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Reuters' Recurring Photaux Pas

Reuters appears to have stepped in it again with creative photo editing.

The wider photograph showing a knife in the hand of a "Mavi Marmara" passenger's hand (bottom right).
You'll recall the justifiable outcry that arose when the agency's photo team added black smoke to a photograph of Beirut under Israeli attack.

The new incident involves the deadly Israeli raid on a Gaza aid flotilla on May 31. And it would appear less sinister on its face -- because it involves cropping out rather than adding something in -- except that it involves two crops that appear to be precisely tailored to omit knives in the hands of the activists aboard the "Mavi Marmara."

You needn't agree with conspiracy theorists accusing Reuters of an anti-Israeli bias to recognize that knives being held near seemingly injured and panicked Israeli commandos is a relevant detail in those two photographs, regardless of intentions. (Never mind the bloodied hand of what appears to be a second Israeli troop, highlighted here.)
The initially released Reuters photo, cropped to omit the knife.

Reuters has its own Photoshop rules and guidelines posted on the web, including the specific rule that's got the blogosphere up in arms:

No additions or deletions to the subject matter of the original image. (thus changing the original content and journalistic integrity of an image)

-- Central Newsroom

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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