The Curious Case of the Israeli Ku Klux Klan Photo

A bizarre story in the past week concerned a Ku Klux Klan member from near Albany, New York, who was arrested after he allegedly designed a “death ray” that was meant to kill Muslims and other “enemies of Israel.” The weapon was allegedly offered to synagogues and Jewish groups.

How did Salon illustrate the story?


With no accompanying caption, the most obvious conclusion that can be drawn by the average reader is some sort of connection between Israel and the racists of the Ku Klux Klan, something that could not be further from the truth.

More likely, we thought, Salon had failed to properly caption a photo of Jews protesting a KKK rally.

When we traced the photo, the truth was surprising. Available from iStockphoto and Shutterstock image sites, the image was captioned:

Tel Aviv, Israel – December 9, 2011: Israeli activists dress as KKK members to satirize right-wing Israeli policies and politicians during in the annual human rights march in Tel Aviv.

The editors at Salon would have seen the same caption that we did when they searched for a photo to illustrate the story. That they knew where the photo was originally from and its total lack of relevance to the story makes its usage all the more repugnant. Whether or not Salon published the image with the express intention of portraying a false equivalence or cooperation between Jews / Israelis and the KKK, there is no question that Salon deliberately misused the image and misled its readers.


Within minutes of the publication of this post and an email sent from HonestReporting to Salon, we received the following from Salon’s Art Director:

Thank you very much for bringing this to our attention. The misleading photo has been replaced.


Salon’s Corrections page now includes the following:

The June 22 article “Klansman and accomplice charged for building radiation gun,”originally published by the Southern Poverty Law Center, contained a photograph that suggested a possible connection between the Ku Klux Klan and the Nation of Israel. The photograph has been replaced, and Salon regrets the error.

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