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Aug 12th 2006


fauxtography, n. news photography that exaggerates or falsifies.

passion of the toys (click thumbnail to view image)

::: ::: :::

until august 8th, 2006, the only user-submitted definition for “fauxtography” at was this:

the crappy pictures of the sky or dead plants that scene kids take with their digital cameras and call it a hobby. They say photography is their passion, but we all know it’s really fauxtography.

Wow, a picture of the sky. And I see you went on paint and added your name with a TM. Now no one can steal your fauxtography. [link to “fauxtography” definition]

haha. but that was before a more insidious form of fauxtography had been exposed by news junkies and bloggers:

Staged, doctored, or misleadingly cropped or labeled photographs intended as war propaganda, particularly to further the interests of terrorist groups such as Hizbollah and Hamas. Term popularized by Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs.

Various bloggers have uncovered several cases of fauxtography in Reuters’ photo coverage of the Israel-Hizbollah conflict. [link to “fauxtography” definition]

taxonomy of photo fraud. zombietime sums up exactly what “fauxtography” is:

1. Digitally manipulating images after the photographs have been taken.

2. Photographing scenes staged by Hezbollah and presenting the images as if they were of authentic spontaneous news events.

3. Photographers themselves staging scenes or moving objects, and presenting photos of the set-ups as if they were naturally occurring.

4. Giving false or misleading captions to otherwise real photos that were taken at a different time or place.

zombietime provides numerous examples from blogs that broke the stories. you have to see it to believe it. [zombietime – photo fraud]

see also:

“fauxtography” on LGF

michelle malkin’s vent showing several examples of photo fraud

palestinian fake images industry

powerline – the complete works of adnan hajj

newsbusters – fauxtography on parade

kopel : were front page photos staged? – lebanon media notes

eu referendum – “corruption of the media” storyboard

green helmet guy in action:

anderson cooper on lebanon ambulance fakery:

13 Responses to “fauxtography”

  1. doug

    I think this sort of exposé is what they call in the PR industry as “getting owned” or “it all hits the fan”. All I can say is: thank goodness the gig is up.

    Whatever PR/spin machines the GOP and Democrats have…they simply cannot touch the success that helmet-head and fellow Hezbollah sympathy pimps had playing the media. Kudos to everyone who is finally exposing them.

  2. Curtis

    This is a distraction from the real issues of this war. As this author describes, the real scandal of photographs in this war is the lack of photos of the real damage in western media.

  3. […] the picture is meant to prove castro is still alive — you know, like a hostage. but see an analysis here. the blogger has a picture of what the real front page looks like, and some other things that are out of the ordinary. this fauxtography was also highlighted in opinion journal’s blurb, what does a photo prove? Posted by travis in travis, politics | […]

  4. you’re kidding, right curtis?

    tell me you’re kidding.

    you and your unbiased news source, counterpunch, have responded to the fake news photography (“fauxtography”) scandal just as liberals responded to the fake news report scandal surrounding the falsified bush texas air national guard letter. headline:

    Memos on Bush Are Fake but Accurate, Typist Says

    wsj opinion journal: “fake, but accurate”

    read the original article at

    whether we lied or not isn’t an issue! the real issue is that our lie nevertheless represents something that is true!

    recycling the “fake but accurate” defense, counterpunch writes:

    But all of this, like the “faked photograph affair”, is another layer of distraction. The real issue….[should be]….the mostly one-sided crimes against human beings — the massive Israeli war crimes that have been committed throughout the past month in Lebanon, whose effects will continue as cluster bombs blow up returning refugees, and are still being committed every day against the Palestinians of Gaza and the West Bank.

    nevermind that the evidence was falsified, it’s still true! curtis, if it was so bad, why did they feel they had to fake it?

    besides, talking about the fake photo that started it all, adnan hajj’s extra smoke photo, counterpunch writes:

    If we cannot be sure that this one photograph is genuine, then maybe many more that purportedly show some of the 1,000 Lebanese civilians killed by Israel’s bombardment are fake too.

    first of all, it’s not just one photo. it’s many, many photos. and videos. see the post above, which you, presumably, just read, curtis. your photography and morality expert goes on to say:

    The far worse photography scandal, which is not talked about, is that the images of the war we saw over the past month in our Western media were constantly doctored, day in, day out. Not by ordinary photographers who risk their lives, and hope to make their fortunes, conveying the reality of war, but by the senior executives of newspapers and TV stations who ensure we are never presented with that reality. Pictures were binned or cropped if they hinted at what suffering and death truly looked like. Western audiences were not shown the row of charred corpses lying in the street, or the agony of a son pressing a scrap of cloth to the severed arm of his mother as she bled to death, or the crushed baby pulled from the rubble. Our news and picture editors say this is about good taste.

    and images of dead israeli families killed while out for an evening stroll, on the bus to work, peacefully munching on pizza at sbarro’s, are not shown either.

    it’s like….the photos are edited on both sides.


    but going back to the argument at hand, you now say, refering to the fake photo controversy:

    This is a distraction from the real issues of this war.

    so now the pictures are a distraction? that’s funny! because before, you were linking to every website under the sun that displays photos of corpses:

    (i may be leaving some out)

    you really can’t explain this away, curtis. please don’t come here and try to make your point by posting pictures of the carnage of war, then when many pictures — similar to the ones you have posted — are shown to be fakes, claim that pictures of war carnage are suddenly a “distraction.” that kind of complete disingenuousness is not appreciated.

    and when you uncover “evidence” of something (meaning you read another article on counterpunch or zmag) you really only need to post that comment once, on the relevant post. don’t spam us this way again:

    curtis, stop coming to our site and posting links as if they prove anything. you need to make an actual argument for your positions that has at least some merit. in the future, if you come here and create a link without also including a representative quotation from the site to which you are linking, it will be automatically deleted. this restriction applies only to you.

    i do not have all day to go reading your favorite far-left websites that incessantly lie out their cornholes and that you link to as if that simple act proves your point. all it proves is that you can cut and paste.

  5. Curtis

    Blather your rightwing B.S. to the choir then.

    If there are any photos I’ve posted a link to that have been proven to be falsified then speak. If not then hold your peace. Just because you can’t handle the evidence of the carnage you support you go off on a tirade.

    If you can’t take my arguements without the threat of censoring me, I’ll leave you and your audience to your mindless word drool.

    Have fun.

  6. doug

    Curtis, it’s not that we don’t appreciate the arguements that you offer…but I have to agree with Travis, this has been your argumentation style:

    1. “Defend Israel? You Zionist tool! Look at Isreal’s war crimes! [insert link to graphic photos here]”

    2. “I am right. See this article. [insert link to counterpunch or zmag, or, should we be discussing Hugo Chavez, venezuelanalysis]”

    You can’t honestly employ that technique of argument, using tons of graphic photos, and then say that photos aren’t important. Many photos have been obviously faked or staged. Neither Travis nor I has the time or energy (or stomach) to dissect every web page you link to and examine the authenticity of the photos.

    In any case, both Travis and I have stated that (a) there is obviously carnage on both sides of this conflict, and (b) we don’t want tons of links on our blog to graphic photos.

    And as for point #2, the same applies. We appreciate that you are well read when it comes to rather left-wing web sites. Wonderful. I watch Democracy Now regularly and read The Nation and Mother Jones. So what?

    Travis’ request isn’t all that burdensome:

    in the future, if you come here and create a link without also including a representative quotation from the site to which you are linking, it will be automatically deleted.

    And as for:

    this restriction applies only to you.

    See rule #1, here [editor: warning, PG-13 language].

  7. […] reuters, not so vigilant for fauxtography in the middle east, has exposed some major photo fraud here in the US. did you know that US celebrities have, like every single one of their public photos professionally doctored? it’s true! and reuters has exposed one example of this insidious hollywood cover up! golly, who ever knew this type of thing was going on? […]

  8. […] Of course, with the recent spate of fauxtography, one is left to wonder if these shots weren’t staged. […]

  9. […] Amazing. (but I guess it’s fauxtography) […]

  10. […] –Curtis, comment, Aug 2006 [link] [That was] an unusually extreme reaction….Your hostile reaction to his quotes suprises me since I came to this blog via “Planet LDS.” […]

  11. […] fauxtography Posted by travis in travis, politics, humor | […]

  12. […] fauxtography (n. news photography that exaggerates or falsifies) […]

  13. […] Fauxtography and its antecedents are a fascinating study, and one that helps properly contextualize library values and practice. I am obviously a fan of advocacy; I do not believe in pure objectivity, and in fact I feel that perpetuating a myth of objectivity only harms professions that are held to it, such as journalism and librarianship. (Edward R. Murrow, we have not forgotten you.) Language itself carries millions of unspoken processes for discrimination without which we could not function or meaningfully communicate, yet simultaneously erects borders that proscribe meaning & communication. […]