Photo Bias Exposed in the Wire Services

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on January 5, 2011

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Directions

-Read the excerpt below from honestreporting.com's report "Photo Bias Exposed in the Wire Services" posted Dec. 2, 2010.
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

NOTE: A news agency is an organization of journalists established to supply news reports to news organizations: newspapers, magazines, and radio and television broadcasters. Such an agency may also be referred to as a wire service, newswire or news service.  The major news agencies generally prepare hard news stories and feature articles that can be used by other news organizations with little or no modification, and then sell them to other news organizations. They provide these articles in bulk electronically through wire services (originally they used telegraphy; today they frequently use the Internet). Corporations, individuals, analysts and intelligence agencies may also subscribe.

Images have unprecedented power to mold public opinion. The three international wire services – the Associated Press, Agence France Press/Getty Images and Reuters – have assumed a central role in presenting images from Israel and the Palestinian territories to the world.  …..

To find out if Israel is being treated fairly by the wire services, [HonestReporting.com] embarked on a three-month in-depth study of how Israel is portrayed by all three wire [services]. This study covers the period that began with the Gaza flotilla on May 31, 2010 and ended with the murder of four Israelis at the hands of Palestinian terrorists on Aug. 31, 2010.

The study was carried out by David Katz, a professional photographer with 25 years experience working at the highest levels in the media together with HonestReporting. Over three months, some 13,500 photos from Israel and the Palestinian territories were reviewed.

The study revealed a pattern of double standards and bias that has become a norm in coverage of the region, particularly in regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Distortions of images mostly fell into the following categories:

1. Deliberate Staging
2. Use of wide-angle lenses and photographer positions to make photos appear more dramatic than the reality
3. Photographers choosing positions that effect the events they are shooting
4. Editorializing in photo captions.

The study did not reveal significant instances of photo manipulation through programs such as Photoshop. While dramatic examples of digital photo manipulation have been uncovered in the past, most notably during the Second Lebanon War, the study found that photo bias against Israel consisted largely of subtle techniques such as staging images.

To ensure objectivity in the study, HonestReporting used the wire services’ stated missions (Appendix 1) (see the AP page)as its standard, comparing the missions to actual performance.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE THIRD PART OF SHATTERED LENS: PUTTING PALESTINIANS BEHIND BARS

Read the original report at honestreporting.com.

 

Questions

1.  What type of bias does the HonestReporting blurb say has been discovered in photos of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by the Associated Press, Agence France Press/Getty Images and Reuters news services?

2.  When questioned, the news services denied any intentional bias on their part.  Look at the example from the links.  What do you think?


Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers.
























Answer(s)

1.  HonestReporting says they have discovered bias by spin.

2.  Opinion question. Answers vary.