So Middle Eastern leaders met last Wednesday in Washington, D.C. to start a round of peace talks.
Naturally, there were photo ops that resulted in cool shots — like the one below, by Pablo Martinez Monsivais of the Associated Press — as the leaders walked into the East Room of the White House. From left to right, you’re seeing:
- President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt
- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel
- President Barack Obama of the U.S.
- President Mahmoud Abbas of Palestine
- King Abdullah II of Jordan
However, what would you say if you saw that same photo used to construct a slightly… different… version?
Yeah. Egyptian president Mubarak — who was originally on the far left of the photo — is now leading the team down the red carpet. Not only has he been moved, he’s also been flopped.
Surely this didn’t actually appear in a newspaper, did it?
I’m afraid it did. This is how it appeared Tuesday in Al-Ahram, Egypt’s state-run newspaper:
Al-Ahram is also Egypt’s largest newspaper, with a reported circulation of over a million.
Here’s a photo of an actual newsprint copy:
And yes, it also ran like this on the paper’s web site:
OK, a few thoughts…
1. Make no mistake: This is bad. This kind of work has no place at all in journalism.
2. It’d be easy to make a case, however, that this isn’t journalism. This is a government-run agency. And as such, the paper isn’t subject to the rules of journalistic ethics. It’s subject only to the whims of its publisher: The government.
3. This is also not a U.S. — or even western, for that matter — newspaper. I’m in favor of advocating that journalists all over the world adopt ethical standards, especially in cases of Photoshop ethics. But it might be unfair to expect editors and designers at Al-Ahram to abide by standards they have perhaps never seen nor heard of.
4. Despite all that: This is bad. This kind of work has no place at all in journalism.
This thing is all over the blogosphere today. I first saw it at the Raw Feed, and the Arabist. Digging a little deeper, though, it appears the WaELK blog is getting credit for first pointing this out.
See the original photo — full-frame, presumably — as it was posted on the web site of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.