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Posted at 11:02 AM ET, 05/10/2011

Second Hasidic newspaper drops Hillary Clinton and Audrey Tomason

Update: A Yiddish-speaking factchecker informs me I’ve been incorrectly transliterating the titles of the newspaper. They should read Di Tzeitung, or “The Newspaper,” and Di Voch, “The Week.” I apologize for the error.

Shmarya Rosenberg, the blogger at Failed Messiah who first wrote about the doctored Situation Room photograph, has uncovered a second altered photograph in a Jewish magazine.

Di Voch, a weekly Brooklyn Hasidic magazine, has dropped Hillary Clinton and Audrey Tomason from its pages, much as the Di Tzeitung newspaper did. The magazine does leave somewhat blurry lines to suggest the photo was altered, as if a ghost Clinton still lingers, but the females are nevertheless scrubbed from the room:


The Situation Room photograph in Di Voch. (Failed Messiah)

Photograph in Di Tzeitung. (Failed Messiah)


The original Situation Room photograph. (Pete Souza/The White House)

In a statement, Di Tzeitung said, “Because of laws of modesty, we are not allowed to publish pictures of women.” Both magazines are Hasidic, an ultra-orthodox form of Judaism. Yossi Gestetner, a PR consultant within the Orthodox Jewish community, wrote in an e-mail that the removal of Clinton has much less to do with women in power than it does in keeping with the sense of full-scale modesty within the community.

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.”

Albert Friedman, editor of Di Tzeitung, said that according to the editorial practice of most Hasidic publications, it is a known practice to never run images of women. Usually, the photographs are cropped to only show men. “It’s clearly stated in our editorial,” he said via phone. Most other Hasidic newspapers published only half the photograph, cropping Clinton and Tomason from the image. His photo editor was “carried away with the fog of victory,” and thought to experiment by photoshopping the picture.

“In Israel, ultra-orthodox or haredi papers routinely refuse to show women,” Michelle Goldberg writes at the Daily Beast. “A 2008 Jerusalem Post story quoted someone from the community explaining, ‘Photoshop works overtime in a haredi newspaper.’”

Friedman said the story mentioned Secretary of State Clinton in the write up, though the article appeared on a separate page from the photograph.

He said it would be a one-time occurrence at the paper. They would stick to cropping photographs, not photoshopping them. Women will still remain off the pages of the paper. “It’s nothing negative connotation to the women. My wife runs my paper. Without women where would be?”

Stephen Colbert spoke about the paper’s controversy on his Monday night show:

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Hasidic Newspaper Removes Hillary Clinton
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By  |  11:02 AM ET, 05/10/2011

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