According to the Seattle Times, on Friday Fox News’ website published digitally altered and misleading images to make the largely peaceful demonstrators in Seattle’s Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) look violent and dangerous.
One of the altered photos featured a man holding a military-style rifle in front of a smashed out storefront. But according to the Times, the image was actually two different photos — one from May 30 and the other from June 10 — and the armed man was superimposed in front of the broken window.
In another digitally altered image, Fox’s website used the same gunman and spliced his image with a photo of a sign that read: “You are now entering Free Cap Hill” to make it appear as though armed men are standing at the zone’s entrance.
The Times also noticed a fiery photo of a man running in Minnesota from May 30 that was used in a story about Seattle’s CHAZ with the headline on that read: “CRAZY TOWN.” No disclaimers explaining that the photos were altered or from another city appeared on Fox News’ website.
They also used a fiery photo from Minnesota as the centerpiece on a package of stories about Seattle. https://t.co/RBF0ttg2ku pic.twitter.com/bElH94RgYW
— Gina Cole (@Gina_Cole_) June 12, 2020
When the Times asked Fox News to comment, again the network couldn’t get their story to align with the facts.
A Fox News spokeswoman said in an email: “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 again, the altered photos were a mash of Getty images from May 30 and June 10. And their statement does not address the misuse of a St. Paul, Minn. image on a story about Seattle.
As Akili Ramsess, executive director of the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), told the Times: “For a news photo that is supposed to be of the moment, it is completely egregious to manipulate this the way they have done.”
Update: On Saturday, Fox News released an editor’s note seemingly attempting to minimize their altering of images by calling them a “collage” and added the note to three published stories, saying they “regret these errors.”