Reuters scandal demands an outside investigation

Reuters now admits supplying the world's media with crude propaganda pictures, faked by an Arab photographer. The agency's journalistic standards are now a global laughingstock. If the agency hopes to regain credibility it must appoint an outside panel of experts to review other work of the same photographer, including the controversial photos supplied from Qana.

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 inadequate 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, those reassurances cannot be regarded as worthy of respect.

Thomas Lifson   8 06 06

Update: Kurth Hoglund of AJacksonian writes:

I recommend Mark Fairchild from the Munsell Color Lab at RIT.  They have done a *Iot* of work in digital imaging, forensic digital imaging, and some work for the National Archives digital conversion project.  If not him, then he can recommend one of the top people in the digital imaging research realm...  RIT is a *good* place to find the necessary experience for work between academia and industry (print, media, new media).

They are a respected group in the New Media and Media industry quite able to do this sort of work or recommend one of the other Media organizations at RIT that can do this better... perhaps their print/publication folks and Frank Romano.

8/7/06 3:11 AM PDT

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

Update: Michelle Malkin has plenty of links here, and posts Hajj pictures and others now questioned, as the scandal deepens. She also links to Euphoric Reality, which has submitted the word "Reutered" to the Urban Doctionary.

Rusty Shackleford at The Jawa Report demonstrates that Hajj used Photoshop or similar program to "enhance" ("lie") about a picture of Israeli jets supposedly launching another cruel attack.

Powerline shows Reuters captioning the same building as being flatterened by two different Israeli air raids on July 24 and August 5.

These other deceptions deepen the case for an outside investigation. Clearly, Hajj is not a lone rogue photgrapher. The problem at Reuters goes directly to the photo editor level, at a minimum, and maybe higher.

It is almost inconveivable to me that a professional photo editing staff could pass off the same buildings as galttened in raids two weeks apart.

8/7/06 3:40 AM PDT

Reuters now admits supplying the world's media with crude propaganda pictures, faked by an Arab photographer. The agency's journalistic standards are now a global laughingstock. If the agency hopes to regain credibility it must appoint an outside panel of experts to review other work of the same photographer, including the controversial photos supplied from Qana.

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 inadequate 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, those reassurances cannot be regarded as worthy of respect.

Thomas Lifson   8 06 06

Update: Kurth Hoglund of AJacksonian writes:

I recommend Mark Fairchild from the Munsell Color Lab at RIT.  They have done a *Iot* of work in digital imaging, forensic digital imaging, and some work for the National Archives digital conversion project.  If not him, then he can recommend one of the top people in the digital imaging research realm...  RIT is a *good* place to find the necessary experience for work between academia and industry (print, media, new media).

They are a respected group in the New Media and Media industry quite able to do this sort of work or recommend one of the other Media organizations at RIT that can do this better... perhaps their print/publication folks and Frank Romano.

8/7/06 3:11 AM PDT

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

Update: Michelle Malkin has plenty of links here, and posts Hajj pictures and others now questioned, as the scandal deepens. She also links to Euphoric Reality, which has submitted the word "Reutered" to the Urban Doctionary.

Rusty Shackleford at The Jawa Report demonstrates that Hajj used Photoshop or similar program to "enhance" ("lie") about a picture of Israeli jets supposedly launching another cruel attack.

Powerline shows Reuters captioning the same building as being flatterened by two different Israeli air raids on July 24 and August 5.

These other deceptions deepen the case for an outside investigation. Clearly, Hajj is not a lone rogue photgrapher. The problem at Reuters goes directly to the photo editor level, at a minimum, and maybe higher.

It is almost inconveivable to me that a professional photo editing staff could pass off the same buildings as galttened in raids two weeks apart.

8/7/06 3:40 AM PDT