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Reuters’ Questionable Editing Practices

One thing accomplished by the rise of Internet-based political commentary is the dramatic and sudden increase in feet/fire proximity for wire services: Those happy few companies which fetch the news, and bottle it at the source. Where some journos are content to sit by and wait for someone angry to phone in a nasty secret about his boss, wire stringers go out to where the news is happening and write down what they see. Small and medium-sized papers print these stories. Larger ones rewrite them and add spice. But just five or ten years ago, almost no one could see what was coming in on AP, Reuters, Scripps, UPI, and the rest. Almost no one could see the news behind the news. Now, anyone can. Which is why folks are now asking questions like the ones Power Line is asking:

What else has been faked? What else has been manipulated? Who are the people hired by Western news agencies to report from Lebanon? What are their backgrounds? It’s time to look even more carefully at Qana.
These were prompted by an admission—a quiet one which will appear in very few newspaper in which the original, doctored, photograph ran—that one of its photos from Beirut was deliberately doctored with Photoshop. The cameraman credited with that photo? The very one who purportedly snapped the shots at Qana now being used to condemn Israel.

The pressure now brought to bear on companies like Reuters is incredibly important, since sometime between World War II and now, these wire companies have decided 1) that it is important to hire stringers friendly with the enemy, and 2) that even that is not enough to jazz up wire reports; plenty of computer ‘correction’ can be made to photographs before it becomes a misrepresentation.


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