A New York Hasidic newspaper Photoshopped Hillary Clinton out of the now-famous photo of the “Situation Room” during the “mission against Osama bin Laden,” the Jerusalem Post reported. The doctoring also removed Director for Counterterrorism Audrey Tomason.
The blog Failed Messiah is credited with first spotting the Photoshop in the newspaper Der Zeitung (the newspaper’s name is also being spelled Der Tzitung. iMediaEthics asked Rabbi Jason A. Miller which is correct, to which he responded that Zeitung appears to be the “more common spelling.”)
Jerusalem Post noted that the White House explicitly stated the photo “may not be manipulated in any way” in its May 1 release. The photo was posted on the White House’s Flickr page, and as StinkyJournalism has written, already featured some photo manipulation, as a document in front of Clinton was blurred.
While the photo has been doctored by others, Jerusalem Post explained those doctorings have been “under the umbrella definition of satire and parody,” whereas Der Zeitung’s version of the photo presented the photo as news.
“While Der Zeitung had no comment as to why it altered the picture, many conjectured that it was either because of concerns about immodesty, or strong feelings that women should not be in positions of power,” Jerusalem Post wrote.
The Jewish Week’s Rabbi Jason Miller asked
“What was so offensive about the image? U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in the photo and, based on good intel, the editor of Der Tzitung discovered that she is a woman. The Hasidic newspaper will not intentionally include any images of women in the paper because it could be considered sexually suggestive.”
Miller went on to claim that the newspaper’s photo doctoring breaks Jewish law because it alters history. “To my mind, this act of censorship is actually a violation of the Jewish legal principle of g’neivat da’at (deceit),” Miller wrote.
StinkyJournalism e-mailed Miller to if not publishing pictures of women was a policy or something he’s observed over time. He responded: “I’m not sure about their policy, but they [probably] don’t show women in the paper.”
Gawker-owned blog Jezebel noted that the newspaper “never publishes pictures of women, as they could be considered ‘sexually suggestive.'”
iMediaEthics wrote to “Failed Messiah” asking for more information about the photo. Shmarya Rosenberg responded: “I saw the photo because a source sent it to me. The Photoshopping was obvious. I haven’t spoken with anyone at Der Tzitung, but their claim will be that Jewish laws of modesty mandate the Photoshopping – but this is false.”
iMediaEthics has written to the Jerusalem Post for more information and will update with any response.
UPDATE: 05/09/2011 Fixed spelling of Hasidic in first paragraph.