AP Decries Army Photoshopping

AP bans Defense-issued photographs

Late Friday night, the Associated Press published an article discussing the digitally altered photos of Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody that had been issued to the media by the Defense Department. The article announced that the AP will no longer use Defense-issued photographs.

The article reads:

The AP said that adjusting photos and other imagery, even for aesthetic reasons, damages the credibility of the information distributed by the military to news organizations and the public.

Santiago Lyon, the AP’s director of photography, said that the AP is “developing procedures to protect against further occurrences” and has discussed the recurring problem with the military.

The Army’s Media Relations Chief, Col. Cathy Abbott, told the AP that the Army did not violate its policy “that prohibits the cropping or editing of a photo to misrepresent the facts or change the circumstances of an event.” Abbott, though, did not know who was responsible for the changes, or which office released the photo in question.

The altered photo of Dunwoody, released on Thursday night, depicted the general in front of a super-imposed American flag backdrop, with significant airbrushing done on Dunwoody herself. Her rank, which is displayed on the front of the soldier’s tunic, is not visible.

Abbott, however, says the Army isn’t “misrepresenting her [Dunwoody]” since “the image is still clearly Gen. Dunwoody.” (Guess that silly Army photo policy really isn’t all that important.)

The original photo, according to the AP, features the general at a desk with a bookshelf and credenza behind her. Unlike in the altered photo, the markings of Dunwoody’s rank prior to her promotion on Friday – three stars for lieutenant general – are visible.

More on this here and here.

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Megan McGinley is an intern at CJR.