This is bad. Really bad.
Fox News’ website published digitally altered photos that made it seem as if a demonstration in Seattle was violent and dangerous, when in fact, it was nothing of the sort. In an editor’s note, Fox News apologized — sort of — but the damage had already been done.
It started when Fox News’ website ran a photo that was supposedly from Seattle with the headline “Crazy Town.” That photo — a man running in front of a burning building — was actually from St. Paul, Minnesota. Another photo of a man holding an assault rifle was digitally added.
There’s no other way to put this: These are fireable offenses. They are inexcusable. This is no different than completely making up a story — which many (me, included) consider to be the worst offense in journalism.
And Fox News’ website might have gotten away with this reprehensible behavior had it not been caught by The Seattle Times. Fox News only removed the images after being called out by the paper.
In an emailed statement to The Seattle Times, a Fox News spokesperson said: “We have replaced our photo illustration with the clearly delineated images of a gunman and a shattered storefront, both of which were taken this week in Seattle’s autonomous zone.”
But The Seattle Times’ Jim Brunner wrote, “That statement is inaccurate, as the gunman photo was taken June 10, while storefront images it was melded with were datelined May 30 by Getty Images.”