A tale of two photographs

posted at 10:12 am on September 17, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Not long ago, Pew Research reported that trust in the media had dropped to its lowest levels in the 24 years that Pew has surveyed on the question.  One media photographer says he can explain why.  Pulitzer Prize winner David Hume Kennerly has been taking photos for decades, but says Newsweek shocked him with their use of a picture he took of Dick Cheney and his family preparing dinner.  Kennerly tells what happened next:

Featured inside the magazine was a full-page, stand-alone picture of former Vice President Dick Cheney, knife in hand, leaning over a bloody carving board. Newsweek used it to illustrate a quote that he made about C.I.A. interrogators. By linking that photo with Mr. Cheney’s comment and giving it such prominence, they implied something sinister, macabre, or even evil was going on there.

I took that photograph at his daughter Liz’s home during a two-day assignment, and was shocked by its usage. The meat on the cutting board wasn’t the only thing butchered. In fact, Newsweek chose to crop out two-thirds of the original photograph, which showed Mrs. Cheney, both of their daughters, and one of their grandchildren, who were also in the kitchen, getting ready for a simple family dinner.

However, Newsweek’s objective in running the cropped version was to illustrate its editorial point of view, which could only have been done by shifting the content of the image so that readers just saw what the editors wanted them to see. This radical alteration is photo fakery. Newsweek’s choice to run my picture as a political cartoon not only embarrassed and humiliated me and ridiculed the subject of the picture, but it ultimately denigrated my profession.

The New York Times provided an opportunity for Newsweek to respond.  VP Frank De Maria said that cropping has been an “accepted practice” in photography since its invention.  He makes no apology for using the image to make a political point:

Is it a picture of the former vice president cutting meat? Yes, it is. Has it been altered? No. Did we use the image to make an editorial point — in this case, about the former vice president’s red-blooded, steak-eating, full-throated defense of his views and values? Yes, we did.

Here’s the original image:

And here’s what Newsweek ran to illustrate their story on CIA interrogation:

We like to find goofy pictures of politicians to make a point, too.  It’s fun and it’s useful — for a political blog with a point of view. Is that what Newsweek thinks of itself?  It’s certainly what many of us think of Newsweek, and this doesn’t exactly refute that charge. Or does it make a difference that it was used in The Take, a feature that is expressly opinion?

What do you think?  Take the poll:



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I like Newsweek. I will be reading a 2 year old issue 2 years from now while waiting for 6 hours in a doctors office for an appointment that took 5 months to arrange. These old magazines also are in waiting rooms for other services. They also are not relevant.

seven on September 17, 2009 at 11:06 AM

It’s tabloid style, but then what idiot put out the fake picture of the tea party?

AnninCA on September 17, 2009 at 11:07 AM

So running the picture of Obama dressed as an African was Okay?

Yeah. if I remember, newsweek was whining about how terrible it was for that picture to be put out there.

Hypocrites.

portlandon on September 17, 2009 at 11:09 AM

Editing someone else’s work, in order to make it say what you want it to say, is an acceptable practice?

MarkTheGreat on September 17, 2009 at 10:21 AM

Yes, it is.

jediwebdude on September 17, 2009 at 11:10 AM

The photo of Cheney contrasts with this one of Obama: http://optoons.blogspot.com/2009/03/photographer-disciplined-for-snapping.html (Photographer Disciplined for Snapping President at Bad Angle)

Mervis Winter on September 17, 2009 at 11:10 AM

Picayune. Don’t see no problem withis.

Akzed on September 17, 2009 at 11:10 AM

“Fake, but accurate”… I guess…

newton on September 17, 2009 at 11:11 AM

I would’t have minded as much if the dude wasn’t so smug in his “explaination”

thebrokenrattle on September 17, 2009 at 11:11 AM

I can’t stand Newsweek, but I have to chuckle at the photographer’s indignation at having his photo cropped. He cropped it, too, by deciding how to frame his shot. By deciding where to point the camera, and how loose/tight to frame the shot, he made a conscious choice to crop content from the scene. He was presented with a 360-degree scene of reality, and he chose to isolate part what he thought was relevant or useful. That’s an editorial decision, no matter how sensible or innocuous he thought it was.

The Newsweek editors simply did what he did, just at one step further down the chain: They took a scene that was presented to them, and isolated what they thought was relevant or useful.

Doesn’t mean they’re not complete tools, just that the photographer is complaining about the editors doing pretty much exactly what he did.

greggriffith on September 17, 2009 at 11:12 AM

FU Newsweek. Bush & Cheney kept us safe for 8 years, while you tried to stop them. They succeeded where you failed.

JustTruth101 on September 17, 2009 at 11:15 AM

Newsweek… Opinionweak

Tazed and Confused on September 17, 2009 at 11:15 AM

There was no “Glenn Beck” option in the poll so I’ll pass. Not a fair poll.

TendStl on September 17, 2009 at 11:23 AM

fresh meat sells

Hofstra
false charges from non-victim of non-rape

Late this evening, during the continuation of the Nassau County Police Department’s investigation of the allegation, and under questioning by my office’s chief trial attorney and chief sex crimes prosecutor, the alleged victim of the sexual assault admitted that the encounter that took place early Sunday morning was consensual.

maverick muse on September 17, 2009 at 11:25 AM

Editing someone else’s work, in order to make it say what you want it to say, is an acceptable practice?

MarkTheGreat on September 17, 2009 at 10:21 AM

Yes, it is.

jediwebdude on September 17, 2009 at 11:10 AM

And this is the logic that led Joe Scarborough to claim that Glen Beck claimed there were FEMA camps. A lie created and propagated by people with an agenda against Glen Beck. Of course, all this comment did was to make Joe Scarborough look either uninformaed at best or a lier himself at worst.

Removing the context ALWAYS changes the story that both text and pictures tell.

Freddy on September 17, 2009 at 11:29 AM

It is completely OK, both Cheney and Kennerly are grown men. They know who Newsweek is and they chose to allow them to use them.

The only abuse would be if Kennerly did not tell Cheney who he was selling his pictures too. Or if Kennerly had a contractual agreement with Newsweek to run his pictures unaltered.

You lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

barnone on September 17, 2009 at 11:31 AM

As a photographer, I think it is acceptable under the terms of their contract with a photographer as long as they do not alter the photo in any other way than to crop it. That being said, the photographer should be aware of the type of publication they are willing to work for. Newsweek is the same as any other liberal rag, in that they have a history of this type of editorial use, or partial use of photos to fit their agenda.

Sporty1946 on September 17, 2009 at 11:33 AM

Honestly, not bothered by this one. The picture could’ve easily included nothing but Cheney in the first place. It’s not like the took a picture of him picking his nose.

Personally, I don’t see anything sinister about a guy cutting some meet. That photographer needs to work on that bleeding heart of his.

Trent1289 on September 17, 2009 at 11:39 AM

Did we use the image to make an editorial point

THIS is the larger issue IMO.

The NYT seems to be OK with making editorial points, in what is supposed to be news.

If Newsweek is just an editorial Magazine, then using NEWS as its title is misleading to the point of being False Advertising…

Maybe they need to change their Title… to Opinion Week?

Romeo13 on September 17, 2009 at 11:40 AM

Newsweek, or NewsWEAK???

capejasmine on September 17, 2009 at 11:40 AM

The cropped picture doesn’t exactly look sinister to me unlike John McCain with blood dripping from his mouth. Any reasonable person could tell the picture was cropped. I suppose this might scare off a vegetarian or two, but I wouldn’t exactly call the cropped picture harmful.

Newsweek hasn’t exactly been hiding their new direction. They now want to be the America’s answer to the Economist, so I guess that means left-leaning analysis along with the added bonus of photoshopped pictures.

Of course, anyone who hates Cheney anyway would automatically assume that he’s carving up the family dog.

Vera71 on September 17, 2009 at 11:45 AM

They had to make the picture fit their template of Cheney. Mean, vicious, and evil. Red meat to the Libs. They cropped it to fit the template.
Too bad David Kennerly didn’t figure that out before he took the pic. I know it wasn’t on his mind when he snapped it. The picture without cropping is a good one. It says a lot of good about Cheney. We can’t have that info getting out.

BetseyRoss on September 17, 2009 at 11:51 AM

Not entire sure I understand the second option, “Acceptable for their use in an opinion section.” What part of “Newsweek” is not considered an opinion section?

Blacklake on September 17, 2009 at 11:52 AM

In the first picture I see Cheney, with his family, in a kitchen cutting meat. In the second picture I see Cheney, with at least one other person, in a kitchen cutting meat.

I’m sure they tried to make this look sinister, but since they failed, IMO, It’s hard for me to be too upset. It doesn’t make him look bad, it makes them look stupid.

Bobbertsan on September 17, 2009 at 11:54 AM

I can’t stand Newsweek, but I have to chuckle at the photographer’s indignation at having his photo cropped. He cropped it, too, by deciding how to frame his shot.

greggriffith on September 17, 2009 at 11:12 AM

Photography is an art. An artist has every right to an opinion of how his/her work is used or framed.

Depending on the contract, Newsweek also had a right of use of the artist’s product in the way they used it, or they did not. Certain photographers are famous enough that they can demand complete artistic control over the display of their creations by those who possess them — and they get it.

Others of us are not so lucky.

This whole kerfaffle harkens back to Republican use of certain musical soundtracks created by people who were supporting the other side. Those people demanded that their works not be utilized by the RNC, and the Republicans ignored them — a reasonable position given that the Republicans had already paid the necessary fees to use the work.

unclesmrgol on September 17, 2009 at 12:01 PM

I think it is interesting that the photographer is angry.

Cindy Munford on September 17, 2009 at 12:07 PM

Its totally appropriate for a magazine everyone knows is an arm of the Democrat Party. Its totally unacceptable for a magazine that pretends its neutral and unbiased.

Dark Eden on September 17, 2009 at 12:20 PM

Cindy Munford on September 17, 2009 at 12:07 PM

Its totally appropriate for a magazine everyone knows is an arm of the Democrat Party. Its totally unacceptable for a magazine that pretends its neutral and unbiased.

Dark Eden on September 17, 2009 at 12:20 PM

Well put. Eventually the market will win out, like the NY Times and others, as they slowly work themselves, through the efforts of their bias nature to look unbiased, to where they are exposed to irrelevance.

itsspideyman on September 17, 2009 at 12:28 PM

“Did we use the image to make an editorial point — in this case, about the former vice president’s red-blooded, steak-eating, full-throated defense of his views and values? Yes, we did.”

Isn’t Newsweek supposed to be, well, news of the week? What is “an editorial point” doing in a news story?

I think they just admitted that even their news stories are whored to the DNC. I’ll be cancelling my son’s subscription.

Zumkopf on September 17, 2009 at 12:29 PM

I am not surprised by this at all. When I saw the photo, I knew something was wrong and that the sniggering mental midgets at Newsweek thought they had triumphed. They showed Cheney who was boss, right? Yes, but like the race card debacle, this type of puerile attack garners the wrong kind of attention. Goodbye Newsweek with in a few years time.

(I have a subscription because a liberal friend of mine thought that would be a great joke! But, the joke backfired you see, I know that if I disagree with what is in Newsweek, I am a thinking human being. So, Newsweek can be seen as a training tool for conservatives.)

allstonian on September 17, 2009 at 12:31 PM

Joe Scarborough has been taking Glenn Beck out of context and mocking him. Can someone tell Scaroborough that he has morphed from a conservative, to a moderate, to now a progressive.

So I went to see the latest you tube, searched Beck and Scarborough and found this gem.

It is a sign! These two kids have to spend some time together bonding while fishing (no Brokeback Mountain stuff, just good old fashioned Bromance).

Mr. Joe on September 17, 2009 at 12:35 PM

Don’t insult Mad Magazine that way. Mad is good (or was, haven’t read it since the 1970s.)

rbj on September 17, 2009 at 11:06 AM

Mad still has its moments-last year they had a hilarious cover with “Alfred E. O’bama”, and the current issue has Alred E. begging on the street holding a sign that says “Will Worry For Food”.

Del Dolemonte on September 17, 2009 at 12:44 PM

YesNo, it isn’t.

jediwebdude on September 17, 2009 at 11:10 AM

Your right.

MarkTheGreat on September 17, 2009 at 12:46 PM

I’m surprised they didn’t Photoshop the image to make it look like Cheney was carving kittens for dinner.

stevezilla on September 17, 2009 at 12:51 PM

Can I reasonably assume that if if Newsweek wrote on Obama’s support for late term abortions they would show a picture just above that of Obama butchering a chicken?

wtng2fish on September 17, 2009 at 12:51 PM

I’m not sure it’s bad that they cropped the picture. But I’m certain that it’s not bad to point out their hypocrasy.

I don’t read or even care about Newsweek. Every time I see one in the Dr.’s Office or the DDS Office, I turn the magazine face down on the table, or put them far to the back in the rack.

My own little revolt.

PappaMac on September 17, 2009 at 1:01 PM

Maybe it’s just the TX dramatization, but I recall Joe McCarthy waving around a photo before COngress and making claims.

IIRC, it turns out that the photo was cropped; the left ~30% (someone the subject of Joe’s photo was really looking at) was missing.

This photo of Cheny is missing, what, 65% of the original context? Even with the original and cropped photos together, the cropped photo loses all of its “home” feel; the “home” feel returns only when looking at the original.

In the cropped photo, the containers on the counter and the 3 drawer pulls seem to take on a “laboratory” feel. The feel disappears when looking at the original.

Arbalest on September 17, 2009 at 1:06 PM

Newsweek is loosing about $2 million a month. I look forward to them going belly up.

Rod on September 17, 2009 at 1:10 PM

At least they’ve completely dropped the pretense of objectivity. They’re admitting to be what we’ve said they are all along.

Jim Treacher on September 17, 2009 at 1:13 PM

They’re admitting to be what we’ve said they are all along.

Jim Treacher on September 17, 2009 at 1:13 PM

Unadulterated whores?

Schadenfreude on September 17, 2009 at 1:23 PM

I didn’t know anyone still read the weekly news magazines. Take your pick:

US News and World Report, Time, Newsweek, they have liberal hack magazines even back in the 70′s. I gave up on them 30 years ago.

I gave up on the local daily paper (wherever I have lived) over 10 years ago. I don’t even buy the Sunday papers anymore for the advertising supplements. I no longer shop locally. If I can’t find it delivered from the internet, I don’t buy it.

The business model for these media outlets is rapidly changing, and all of these liberal front tools are going to whither away. Thank goodness.

karenhasfreedom on September 17, 2009 at 1:24 PM

I put Newsweek in the same category as Mad Magazine.

Knucklehead on September 17, 2009 at 10:55 AM

Don’t insult Mad Magazine that way. Mad is good (or was, haven’t read it since the 1970s.)

rbj on September 17, 2009 at 11:06 AM

How dare you put Mad Magazine in with left wing schlock toilet paper like Newsweek or Time. The people at Mad, at least used to I have3n’t seen it in decades, showed some real talent & creativity. Time & Newsweek are SO predictable that they can recycle a late 70s-early 80s story about GLOBAL COOLING, caused by us, and a )shock) coming ice age, into a present day GLOBAL WARMING article written almost the exact same way.

Jeff from WI on September 17, 2009 at 1:28 PM

Kennerly said:

By linking that photo with Mr. Cheney’s comment and giving it such prominence, they implied something sinister, macabre, or even evil was going on there.

That’s ridiculous. If you only looked at the Newsweek version, it still is clearly an image of Cheney cutting meat in a kitchen. No reasonable person would think that it was a picture of Cheney doing anything other than preparing dinner.

Kennerly is clearly not a reasonable person.

I mean, he calls this basic cropping a “radical alteration”. It’s nowhere near “radical”. He’s making a preposterous argument.

orange on September 17, 2009 at 1:54 PM

Bush & Cheney kept us safe for 8 years

JustTruth101 on September 17, 2009 at 11:15 AM

Umm… no they didn’t. Maybe you missed it, but there were terrorist attacks that occurred during the Bush/Cheney years. They were pretty big news, actually.

orange on September 17, 2009 at 1:57 PM

I voted acceptable for an opinion piece, because 1) I defend the 1st Amendment, and 2) the entirety of Newsweek is a left wing opinion piece. And their plunging readership proves that point.

kirkill on September 17, 2009 at 2:04 PM

Another reason why I don’t/won’t read NewsWeak.

Mangy Scot on September 17, 2009 at 2:04 PM

This is no big deal. The photog is upset, but I don’t see anything wrong with cropping the photo as shown. Newsweek is a lame publication, so I don’t know why we should care much about what they do anyway. As some previous poster pointed out, they are losing millions per month, so they may not be around long.

Snidely Whiplash on September 17, 2009 at 2:07 PM

They were It was pretty big news, actually.

orange on September 17, 2009 at 1:57 PM

orange, even when you are technically correct you lie. The point is, Muslim extremists have been blowing innocent people up ever since bombs were invented. And it doesn’t matter who is POTUS. The FACT that Clinton did very little to prosecute terrorism, and Bush/Cheney did much, is where the debate is. And progressives like yourself defend the terrorists at every turn. It’s pathetic.

— November 1979: Muslim extremists (Iranian variety) seized the U.S. embassy in Iran and held 52 American hostages for 444 days, following Democrat Jimmy Carter’s masterful foreign policy granting Islamic fanaticism its first real foothold in the Middle East.

— 1982: Muslim extremists (mostly Hezbollah) began a nearly decade-long habit of taking Americans and Europeans hostage in Lebanon, killing William Buckley and holding Terry Anderson for 6 1/2 years.

— April 1983: Muslim extremists (Islamic Jihad or possibly Hezbollah) bombed the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, killing 16 Americans.

— October 1983: Muslim extremists (Hezbollah) blew up the U.S. Marine barracks at the Beirut airport, killing 241 Marines.

— December 1983: Muslim extremists (al-Dawa) blew up the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait, killing five and injuring 80.

— September 1984: Muslim extremists (Hezbollah) exploded a truck bomb at the U.S. Embassy annex in Beirut, killing 24 people, including two U.S. servicemen.

— December 1984: Muslim extremists (probably Hezbollah) hijacked a Kuwait Airways airplane, landed in Iran and demanded the release of the 17 members of al-Dawa who had been arrested for the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait, killing two Americans before the siege was over.

— June 14, 1985: Muslim extremists (Hezbollah) hijacked TWA Flight 847 out of Athens, diverting it to Beirut, taking the passengers hostage in return for the release of the Kuwait 17 as well as another 700 prisoners held by Israel. When their demands were not met, the Muslims shot U.S. Navy diver Robert Dean Stethem and dumped his body on the tarmac.

— October 1985: Muslim extremists (Palestine Liberation Front backed by Libya) seized an Italian cruise ship, the Achille Lauro, killing 69-year-old American Leon Klinghoffer by shooting him and then tossing his body overboard.

— December 1985: Muslim extremists (backed by Libya) bombed airports in Rome and Vienna, killing 20 people, including five Americans.

— April 1986: Muslim extremists (backed by Libya) bombed a discotheque frequented by U.S. servicemen in West Berlin, injuring hundreds and killing two, including a U.S. soldier.

— December 1988: Muslim extremists (backed by Libya) bombed Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 on board and 11 on the ground.(Then came an amazing, historic pause in Muslim extremists’ relentless war on America after Ronald Reagan won the Cold War by doing the opposite of everything recommended by Democrats, depriving Islamic terrorists of their Soviet sponsors. This confuses liberals because they don’t understand the concept of terror sponsors, whether it’s the Soviet Union or Iraq.)

— February 1993: Muslim extremists (al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, possibly with involvement of friendly rival al-Qaida) set off a bomb in the basement of the World Trade Center, killing six and wounding more than 1,000.

— Spring 1993: Muslim extremists (al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, the Sudanese Islamic Front and at least one member of Hamas) plot to blow up the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, the U.N. complex, and the FBI’s lower Manhattan headquarters.

— November 1995: Muslim extremists (possibly Iranian “Party of God”) explode a car bomb at U.S. military headquarters in Saudi Arabia, killing five U.S. military servicemen.

— June 1996: Muslim extremists (13 Saudis and a Lebanese member of Hezbollah, probably with involvement of al-Qaida) explode a truck bomb outside the Khobar Towers military complex, killing 19 American servicemen and injuring hundreds.

— August 1998: Muslim extremists (al-Qaida) explode truck bombs at U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing 224 and injuring thousands.

— October 2000: Muslim extremists (al-Qaida) blow up the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Cole, killing 17 U.S. sailors.

— Sept. 11, 2001: Muslim extremists (al-Qaida) hijack commercial aircraft and fly planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania, killing nearly 3,000 Americans.America’s war with Islamic fanaticism didn’t start on 9/11, but it’s going to end with 9/11 — as long as Americans aren’t foolish enough ever to put a Democrat in the White House.

kirkill on September 17, 2009 at 2:11 PM

Insignificant kerfluffle – it doesn’t matter.

Years ago Newsweek was over 100 pages of NEWS at 35 cents or so.

I now see it at supermarket checkout stands next to the Enquirer and Cosmo.

The ‘magazine’ is thinner than the flimsy entertainment papers, and costs – what – $4.95 or so?

About 50 cents a page.

I see a bright future for the publication – IF they start running neighborhood classifieds.

fred5678 on September 17, 2009 at 2:13 PM

Not all that much different from MSNBC’s cropping of the “racist” tea party black man with an automatic rifle.

Onus on September 17, 2009 at 2:47 PM

I’m outraged!

Mr. Vice President, you have got to let that meat rest longer before you slice it!

Or… did I miss the point?

Scott P on September 17, 2009 at 3:18 PM

My only comment at this particular point in time is… now I’m starvin’!

Chickyraptor on September 17, 2009 at 3:52 PM

That pic wouldn’t phase me a bit. There again, I’m not in the habit of analyzing every MSM pic for some kind of subliminal message.

I would start, except I don’t buy or read anything by nor care what the MSM has to sell anyway.

Dr. ZhivBlago on September 17, 2009 at 5:16 PM

“faze”

Dr. ZhivBlago on September 17, 2009 at 5:17 PM

Acceptable? – Yes.

‘Completely’ acceptable?

Well . . .

TimBuk3 on September 17, 2009 at 5:23 PM

So running the picture of Obama dressed as an African was Okay?
Yeah. if I remember, newsweek was whining about how terrible it was for that picture to be put out there.
Hypocrites.

portlandon on September 17

What was the context of the picture?
When and where? Was it when “Private Citizen Obama” was in Africa?

In what context was the picture used?

DSchoen on September 17, 2009 at 5:48 PM

I’m surprised Newsweak didn’t photoshop in a helpless Koran on the pool of blood and at the end of Cheney’s knife.

Otherwise, a crop is part of the gig with uber-politically slanted rags like this as it aims to newsweaken America.

profitsbeard on September 17, 2009 at 6:43 PM

FU Newsweek. Bush & Cheney kept us safe for 8 years, while you tried to stop them. They succeeded where you failed.

JustTruth101 on September 17, 2009 at 11:15 AM

Amen. And that smug bastard De Maria can kiss my patriotic ass.

infidel4life on September 17, 2009 at 10:17 PM

Newsweek is racist… Totally.

RalphyBoy on September 17, 2009 at 11:22 PM

LOL,..Now an awesome picture would be osama on that cutting board,..or any of those sitting up in D.C would do.

christene on September 18, 2009 at 1:40 AM

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