Jun 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Fox News removes altered images from Seattle protest

 A sign is seen on a barrier at an entrance to the so-called "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone" on June 10
This photo taken on June 10 in Seattle's "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone" was used in a Fox News combination image that did not note that it was a mash-up. Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images

Fox News removed on Saturday digitally altered and misleading photos from its website that were used to illustrate Black Lives Matter protests in Seattle after the Seattle Times reported on the publication of the images.

Why it matters: There was no disclosure that two images on the Seattle protests were altered, nor that a third photo was taken in another state when they were published on Friday. (Fox News now states on three articles on its site that it "regrets these errors.")

  • National Press Photographers Association executive director Akili Ramsess told the Seattle Times to publish misleading photos with no note was "completely egregious."
  • "It's one thing for their opinion hosts to state whatever opinion they have, but for their online news platform, they have to follow the ethical norms of any news organization," Ramsess said of Fox News.

The big picture: A key focus of Fox News' Friday articles was on the Seattle area that has been known as the "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone" since police there abandoned the East Precinct building during the protests. "In recent days, the zone has featured speeches, music and a screening of a film on the criminal justice system," the New York Times notes.

  • One combination image Fox News used to illustrate the pieces was taken over several days by different photographers, with "a Getty Images photo of an armed man, who had been at the protest zone June 10" spliced with "other images from May 30 of smashed windows in downtown Seattle," the Seattle Times noted.
  • The image of the gunman appeared in another altered photo, giving the impression that he's standing at a sign stating, "You are now entering Free Cap Hill."
  • One photo Fox News published for a period on Friday featured a demonstrator running past a burning vehicle for an article on the Seattle protests, headlined "CRAZY TOWN." However, the photo was taken in St Paul, Minnesota.

What they're saying: When Axios contacted Fox News for comment, a spokesperson responded by pointing to three Fox News articles articles on the Seattle protest zone that now include an editor's note:

"A FoxNews.com home page photo collage which originally accompanied this story included multiple scenes from Seattle’s 'Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone’ and of wreckage following recent riots. The collage did not clearly delineate between these images, and has since been replaced. In addition, a recent slideshow depicting scenes from Seattle mistakenly included a picture from St. Paul. Fox News regrets these errors."
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