Home inContext Reuters Plays a Role in Anti-Israel Propaganda

Reuters Plays a Role in Anti-Israel Propaganda

Samara Greenberg

Outrage sparked the internet yesterday, as blogging site Little Green Footballs accused Reuters news service of intentionally cropping incriminating details from photos taken aboard the Mavi Marmara ship bound for Gaza one week ago. The photos, released Sunday by the Turkish daily Hürriyet, were issued by the Associated Press untouched, but were cut by Reuters to exclude a knife in an activist’s hand from one picture, and a knife and a pool of blood in another.

According to Little Green Footballs founder, Charles Johnson, “Most people would consider that knife an important part of the context. There was a huge controversy over whether the activists were armed. Cropping out a knife, in a picture showing a soldier who’s apparently been stabbed, seems like a very odd editorial decision.”

Original picture published by Hurriyet

Picture published by Reuters

Original picture published by Hurriyet

Picture published by Reuters

Reuters later distributed the original images and addressed the issue in its “Good, Bad, and Ugly” blog, claiming “normal editorial practice were prepared” and that the “dagger was inadvertently cropped from the images.” However, this isn’t the first time Reuters has altered images for what seems like anti-Israel propaganda purposes. During the 2006 Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah, Reuters admitted to publishing an altered photograph of smoke rising from buildings in Beirut after an Israeli Air Force attack to include more smoke and damage than actually occurred. Little Green Footballs exposed the alterations in that case, as well.

Original picture according to Reuters

Potential original picture according to Little Green Footballs

Altered picture published by Reuters

In response, Israeli Minister of Public Diplomacy Yuli Edelstein sent a letter to Reuters chief executive Tom Glocer Monday expressing the Israeli government’s “grave concern” over the cropped photographs and calling the act an “abuse of photo-imagery by Reuters.” “I am sure you are aware that pictures…clearly show the use of knives against Israeli servicemen,” Edelstein wrote.

Reuters’ demonstrated pattern of distributing altered photographs to promote an anti-Israel point-of-view is utterly disturbing. Indeed, each of these pictures are truly worth a thousand words.