Heads Roll at Reuters?

Judging by the volume of e-mail that reached Reuters following our January expose of politicized imagery and captions in its 2007 calendar, the media organization certainly got the message that this pernicious form of bias is simply unacceptable. After we alerted you to Reuters’ weak initial response to your complaints, many people attempted further correspondence. Lacking any more credible excuses the Reuters press office went silent.

The calendar is only the latest “mishap” to befall Reuters, whose credibility was severely tarnished by the “Fauxtography” affair during the summer 2006 Israel-Hezbollah conflict. Only now, in January 2007, has Editor-in-Chief David Schlesinger responded on Reuters’ Editor’s Blog:

“We were not satisfied with the degree of oversight that we had that allowed these two images to slip through. We have tightened procedures, taken appropriate disciplinary action and appointed one of our most experienced editors to supervise photo operations in the Middle East.

[The previous supervisor of photo operations in the Middle East] was dismissed in the course of the investigation for his handling of the case….

There was absolutely no intention on Reuters part to mislead the public.”

We would, however, question Reuters’ “swift, strong response…both in the days immediately following and in the months since”. The organization continued to bat away the charges against it until the weight of evidence became too great to ignore. Likewise, Reuters’ response to the issues raised by its calendar have not, as yet, been dealt with in a satisfactory manner.

Can we expect to see Reuters applying its new improved standards in the future and will the organization’s calendar be subjected to the same internal investigation? Ask David Schlesinger yourself by posting a comment on the Reuters Editor’s Blog.

AP USES THE “TERROR” WORD?

Associated Press (and many other media outlets) have an aversion to using the terms “terrorism” or “terrorists” – unless the perpetrator happens to be an Israeli Jew:

Israeli Jew charged in terror plan

In a bizarre twist, the Israeli referred to in the story is a Palestinian convert to Judaism who planned a terrorist attack in cooperation with his Palestinian brother, described by AP as a “militant”.

If you are also wondering why AP is happy to label an Israeli Jew (albeit a former Palestinian) as a “terrorist” but not a member of the Islamic Jihad, send your comments to info@ap.org

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