Last week, Hasidic news publications decided to run the iconic Situation Room photograph with a noticeable change: they either cropped or photoshopped Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and counterterrorism director Audrey Tomason out of the image citing modesty concerns.
It turns out photographs were not the only thing censored. A Hasidic news Web site also censored my story about the incident. Matzav.com, a Web site with the tagline “The Jewish world @ your fingertips, reprinted seven paragraphs, removing these two paragraphs that raised some criticism of the practice:
However, many other people saw the incident as an example of the religion’s supression of women. “Extreme discomfort with the presence of women or even images of women is common to virtually all totalitarian religious communities, regardless of the tradition involved,” Brad Hirschfield, a Jewish blogger for The Post, writes.
Others took issue with the affront to journalistic standards. One reader on my previous post about the photo manipulation cited a section the Code of Ethics according to the Society of Professional Journalists. It reads: “Never distort the content of news photos or video. Image enhancement for technical clarity is always permissible. Label montages and photo illustrations.”
It did link to my original piece at the bottom, but there was no indication that the text had been changed and, even with the ommissions, it read as a complete article.
It also removed from my text the mention of the blog Failed Messiah,which first identified the censored photographs. On Failed Messiah, blogger Shmarya Rosenberg writes, “Matzav.com cut out quotes, facts and mention of people who contradict its editorial views – a form of censorship and a distortion of history no different than photoshopping the Secretary of State out of an iconic photograph because she is a woman.”