New York Times attempts to whitewash its role in publishing faked Ukraine photos [World Socialist Website]

By Alex Lantier
26 April 2014

Yesterday, amid rising anger among New York Times readers over the newspaper’s publication of faked US State Department photos, the Times issued a whitewash of its role by its public editor, Margaret Sullivan, titled “Aftermath of Ukraine Photo Story Shows Need for More Caution.”

The Times’ original piece, “Photos Link Masked Men in East Ukraine to Russia,” used doctored photos to falsely identify armed pro-Russian protesters in eastern Ukraine as Russian soldiers. In one instance, the Times posted photos of two different bearded men, one a protester in Ukraine and the other a Russian fighter in Chechnya, down-sampled to such a low resolution that they appeared to be the same person. In another case, the Times published a photo taken in Ukraine but claimed it was taken in Russia to supposedly prove that the fighters in it were Russian.

Since then, Sullivan admits, “some of those grainy photographs have been discredited.” She continues: “The Times has published a second article backing off from the original and airing questions about what the photographs are said to depict, but hardly addressing how the newspaper may have been misled.”

She adds, “It all feels rather familiar — the rushed publication of something exciting, often based on an executive branch leak. And then, afterward, with a kind of ‘morning after’ feeling, here comes a more sober, less prominently displayed follow-up story, to deal with objections while not clarifying much of anything.”

This acknowledgment of similar cases in the past shows, in fact, that the publication of the faked photos was not due to a momentary lack of “caution,” but to longstanding journalistic methods that discredit the work of the entire newspaper. As Sullivan writes, the Times’ excited rush to publish propaganda lies stove-piped by the US government, followed by moves to bury the issue once the lies are exposed, “all feels rather familiar.”

The Times has served for years as a de facto state propaganda organ, uncritically broadcasting government lies to justify US wars while covering up stories embarrassing to the White House, and using a “public editor” to issue impotent criticisms in the face of popular anger…

Excerpted; full article link: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/04/26/nytu-a26.html
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See related articles —

“New York Times tries to whitewash publication of faked Ukraine photos” [World Socialist Website] – https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/04/24/nytu-a24.html

“New York Times propaganda photos on Ukraine exposed” – https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/04/23/nytu-a23.html

“NYT Retracts Russian-Photo Scoop’ [Consortium News] – http://consortiumnews.com/2014/04/23/nyt-retracts-russian-photo-scoop/

“The New York Times finds Russian spies in eastern Ukraine” [World Socialist Website] – https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/04/22/time-a22.html

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