Last week I posted a little something on the controversy surrounding Fox News and it’s decision to doctor photos of a New York Times reporter and editor. The reporter, Jacques Steinberg, had written a piece about an apparent weakening in Fox News ratings. The doctored images made him and his editor, Steven Reddicliffe, look bad in a silly way—yellowed teeth, big noses, etc.
Among the comments the post elicited, several stressed that Fox News was simply having innocent fun. But was it innocent? In his column in today’s Times, media critic David Carr notes that Steinberg’s image was manipulated in a particular way:
By the way, a Fox News spokesperson said that any suggestion that the news organization would do such a thing was “vile and untrue.”
Carr’s piece is really interesting because he comes clean about the trepidation he feels when he writes about Fox. The angst comes from knowing that Fox’s punitive PR staff will coordinate a campaign against him—a campaign of ridicule and professional revenge. He quotes other reporters who have experienced the same treatment when they’ve published stories Fox doesn’t like. Who knows, maybe some of the vitriolic comments left on this blog after my earlier post were also part of this type of campaign. (I have no way of knowing.) Whatever you feel about Fox News, the real point here is very simple: news organizations have no business doctoring photos. If Fox News doesn’t want to be considered a news organization, it should drop the news part.—David Schonauer