Monday, May 9, 2011

What's Wrong With This Picture?

A story first broken by "" (LINK) shows that the ultra Orthodox Hasidic newspaper "Der Tzitung" used Photoshop to edit history on Friday when they published THEIR version of the now-famous situation room photograph.

Translated from the Hebrew, the photograph was published with this caption beneath it (emphasis added)…
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011. Seated, from left, are: Brigadier General Marshall B. “Brad” Webb, Assistant Commanding General, Joint Special Operations Command; Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough; Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Standing, from left, are: Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; National Security Advisor Tom Donilon; Chief of Staff Bill Daley; Tony Binken, National Security Advisor to the Vice President; Audrey Tomason Director for Counterterrorism; John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism; and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Please note: a classified document seen in this photograph has been obscured. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.”
Do you notice the empty holes where they edited out the women in the room? Apparently since publishing photographs of women is apparently not permitted in their backward, misogynist “newspaper” they had to be removed from this moment in history.  So although the women in the photograph were actually NAMED in the caption, they had someone take the time to physically sit and Photoshop the U. S. Secretary of State and our Director of Counterterrorism out of this historically significant photograph just because they are female.

Also, although the caption makes note that the photograph was edited to have a DOCUMENT obscured, they chose not to mention editing out PEOPLE, even though they ARE publishing the admonition that the photo is NOT to be “manipulated in any way”.

Now just to be clear, I feel it is necessary to point out that this is not even a paper that is published in the barbaric and backward Middle East. This “newspaper” is based right here in America…in Brooklyn, New York.

Rabbi Jason Miller of Jewish Week in his article on the subject (click here) explains the publication’s “reasoning” by writing that they “will not intentionally include any images of women in the paper because it could be considered sexually suggestive,” but he also points out that from his viewpoint the altered image violates a central tenet of the Jewish faith, “Der Tzitung edited Hillary Clinton out of the photo, thereby changing history. To my mind, this act of censorship is actually a violation of the Jewish legal principle of g'neivat da'at (deceit).”

Pesonally, I fail to see how our Secretary of State sitting there looking deeply concerned and another woman peeking out from behind a man is in ANY way “sexually suggestive”. In case you need a reminder of what the ACTUAL photograph looks like…

I wonder…what did these misogynistic men at Der Tzitung do when Golda Meir (bio) was the Prime Minister of Israel??

Additional reading:


EDIT - posted at 4:30 p.m. on 5/9/2011 -

Due to the attention this issue has been getting, Di Tzeitung has sent out a prepared statement. Here is their response:

On manipulating the photo against the White House's wishes -

Our photo editor realized the significance of this historic moment, and published the picture, but in his haste he did not read the "fine print" that accompanied the picture, forbidding any changes. We should not have published the altered picture, and we have conveyed our regrets and apologies to the White House and to the State Department.

On the accusations that Di Tzeitung disrespects women in power -

The allegations that religious Jews denigrate women or do not respect women in public office, is a malicious slander and libel. The current Secretary of State, the Honorable Hillary R. Clinton, was a Senator representing New York State with great distinction 8 years. She won overwhelming majorities in the Orthodox Jewish communities in her initial campaign in '00, and when she was re-elected in '06, because the religious community appreciated her unique capabilities and compassion to all communities. The Jewish religion does not allow for discrimination based on gender, race, etc. We respect all government officials. We even have special prayers for the welfare of our Government and the government leaders, and there is no mention of gender in such prayers.
On the editorial policy that forbids images of women -

In accord with our religious beliefs, we do not publish photos of women, which in no way relegates them to a lower status. Publishing a newspaper is a big responsibility, and our policies are guided by a Rabbinical Board. Because of laws of modesty, we are not allowed to publish pictures of women, and we regret if this gives an impression of disparaging to women, which is certainly never our intention. We apologize if this was seen as offensive.

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