Al-Ahram Editor Doth Protest Too Much

Osama Saraya, the chief editor of Egypt's state-run daily paper, Al-Ahram, lashed out at critics of last week's doctored photo of the White House summit.

I haven't found an English translation of Saraya's thin-skinned Friday column, so The Daily News of Egypt will suffice for now:

Al-Ahram chief-editor Osama Saraya wrote in an editorial Friday that altering the image wasn’t meant to distort the truth but to illustrate the leading political role of Egypt’s president.

Explaining that the photo was published in its original format earlier in the month, Saraya stressed that the paper doesn’t lie or alter the truth. He accused his critics of violating the ethics of the profession by the pointing the change in the photo.

“The published photo is illustrative; so those who don’t understand could,” he wrote, saying the critics shouldn’t mislead others by “claiming to have uncovered a hoax. . . . They are the ones who mislead, who lie, and who believe themselves, then accuse us.”

Illustrative purposes only? The doctored image wasn't labeled as such, which makes it misleading. Had the image of Mubarak's so-called "leading political role" been expressed, for example, as a painting, cartoon or sketch, nobody would've cared except for the poor artist left to fight for his paycheck.

More revealing is Saraya's blowback. If the image was really for illustrative purposes, a grudging boilerplate clarification proabably would've left the issue pushed off and buried. Methinks the editor doth protest too much.

If you haven't seen the images yet, here's the reality:


And here's what the state-run paper calls an illustration:


Illustrative purpose. Yeah, right.