Breaking: Reuters pulls all 920 of Adnan Hajj’s photos

posted at 11:08 am on August 7, 2006 by Allahpundit

As an, ahem, “precautionary” measure, while they investigate.

‘Twas Rusty killed the beast:

Reuters ended its relationship with Hajj on Sunday after it found that a photograph he had taken of the aftermath of an Israeli air strike on suburban Beirut had been manipulated using Photoshop software to show more and darker smoke rising from buildings.

An immediate enquiry began into Hajj’s other work.

It established on Monday that a photograph of an Israeli F-16 fighter over Nabatiyeh, southern Lebanon and dated Aug 2, had also been doctored to increase the number of flares dropped by the plane from one to three.

I think we’re at the part in “Shattered Glass” now where Peter Sarsgaard’s rifling through back issues of the New Republic while Hayden Christensen sobs gently behind him.

“Chuck? Are you mad at me, Chuck?”

Update: The photos are still available on the wires, of course. They’ll just no longer be offered for sale by Reuters.

Update: Note this part:

The two altered photographs were among 43 that Hajj filed directly to the Reuters Global Pictures Desk since the start of the conflict on July 12 rather than through an editor in Beirut, as was the case with the great majority of his images.

In my first post about Hajj, I wrote:

I wonder: do editors typically review every shot before it hits the wires, especially ones as comparatively mundane as this? Anyone know? Surely they place some degree of trust in their stringers not to manipulate images…

You can draw a motive matrix here with four possibilities: political bias on the part of Hajj and the Reuters editor who approved the shot; political bias on the part of one and incompetence on the part of the other; or incompetence on the part of both. The last is the least damning — but still pretty damning.

Update: More Hajj chicanery? It’s possible that the flattened building referred to in the caption of the second photo is on the right, out of frame. But that’s the most charitable explanation.

And even then, that’s one misleading caption.

At least now we know how the nonsense about Beirut having allegedly been “totally destroyed” got started. It seems one bomb can flatten the same house day after day after day…

Someone sent me this last night, too. Again: possibly innocent. Maybe she just really likes that hijab, or maybe it’s the only one she’s got. But please note that if date manipulation did go on here, it’s an AP photographer who’s guilty of it, not someone from Reuters.

How far does this go?

Update: Mary K, whose cameo in Day By Day will soon be my desktop image, makes a nice catch on Editor & Publisher. Cartoon jihad redux: if you want to see what the fuss is all about, you’re plum out of luck, pal.

I do think she’s pushing her luck when she says this, though: “Don’t push the bloggers away. They are your friends. They will help you through this hard time.”

Er, yeah. Us and al-Reuters. Friends.

Update: Fox News is all over it. As is Rush Limbaugh.

Update Confederate Yankee on the massacre that wasn’t.

Update: Something I neglected to mention earlier: Reuters is acknowledging now that the flares in the photo of the Israeli jet were doctored — without noting that the original caption didn’t identify them as flares. It identified them as “missiles.”

So we’ve got another caption problem.

Photographers usually write their own captions. Is that true in this case? Or do we have more incompetence/bias in the Reuters HQ photo department?

Update: Another naturalistic, not-at-all-staged, cry-for-me-baby Adnan Hajj special:


Check out what Gateway Pundit’s got, too.

Update: The left reacts the only way they know how, by ignoring what the scandal implies about media coverage of the Middle East and instead downplaying it to minimize wingnut point-scoring. “Moral blindness personified,” says Moran.

Update: I really dig E.M. Zanotti, even though she bungles her facts in taking a swipe at me. “Shattered Glass” was about Stephen Glass, not Jayson Blair. And Blair, like Glass, didn’t merely plagiarize, he embellished some facts and invented others wholesale in order to make his stories juicier. Just like Hajj did.

But I digress. Here’s a minor classic of blog pessimism, a genre which I’ve been known to dabble in myself from time to time:

[A]lthough we think this is insane and stupid, and Reuters should be blown to space because of it, we hardly find this to be indicitive of anything other than a “we told you so.” Bloggers rely wholly on the MSM to report things that we then snarkily (hate that word) debunk, in a sort of Mystery Science Theater way. We watch from the sidelines while the MSM burns, the way that the MSM used to watch from the sidelines as government burns. They now believe themselves to be a branch of the feds, so we get to be the citizen milita army out there to ensure that they aren’t quatering themselves on our lawns. We’re never going to spell the end of media any more than Count Chocula spelled the end of serious cereals like Rasin Bran. We just provide an option to people who are so cynical, they might explode.

By tomorrow, nobody will care and Reuters will post another obviously staged photograph of Korans burning in the rubble of an elementary school that collapsed while it was full of babies and blind kittens. Until then, lets just enjoy the fact that professional journalists can’t use software to save their lives, and leave the pretending-we’re-relevant for the next election cycle.

All that and the royal “we,” too. I’m adding her to my RSS list. I suggest you do so as well.

Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air



Trackback URL


While there’s little chance that the MSM will ever inform the 98% of the public that hasn’t heard of this, you can bet your bippie that the people in the news business will sure know what’s going on. Within its own news reporting community, Reuters is going to take a big hit on this.

Sure, most of the MSMers are sympathetic to Reuters, but their lack of ability (or will) to have caught this hoax ahead of time will be quite emabarrassing. Lotsa photo editors will be looking over their shoulders now.

firegeezer on August 7, 2006 at 11:19 AM

It’s getting tough to make a dishonest living out there. The Blogosphere will force the MSM to clean house, or replace it entirely. Right Mr. Rather?

RedWinged Blackbird on August 7, 2006 at 11:23 AM

Are the photos fake but accurate?

wytammic on August 7, 2006 at 11:29 AM

But please note that if date manipulation did go on here, it’s an AP photographer who’s guilty of it, not someone from Reuters.

That sure looks like it’s what happened. Maybe these guys got together and figured each could slide the others old pics as new news past the editors for the different wire services.

“And we would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for those meddling bloggers!”

Pablo on August 7, 2006 at 12:13 PM

Any idea whn LGF will be back up? Haven’t been able to access it today.

JammieWearingFool on August 7, 2006 at 12:51 PM

Actually, I was able to link to the LGF thread that started it all, but not the main page. I see Reuters has visted them 128 times today and it was overwhelmed with over 300K visits yesterday.

JammieWearingFool on August 7, 2006 at 1:01 PM

Reuters is sorry that they were caught, but they feel no shame about what they did. As Israel wipes out Hezbollah day by day, look for Reuters to attempt to aid Hezbollah with more staged photos. They will be too scared to doctor photos, but they will definitely stage scenes to photograph Israeli “crimes.”

BTW, the mainstream media has been staging photos for years. For example, if you take hundreds of photos of a speech by Bush and then you choose the one picture that makes Bush look most unflattering, that is staging the news for propaganda purposes. It is unethical, so it is not surprising that Reuters has taken the additional step (in the name of a left-wing “social justice”) of actually doctoring photos in order to influence public opinion.

januarius on August 7, 2006 at 1:26 PM

I was looking at a Hajj photo that the NYT ran yesterday. I blew it up in a photo viewer and I thought it looked kind of like there was a part of a hezbollah tattoo on the the left hand of the guy in front carrying the stretcher.

I was thinking maybe there was an attempt to airbrush part of it away to make it look like dirt. Especially above the rifle barrel where some arabic writing would have been it looks like some faded cloning ( three dots ).

Probably nothing there but I can’t help suspecting everything this Hajj guy does.

Perchant on August 7, 2006 at 2:15 PM

Are the photos fake but accurate?

What do you mean by accurate?

Rick on August 7, 2006 at 2:34 PM

What a disgrace…

What clowns…

What losers….

What is amazing and sad is that the Masses are handed their thoughts and ideas.

This is no different than domestic brainwashing – i.e. global warming and regulation, WOT, Bush, Wal-Mart, etc.

My relative once bashed Wal-Mart. After pointing out that she probably had retirement stock in Wal-Mart and after about 10 minutes on the Internet to deny/confirm — What do you know?

Wal-mart stock was owned…

The Masses (and everyone else) are losing big time.


I have never thought it was a stretch to say that we have always been in a cultural battle of thoughts and ideas.

Just because we have at times, what seems like, a relative calm, …

Who will win this cultural war of thoughts and ideas?

ar_basin on August 7, 2006 at 2:38 PM

I found another photoshop job by a different photographer working for Reuters in Lebanon. It is the fourth photo down:


The “blood” paint job is pretty bad which is probably why they tried to add some unblooded skin patches to the face. They used a skin color that wasn’t quite right but the smoking gun is the added skin drops below the dark eyebrow and you can still see the dark eyebrow underneath the added skin layer. ( REUTERS/Elie Abou Faysal )

Someone might want to bring this one to the attention of LGF and others who are documenting the photo fraud. I would but I’m not registered at these other blogs.

Perchant on August 7, 2006 at 3:07 PM

To al-reuters quoting Ronald Reagan “There you go again”

Thank goodness for bloggers or I am afraid that this stuff would never be caught…..

robo on August 7, 2006 at 4:56 PM


There is one thing that has been bothering me about the first faked photo, the one with the smoke plumes. Why did he do that? Why manipulate the smoke that way? At first I thought it was to make it look as if two bombs had hit instead of one, but then when I heard Charles from LGF say that the photographer had “cloned” buildings as well and I noticed that in the doctored photo it gives the impression that the bombs hit in different places than it actually did.

So…was he maybe trying to make it seem that a bomb hit a certain spot that actually wasn’t hit? And if so why? There has to be a reason for his cloning! It is driving me crazy. I think it is important to know. Can’t your fancy brain figure it out? Because my slow one cannot.

Rightwingsparkle on August 7, 2006 at 11:39 PM

I think that all of the Arab stringers in Lebanon and in Gaza and Israel should be closely scrutinized. This is just the tip of the iceberg. The thing is-the media in Israel is saturated with Jew-haters of all kinds. They live like kings in Israel, rent their cars from Arabs, have Arab ‘house-boys’ and dine at the American Colony hotel and buy their spices in Ramallah. They only know lefty, self-hating Israelis. They are probably really broken up by this story. Broken up about being caught of course.

WriterMom on August 8, 2006 at 10:30 AM