Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cropping & Twisting The Truth

I know it is shocking that Newsweek would take a perfectly innocent photograph and edit to fit it's vicious image of Dick Chaney. David Hume Kennerly writes about his photo being cut up to reflect Newsweek's editorial fantasies of the "butcher" Cheney.
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.

Photojournalists fight the credibility battle every day, from combating digitally faked photos to being lumped in with the paparazzi, a group of camera-carrying cretins who have no respect for anything, particularly the people they hound. In the case of my Cheney photo, Newsweek is guilty not just of blurring but of blowing up that line between tabloid-style sensationalism and honest photojournalism.

Someone should have told Mr.Kennerly that places like Newsweek are no longer places of true journalism but of partisan hackery at best.

Bonus: Check out Frank J. De Maria, the vice president of corporate communications at Newsweek, condescending "defense" of the cropping. Pure gold. "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."

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