCs coverage of the same event, you'd think they were two different stories.
  • by aussersterne (212916) on Monday August 07, 2006 @05:47PM (#15861833) Homepage
    These days pros shoot digital. I am a pro, I shoot digital. Somehow people have this impression that only what comes "out of the camera" is "real," but a digital photo is just an A-D conversion with a given set of parameters. I can significantly change the look of a scene just by changing the settings of the camera.

    More to the point, I often shoot RAW, which REQUIRES "development" in order to be shown online or printed, since as a file it's just an uncalibrated sensor dump, meaningless data, not an image at all. But the look of a RAW image can change DRASTICALLY when converted to JPG based on the choices I make when selecting things like white balance, exposure, sharpness, contrast, etc. (and these have to be manually selected--i.e. the choices must be made by me in order to get an image file out the other end, there is no "real" initial image).

    The point is that the camera is only, and has always only been, a tool for realizing the vision of the photographer. It is not "objective" in any sense (and wasn't in the film days either, even film had to be "developed" and this process could vary an image quite a bit). Photoshop/GIMP/Silkypix/any other image processor is no different, and represents just an extension of the photography/development process.

    If a JPEG image comes out of the camera with very low contrast, why is that the "real" scene and not an incorrect camera setting (contrast turned too low)? And if I then take a low contrast image in GIMP and adjust the contrast for better clarity, why is that a "fake" scene and not the "real" scene that I saw?

    The logical extreme of such arguments is that the only "real" images in the digital age are taken with black-box cameras with all settings on "auto" and nothing adjusted afterward. Only people forget that digital cameras are just glorified A-D converters and that all of the "auto" settings are calibrated and coded by programmers who are also making decisions about how images will look (high contrast vs. low contrast, expose for shadows vs. expose for highlights, compensate for differences between human lens and camera lens or don't, etc.)

    Every step of the photo process, from selecting the camera + lens in the first place all the way to selecting the compression level of the file after all else is said and done, is "editing." All photography is propaganda by the photographer and anyone that doesn't realize this is both naive and missing a great deal of the appreciable "art" involved in the process.
    • by tgibbs (83782) on Monday August 07, 2006 @05:58PM (#15861927)
      If a JPEG image comes out of the camera with very low contrast, why is that the "real" scene and not an incorrect camera setting (contrast turned too low)? And if I then take a low contrast image in GIMP and adjust the contrast for better clarity, why is that a "fake" scene and not the "real" scene that I saw?


      This is a bit ingenuous. Even before digital photo manipulation, a clear distinction was recognized between standard darkroom manipulations to adjust brightness, contrast, and color, and "trick photography" such as double exposures (which is analogous with what the photographer was doing with the Photoshop clone tool).
      • by aussersterne (212916) on Monday August 07, 2006 @06:05PM (#15861983) Homepage
        Yes, but now things are very different. Sensor data is not subject to ANY limitations and is not by nature AT ALL a visual medium. Thus everything must be decided.

        Most modern image processors include things like tone mapping and white balance. When developing from RAW, I can make the same image look like a boring stone bench on a sunny day or an ancient, craggy stone bench on a stormy night just by selecting different tone map and white balance settings. Modern digital sensors can often see the stars even in the daytime, even though most developments of the file would not show them. But if you map the blue tones at the top of the data curve across a much wider space, suddenly there they are -- in a deep blue, detailed sky -- even though you shot on a clear summer's day. The point is that those stars aren't fake, or exaggerated in any absolute sense. They're THERE and the sensor saw them. The only question is how that data is mapped to human visual space. I as the photographer have to choose.

        Very often of course the intent is to get the photo as close to "my memory of the scene" as possible, which means trying to discard data beyond human perception without a camera. But is it really philosophically any "more real" to discard data than to map across to human visual characteristics in such a way as to be perceptible? But you'd be shocked in a group of photographers processing RAW images of the same scene just how much "memory" can vary.
    • IMO, there's an exponential difference between adjusting brightness, contrast, or other filters that apply to the entire shot. Images themselves are just a lens's interpretation of a scene, just in that people's eyes are just their interpretation. Everyone sees a scene differently, it's not just cameras. Our eyes aren't the same.

      I don't think many people would argue against processing for print; it's a necessary evil. (Also acceptable: blurring out someone's FEMA credit card number...)

      However, this goes
      • IMO, there's an exponential difference between adjusting brightness, contrast, or other filters that apply to the entire shot. Images themselves are just a lens's interpretation of a scene, just in that people's eyes are just their interpretation. Everyone sees a scene differently, it's not just cameras. Our eyes aren't the same.

        I'm not really disagreeing with you, but remember that one of the first big stories about "photo manipulation" was the cover of Time (Newsweek?) with OJ Simpson, where the contrast
    • Doing a little burn-and-dodge to fix the contrast in an image is one thing. Moving buildings around and doubling the thickness of smoke is another. Taking two photos in one session and claiming they were taken weeks apart is a third.

      You are talking about the first. This is editorial work and damages the truth only to the extent that editing the stutters and stammers out of a spoken statement.

      We are seeing examples of the second and third, which are like falsifying sources and, well, lying.

    • by sbaker (47485) *
      There are lots of levels of manipulation:

      * Telling people where to stand and how to look - posing the photo - adding props.
      * Framing the original photo to leave out things that spoil the story.
      * Lying about when the photo was taken, where it was taken. Distorting the facts of what we are seeing.
      * Brightness/Contrast/Gamma settings
      * Colour adjustment
      * Cropping - not really any different from framing the photo in the first place.
      * Cleaning up speckles.
      * Taking out distracting objects that don't affect the me
  • Fake News Stories (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fdiskne1 (219834) on Monday August 07, 2006 @05:47PM (#15861834)
    In addition to the photos, there are many fake news stories out there. Like the one the photo was supposed to accompany said the photo was of a jet firing three missiles was actually the jet firing one flare. The report that a particular Israeli strike in Lebanon killed 40 civilians. There was only one casualty in that strike.

    The fact that Reuters didn't even look at the photos before publishing is just laughable. Anyone with an ounce of experience in photography could tell they were fake. Either Reuters is so inept you can't trust them to know the truth from lies or they don't care to tell the difference. Heck, a death threat to "Zionist pigs" [speroforum.com] was traced to a Reuters IP. Sure, I'll believe anything they say.

    Either way, as a previous poster said, read from a wide variety of news sources and figure it out for yourself.
  • by Llamakiller-4 (267848) on Monday August 07, 2006 @05:50PM (#15861856)
    Are you telling me that a this Reuters professional photographer has "Photoshop" skills so poor as to try and pawn off this VERY poor photo edit as the real thing? My God, he took the same puff of smoke and simply stamped it an extra 25 times on the photo. Absolutely unbelievable that anyone is that stupid, much less a professional.
     
  • by tgibbs (83782) on Monday August 07, 2006 @05:51PM (#15861870)
    LGF's extreme anti-Muslim stance is often disturbing, but this is the second time that they've made a major contribution by outing negligent reporting by the mainstream media--they were also the first to identify the fraudulent "Bush memos" as crude forgeries.
  • by ChePibe (882378) on Monday August 07, 2006 @05:53PM (#15861884)
    These photos are the latest chapter in a long-running problem of the press... and I think it's time for the American press to finally come out and say what it is - biased. ALL press is biased, period. But only here in the U.S. do we all happily assume that, somehow, our press holds itself to its lofty goals.

    Almost all of the European press is up front about its bias - left, right, or otherwise. It's liberating, it's informing, it's better for consumers. If I want to read the French press and see what's going on in the right, I read Liberation, the far-left (communist), L'Humanite, the right, Le Figaro, a center-left, Le Monde. By reading articles from each newspaper on a subject, you can hear what all sides are saying quickly and get much more information.

    But here in the U.S., such a bias is reviled. Fox News, for example, is looked down on for its conservative bias. I look down on them as well - not because they have a bias, at least they're more open about it - but because they try to conform to the American press ideal of supposedly unbiased reporting by claiming they're "fair and balanced". Just come out and say it!

    I don't care if the NY Times is left-leaning, either. That's fine. But they should at least ADMIT it.

    Americans, journalists in particular, need to embrace their biases. Let us know where you're coming from so we CAN get the message from both sides, not some filtered down, biased report passing itself off as "both" sides of the story.
  • Tip of Iceberg (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Detritus (11846) on Monday August 07, 2006 @05:54PM (#15861885) Homepage
    After browsing through a number of blogs, the two photos mentioned are just the tip of the iceberg. Reuters has distributed many other photographs from Adnan Hajj that are fake or questionable. With his talents, maybe Hajj can get a job with the Weekly World News.
  • Playboy! (Score:5, Funny)

    by lucabrasi999 (585141) on Monday August 07, 2006 @05:55PM (#15861904) Journal
    Whether you're a CNN fan, or a FoxNEWS fan, you have to wonder how much of what we see is fake, or exaggerated.

    I'm a Playboy fan, because nothing in that magazine is fake or exaggerated.

  • by Chris Siegler (3170) on Monday August 07, 2006 @05:59PM (#15861930)
    The bad photoshop work isn't really the story here. It's just what got him fired from Reuters. In one example [blogspot.com] and yet another [powerlineblog.com], this photographer is acting more as a Hezbollah propaganda operative than a news photographer. He was responsible for one of the most used photos from Qana with the dead child being held up, and as recently as yesterday had a picture on Page 1 of the NYT of an injured Lebonese civilian. He's basically the Peter Parker of Lebanon. It's wouldn't be hard to get the best photos if you were working with the terrorists who control the region!
  • And so badly done... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sbaker (47485) * on Monday August 07, 2006 @06:00PM (#15861936) Homepage
    Those are REALLY badly doctored photos - easy to spot. I think quite a few amateur GIMP/Photoshop users could have done a much better job (I know I can).

    If such obviously doctored photos are making it past the editors - who knows what more subtly done stuff has escaped detection.

  • Fake Sound (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MrSteveSD (801820) on Monday August 07, 2006 @06:19PM (#15862097)
    I have a friend who's a sound engineer and he says he always hears library sounds on news reports. e.g. A report from Iraq may have some standard AK47 shots dubbed on to make it sound more interesting.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 07, 2006 @09:01PM (#15863012)
    First, let's get this out of the way: taking a picture always entails a reduction. Any picture is a two dimensional projection of one brief moment in four-dimensional space-time. So there is, necessarily, no objective reproduction of the observed reality. Whis is fine, as long as the image does not convey a grossly inaccurate view of reality, whether on purpose or not. That said, there's plenty of room for creating misleading depictions without resorting to post-processing (nowadays done mostly digitally, but the fine art of analog retouching has been practiced for more than a century by glamor photographers).

    Now suppose there's one burning building in a city. There are many different ways to depict the situation. An aerial shot will show an isolated fire, without showing any details of the damage to the burning building. A photo taken at street level will show one or two sides of the building, probably focusing on the more heavily damaged sides. People may or may not be included in the picture. If they are, does it show terrified residents running away from the building? (Shock and awe.) Onlookers standing around? (Entertainment.) Firefighters doing their job? (Situation under control.) Did the photographer go directly for the jugular (weeping mother holding her infant)? Depending on what is shown, the composition, the exact moment, etc. one can convey vastly different messages, not all of which accurately reflect the situation.

    If you look at award-winning photojournalism, it's the drama-queens that win: the typical scenes are usually boring, and the unusual photos take on an iconic status. The Vietnamese girl running crying down the street, the raising of the flag over the Berlin Reichstag or on Iwojima all range from unusual to unique. They are powerful symbols, but not necessarily an accurate depiction of what goes on most of the time during a war, crisis, natural disaster, etc. (namely, not a whole lot).
  • by ems2 (976335) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @02:03AM (#15864122) Homepage
    This is second one from Lebanon admitted to be faked. Ynet reports [ynetnews.com]. Interesting times.
  • by Grismar (840501) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @07:57AM (#15864882)
    Not about the image that the original post is about, but about what happens after something like this gets out. Read this blog post:

    http://powerlineblog.com/archives/014929.php [powerlineblog.com]

    A fine example of a blogger making a fool of themself, doing the exact same thing they are accusing Reuters of doing. Read my response to it:

    ----

    The only photograph that strikes me as somewhat odd is the bottom image http://powerlineblog.com/archives/Hajj4567.jpg [powerlineblog.com].

    The other 4 images are clearly photographs of the same scene. Let me give you my view on the positioning of the photographers in each.

    #1 : http://powerlineblog.com/archives/Hajj1234.jpg [powerlineblog.com]
    This picture was taken with a regular angle lens, say somthing like 35mm, towards a building, across the bridge that is out. The photographer was standing close to the right side of the road (when viewed in this direction). The car in the next picture is out of the frame, to the left of the photographer. The photographer is too far from the actual damage to get a good shot of it. The actual damage is close to the right shoulder of the man in the center of the image, off to the left.

    #2 : http://powerlineblog.com/archives/Hajj1245.jpg [powerlineblog.com]
    This picture has been taken from the opposite side of the road from #1, i.e. the left, shooting in the same direction. The photographer will have used a telelens, say 200mm. This pulls in the distant background and seems to place the pilons in the center of the road closer together. Note the tree white and red pilons, with the overturned fourth. Now look at #1 again, you will notice the same three pilons with the overturned one pointing towards the photographer. Also not that the two palms and the car on the right side of the road are visible in #1 as well, off in the distance.

    Again, this picture has been shot across the destroyed bridge, which is now partly obscured by the car and the man. But you can make out the concrete mesh fragments sticking off the right shoulder of the man, to the right.

    #3 : http://powerlineblog.com/archives/Hajj2345.jpg [powerlineblog.com]
    In #3, the photopgrapher has arrived at the collapsed bridge. From this angle, the photographer, shooting with something like the 35mm again, can shoot into the gap, clearly showing the damage. The photographer is now well past the car in #2, but the other car is still visible across the gap. The car in #3 is actually visible in all of the images, as is the building in the background, though very poorly in #1.

    #4 : http://powerlineblog.com/archives/Hajj3456.jpg [powerlineblog.com]
    In #4, the photographer has moved back beyond the overturned car. Or, about as likely, #4 was actually taken before #1. The photographer is now so far back and to the left, that the small watchtower is also in the frame.

    The allegations in the piece are sensationalist and don't stand up to scrutiny. The author (and powerlineblog) are doing exactly what they are accusing Reuters of doing: posting material without a critical and sceptical review. If the bottom photo (#5, http://powerlineblog.com/archives/Hajj4567.jpg [powerlineblog.com]) was published as a photo of the same incident, that's not right But some of the comments on the other 4 are simply wrong.

    I've included a schematic drawing of the scene as I think it was, for your reference. Note that I was there no more than the author was and that errors in my reasoning or schematics should in no way impact what Reuters and Hajj have to say for themselves.

    ----

    The schematic I'm talking about: http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k88/Grismar75/i [photobucket.com]

"Everyone is entitled to an *informed* opinion." -- Harlan Ellison

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