News agencies try to match stories with appropriate images to emphasize a certain theme or portion of it in the minds of readers. Often this leads to revealing results, as it does today with Reuters. In an Oddly Enough story about an obsessive collector, Reuters chose to focus on a certain aspect of the story — and chose a picture which misleads their readers about its scope:
A German man was such an avid collector of weapons and other paraphernalia that he ran out of space at home and had to sleep in a hotel, neighbors said following the 71-year-old’s death.
Executors found an arsenal of weaponry and assorted goods at the man’s two-story home in the western city of Aachen, police said on Wednesday.
“There were 71 guns — one for each year of his life,” said police spokesman Paul Kemen. “He also had 41 cases of ammunition and five walking sticks fitted with retractable blades.”
Having 71 guns and 41 cases of ammunition wouldn’t force a homeowner into a hotel, of course. As it turns out, the man collected everything. He would get more than a dozen deliveries a day, irritating his neighbors and apparently filling his house literally to the rafters. The guns and ammo comprised only a small part of the goods in the Aachen house, but that’s what Reuters chose to highlight in its report.
And take a look at the photo it carried with the story:
Is this a picture from the house in Aachen? Not unless German firearm enthusiasts regularly install retail display cases with signs in English. When readers click on the picture, the following caption appears:
A customer browses for guns at the Cabela’s store in Fort Worth, Texas March 7, 2008.
Anti-gun bias. It’s not a bug in the multiple layers of fact checkers and editors in the mainstream media — it’s a feature. (h/t Paul)
Update: Bob Owens found the same photo in use for the same purposes in March.