As she notes, Richard Curtis is USAT's Graphics and Photos Managing Editor, and while I don't know if he directly had a hand in deciding to run the doctored photo, he is ultimately responsible for a manipulation that would appear to be a violation of most people's concept of photo ethics (If you have a problem seeing this ethics violation, slap a pair of Linda Blair eyes on Hillary Clinton or Jesse Jackson and you should be able to suddenly see it clearly).
What are responsible photo ethics? When is it acceptable to manipulate photos, and to what extent? Fred Showker at 60 Second Window has a wonderful practical guide for photo ethics, which defines in part what acceptable photo ethics entail:
Sometimes, journalists simply flub a key fact, as did San Francisco Chronicle Washington correspondent Edward Epstein in this article about Saturday's constitutional referendum in Iraq:
Analysts do not see an end to Iraq's nonstop jockeying among competing ethnic and religious groups or to an insurgency that is averaging 570 attacks a day, despite voters' apparent approval of a new constitution on Saturday.
Epstein claimed that terrorists in Iraq were averaging 570 attacks each day in Iraq. When I emailed him asking for the source of this staggering figure, he quickly responded:
From latest CSIS report: "The Bush administration’s Oct.
Sheehan is a Californian whose soldier son, Casey, was killed in Iraq in April 2004.
Along with winning supporters, she has provoked vitriolic reactions as Americans disagree over the war. Sheehan clarified an oft-quoted remark that has brought intense criticism.
When she said, "This country isn't worth dying for," she was referring to Iraq, she said.
"I believe America is worth dying for."
Sadly, that isn't the truth. It isn't even close.
From Lee Kaplan's article "SFSU Hosts a Terrorist" we draw the full quote, in context:
Cindy Sheehan followed this act. Wearing a sweatshirt advertising the website for United for Peace and Justice, Sheehan was interviewed outside just before the meeting by an ABC-TV news reporter. Sheehan said then that military recruiters should not be allowed on college campuses, maintaining they trick naïve 18-year-olds with offers of money and scholarships. Tragically, Cindy Sheehan lost her son Casey who was in the Army and was killed two weeks after arriving in Iraq. She claimed he was promised a job as a chaplain’s assistant although once in the service was placed in a combat role and killed, certainly a moving story – one she exploits to promote venomous anti-Americanism. “George Bush and his neo-conservatives killed my son,” she said tearing up a bit. “America has been killing people on this continent since it was started. This country is not worth dying for.” [italics mine]
She was obviously talking about America not being worth dying for. Iraq was never part of the conversation.
Once upon a time, Editor and Publisher, as "America’s Oldest Journal Covering the Newspaper Industry," had a certain degree of respectability. These days, conspiratorial speculation and advocacy are every bit as important as fact, and the byline "By E&P Staff" means that anything to follow needs to be parsed very carefully to distill facts from wishful, often overtly partisan projection. A prime example of this concerns this August 6, 2001 AP Photo as seen in this MSNBC article.
On its front page Tuesday, The New York Times published a photo of new U.S. Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers going over a briefing paper with President George W. Bush at his Crawford ranch "in August 2001," the caption reads. USA Today and the Boston Globe carried the photo labeled simply "2001," but many other newspapers ran the picture in print or on the Web with a more precise date: Aug. 6, 2001.