It is said that a photograph does not lie. If ever that was true – we have our doubts – it surely is not true today. Photographs are too easily altered.
That places an added burden on newspapers. Not only must we take every precaution to assure the accuracy of the news we report, we also must take such precautions with the photographs we publish. Readers need dependable information if they are to make informed decisions.
That is why what another Jewish newspaper recently did is unforgivable. The weekly altered a photograph of teenage girls to make their clothing more modest-looking. (The girls were not immodestly dressed by normal standards.)
It is reminiscent of the days immediately following the death of Osama bin Laden, when a Brooklyn newspaper, Di Tzeitung, removed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Counterterrorism Director Audrey Tomason from an official celebratory White House photograph because they are women.
If the photographs offend, do not publish them, but do not alter them, either. It is not fair to the subjects of the photographs or to the readers. It obscures the truth, and by doing so it calls into question the integrity of all newspapers, not just the actual offender.