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Reuters Caught Blowing Smoke – Faking Photos

You’ve probably heard the news by now. But here is a nice summation from Israel’s Ynet News:

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A Reuters photograph of smoke rising from buildings in Beirut has been withdrawn after coming under attack by American web logs.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 Reuters has since withdrawn the photograph from its website, along a message admitting that the image was distorted, and an apology to editors.

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."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…

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

Purportedly the unfaked version of the photo.

Kudos to LGF for spotting the photoshopping. And to the Freepers who helped demonstrate the fakery.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Sunday, August 6th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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