Update: This story has been updated to include an apology Fox News posted on its website on Saturday.
Fox News published digitally altered and misleading photos on stories about Seattle’s Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) in what photojournalism experts called a clear violation of ethical standards for news organizations.
As part of a package of stories Friday about the zone, where demonstrators have taken over several city blocks on Capitol Hill after Seattle police abandoned the East Precinct, Fox’s website for much of the day featured a photo of a man standing with a military-style rifle in front of what appeared to be a smashed retail storefront.
The image was actually a mashup of photos from different days, taken by different photographers — it was done by splicing a Getty Images photo of an armed man, who had been at the protest zone June 10, with other images from May 30 of smashed windows in downtown Seattle. Another altered image combined the gunman photo with yet another image, making it appear as though he was standing in front of a sign declaring “You are now entering Free Cap Hill.”
Fox’s site had no disclaimers revealing the photos had been manipulated. The network removed the images after inquiries from The Seattle Times.
In addition, Fox’s site for a time on Friday ran a frightening image of a burning city, above a package of stories about Seattle’s protests, headlined “CRAZY TOWN.” The photo actually showed a scene from St. Paul, Minnesota, on May 30. That image also was later removed.
In an emailed statement, a Fox News spokeswoman said: “We have replaced our photo illustration with the clearly delineated images of a gunman and a shattered storefront, both of which were taken this week in Seattle’s autonomous zone.”
That statement is inaccurate, as the gunman photo was taken June 10, while storefront images it was melded with were datelined May 30 by Getty Images.
On Saturday, Fox apologized in an editor’s note posted to stories about CHAZ on its website, saying its home-page photos “did not clearly delineate” the splicing together of multiple images from different locations. The editor’s note also acknowledged the erroneous use of the Minnesota rioting photo to illustrate Seattle news. “Fox News regrets these errors,” the note stated.
The network’s misleading and faked images were published as the Capitol Hill zone — quickly labeled CHAZ — became a political flashpoint for conservatives nationally and a target of tweets…