August 17, 2007

Yet Again: AFP's Photo Woes Continue

Fresh off of being caught trying to pass off unfired civilian ammunition as evidence of soldiers shooting into the home of an elderly Iraqi woman, the French news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) has been caught once again in a photography scandal involving the U.S. military, this time misidentifying a U.S. military photo taken by a member of the 173rd Airborne in Afghanistan last month as one of their own.

Here is the photo, as it ran Wednesday at BBC News.

(Click photo for full size)

You'll note that in the enlarged version of the page, the photo is credited "AFP" in the bottom right corner (The photo in the current version of the BBC article has since been changed).

The photo with the "AFP" stamp was not taken by an Agence France-Presse photographer, but by Sgt. Brandon Aird, 173rd ABCT Public Affairs, in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, and was first featured in this post by Sgt. Aird on Central Command's web site on July 31.

(Click photo for full size)

I've confirmed with an Army combat photographer that they cannot give or sell their photos directly to news agencies.

AFP misidentified this photo as one of their own, but it gets worse:


They were also apparently trying to sell the photo through AFP/Getty Images (via Daylife).

Once again, the photo editors of Agence France-Presse have some explaining to do.

[Author's note: Most of the information in this story was compiled by CY commenter Dusty Raftery. Excellent work, Dusty.]

Update: Dan Riehl notes that the BBC is using the photo as the teaser for a video segment that doesn't even involve U.S. soldiers. Truthy?

Update: Yup. It's our fault media credibilty is tanking.

Update: We get noticed.

afp was here

Posted by Confederate Yankee at August 17, 2007 12:11 AM

Bravo, Dusty!

Lefty spin defending the photos coming in 5... 4...

Posted by: C-C-G at August 16, 2007 11:32 PM

Just because they are stealing photos does not mean that everything is going fine in Iraq. I can't believe that you right-wingnuts Bushies are trying to pass of a little intellectual property theft as proof that Katrina was not a racist attack on Blacks. You guys have the lamest mindthoughts I have ever seen. Get a life.

Posted by: STB at August 17, 2007 01:16 AM

This is just a distraction from Jenna Bush's (alleged) pregnancy! I question the timing!

Nice catch, Dusty. Lies and the lying liars who publish them...

Posted by: Pablo at August 17, 2007 04:23 AM

Nice work. Now, a word of advice for the trolls is to go out this weekend and get yourself quoted in any newspaper regarding any event. You will get schooled on what the problem is without anyone of any political stripe having to tell you.

Artistis license belongs here.
Facts should be found in our press.

Posted by: Joan of Argghh at August 17, 2007 07:13 AM

The saddest part is, I can't tell whether STB is being facetious without sarc tags.

Posted by: Dan at August 17, 2007 07:16 AM

STB wrote: “Just because they are stealing photos does not mean that everything is going fine in Iraq.” I agree, you are absolutely correct with this statement. But you miss the point. These actions cause them to lose creditability. Place it in ordinary terms. If you knew a friend took credit for a heroic action that he/she did not perform, would you tend to believe him/her when said person told you about someone who was doing something improper in the neighborhood. I certainly would not believe what they said without a more proven creditable source. Keep in mind that the media is supposed to be fact based truth tellers. So if you tend to believe AFP and other media because they say what you want to hear, but they keep getting caught stretching the truth, then not only they have a problem.

Posted by: amr at August 17, 2007 07:23 AM

Pablo is out of his mind, if he has one.
Any one who would steal from any one who is placing his self in danger for freedom, is below cheap.

Posted by: glen raiburn at August 17, 2007 07:24 AM

I hate to say it, but the proper way to get AFP's attention is with a lawsuit. That may wake them up and create some publicity. If there is a collection to support the soldiers legal bills, let us know.

Posted by: Joel at August 17, 2007 07:26 AM

I am a wire photographer, and from my personal experience, the Army frequently makes available photos from their combat photographers and other sources which News Agencies are invited to use. When that happens, the photo is credited to the wire agency/US Army(Marines or whoever made it available). When wire agencies make these available to their clients, the clients are free to abbreviate or even leave off the credit for layout flexibility and varying policies of different news outlets. As an example, in some Newspapers you will see Photographers Name/Agency under or beside a photo and in others only the Agency name. I appreciate that there have been some major errors by photographers in the past year or so, but it really is not that common. I have never personally known a photographer, and I know hundreds, who would willingly risk their reputation by faking an image. So while it is great to see that people are paying attention enough to call the infrequent instances of dishonesty to light; it is frankly quite ridiculous to see people rush off to judge pictures when they clearly are not, for the most part, technically capable of knowing one way or the other. Most people saying that the shadow looks funny generally have no clue. And it sounds like most people do not even know how wire agencies work. No offense is meant by my post, but please take a breath and ask someone who you trust, that knows the business before leveling these kinds of accusations.

Posted by: snapper at August 17, 2007 07:51 AM

I doubt anyone thinks a large number of photographers, who are hard working, in-the-trenches types, fake these photos. The fakes seem to be from a small group of propagandists. I DO have a big problem with the allegedly professional news services (e. g. BBC, Reuters, AP, AFP), being the willing, or unwitting, tools of these propagandists. Just as you are aggravated by bloggers who "have no clue" and are not "technically capable" of judging pictures, I am aggravated by allegedly professional news services who "have no clue" and are not "technically capable" of reporting on military news. They are so clueless that they can show pictures of pristine, unfired bullets, and represent them as bullets fired at an old woman's house, or use a blurry photo of a "GI Joe" doll and say it is a soldier being held hostage. These news services, however, are worse than clueless, because their (let's be kind) "mistakes" are always in one direction, evidencing bias.

Posted by: jmurphy at August 17, 2007 08:19 AM

I do like the coinage of the word rootout, though. Seems like a useful compound.

Posted by: rastajenk at August 17, 2007 08:20 AM

Not to disparage the brave, honest, trustworthy and very clean people who snap pictures of people being blown up, and who would never stage a picture, or just happen to be there when terrorists execute a carload of good guys, and who would never dream of photoshopping a picture to give it more dramatic emphasis, or who would take pictures of red cross ambulances with perfect round holes where the roof vent used to be claiming they were made by a rocket attack. But Mr. Snapper, there seems to be a difference of opinion between you and my lying eyes.

Who to believe? It's a puzzlement.

Posted by: moneyrunner at August 17, 2007 08:24 AM

There is an AFP mark on the BBC article.
Lack of attribution is not the same as branding it.
You just don't brand other peoples cattle.

Posted by: RRRoark at August 17, 2007 08:24 AM

Thanks for posting, snapper, but you don't see the photo being credited in any way to the U.S. Army, do you? It isn't credited on the BBC News site, and there is no Army credit mentioned on the AFP/Getty Images site, where the picture was presumably for sale. Are you saying is is SOP for the wire services to take the work of others and try to sell it?

Somehow, I don't think that helps your case.

Nor was anyone stating that anyone was "faking an image," in this instance, so stop trying to throw in a red herring.

Before I posted this last night, I spoke to a U.S. Army photographer currently documenting the new offensive in the Diyala Province of Iraq, so I did, indeed, "ask someone I trust" before I posted. He also informed me in the past that he's seen on at least one occasion where the media "borrowed" one of his photos and not only did they not give him credit, they actually applied it to a completely different event, so that the real photo he took of the aftermath of a Tal Afar truck bombing became a Baghdad truck bombing several months later.

We're coming to understand how wire agencies work, snapper. That is why the world's opinion of the news media continues to plummet.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at August 17, 2007 08:24 AM

STB, I certainly hope you're being sarcastic. Otherwise, you're entirely missing the point. This isn't about winning some kind of victory in Iraq. This is about showing just how credible the MSM is. Making stories up, Photoshopping pictures, stealing pictures, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Posted by: Brennan at August 17, 2007 08:26 AM

The french news agency - creditable ???? Lets get real. After all they believe THEY won WWII

Posted by: JIM at August 17, 2007 08:28 AM

Hey Snapper, Your post reeks of elitist BS. Would you like to talk about the Lebanon War in which:

Bombed out buildings photographed with brand new plush toys?
Bombed out buildings with the same lunatic women?
Bombed out buildings with a brand new bicycle?
Photoshopped smoke.
Dead babies paraded around for hours for a photo shoot?

Iraq and Afghanistan:
Pictures of grieving ect ect ect but hardly a picture of our brave men and women in the thousands of humanitarian missions?

Please don't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining. I am the mother of an American Soldier watching this BS for five years running.

Your proffession is filled with terrorist supporting scum using propaganda to pull at the heart strings of the public, yet never have I seen any outrage by your profession. Why is that?

Posted by: Get Your Gun at August 17, 2007 08:30 AM

The saddest thing is, I doubt STB is being sarcastic. I think he/she/it is actually sincere in his/her/its comments.

It's an old lefty trick, the "red herring." He/she/it cannot defend the actions of the photographer, so he/she/it tries to change the subject.

It's also possible that STB is a single-minded individual, and sees everything through the lens of Iraq. STB would probably find a way to fit Barry Bonds breaking of the home run record into Iraq.

Posted by: C-C-G at August 17, 2007 08:44 AM

STB has to be being sarcastic. 'katrina was a racist attack on blacks'? That's in Truther territory fer sure!

Posted by: Otter at August 17, 2007 09:07 AM

aw, c'mon people. Of course STB was being sarcastic. The line about Katrina was the giveaway.

Posted by: iconoclast at August 17, 2007 09:12 AM

STB = Scott Thomas Beauchamp

I think this is a put on by STB.

Posted by: Laddy at August 17, 2007 09:13 AM

Hello, Sorry if I came on a little strong last time. I do realise that this is a heated topic, but I am in no way a lefty - really. I just felt compelled to reply to this post, because I like to try to defend my profession when it is unjustly accused and help police it when the accusation is justified. In this case I believe that the premise, that AFP stole, or was trying to sell a soldiers work as their own, is false. It is possible, but given that AFP rarely "Sells" photos to websites such as BBC (AFP and most other wire agencies are subscriber based, and news outlets pay a monthly or yearly fee and get access to whatever the agency produces or distributes thus there is no real monetary reason why they would do this), and that that the soldiers work was likely made available through the U.S. Military which wants its material distributed as widely as possible. If that is not the case, I take it all back, but I believe what your friend was telling you is that he is not allowed to sell what isn't his. His photos belong to the U.S. goverment - and its nice work. I think if you check a little closer, you will find that the U.S. military made the photo available through a PAO or through one of their websites. As for the Tag in BBC, it just seems that BBC keeps the credit short for whatever reason. I'm not trying to deny that really bad judgment and mistakes have happened in news photography, just that in this instance, you are looking for something that isn't there

Posted by: snapper at August 17, 2007 09:24 AM

J.Murphy, I agree with you 100 percent, and The bullets hit my house photo was laughable. CY, I agree with you also. Not giving credit is poor policy, but its something which is common for photos in much of the news business. I much prefer getting credit, but it doesn't always happen. I read your site frequently, and generally enjoy it. I posted for the first time, because the subject is something that I know a bit about, and I wanted to shed some light if I could. Not here to stir up passions. Its just my (fairly informed) opinion, read it or ignore it as you wish. regards

Posted by: snapper at August 17, 2007 09:41 AM

snapper, I also might have come off a bit harsh, and I apologize for that.

But the fact of the matter is that if it is common in the news business to not give credit where it is due, then the ethical problems within journalism are far worse than I thought.

In any other profession, taking someone else's work and presenting it as your own through mislabeling it, misappropriating it, etc, is regarded as some sort of fraud, theft or plagiarism.

If Nike took a Reebok shoe and slapped their brand on it, that would be fraud. If Stephen King slapped his name on an Anne Rice novel and presented it as his own, that would likewise be a form of intellectual property theft.

In my mind, the same applies here. It is intelectually dishonest for wire agencies and other media outlets to slap their logos on photos and video that is not their own, and in my mind, at least, that the practice of such deception is common does not make it morally right, or even fit most wire services own written ethical standards as I understand them.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at August 17, 2007 09:55 AM

The image was released freely to the public captioned as follows:
U.S. Army paratroopers from Red Platoon, Charlie Troop, 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment (Airborne) navigate to Observation Post Chuck Norris in Dangam, Afghanistan on July 25, 2007, in Dangam, Afghanistan. DoD photo by Sgt. Brandon Aird, U.S. Army. (Released) (Released to Public)

DoD photo by: SGT. BRANDON AIRD Date Shot: 3 Aug 2007

Link to DoD images:
Image number 070725-A-6849A-473

Full res version

Posted by: Dual Freq at August 17, 2007 10:00 AM

Snapper is correct. The photo on the BBC site and others by Sgt. Aird were "handouts" made available to wire services by the U.S. Army. The original caption by AFP identified the photographer as "Sgt. Brandon Aird." AFP doesn't dictate how its photos are captioned and credited -- that's up to the subscriber, in this case the BBC. Here are the orginal AFP captions for two of Sgt. Aird's photos:

"AFGHANISTAN, Naray: In this US Army handout picture taken 19 July 2007, Capt. Nathan Springer, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop Commander, 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment (Airborne), looks at possible enemy positions during Operation Saray near Forward Operating Base Naray, Nuristan Province in eastern Afghanistan. Local Afghans use the area as a grazing pasture for livestock, while Taliban extremists often use it to stage attacks against US and ISAF forces. AFP PHOTO/U.S. ARMY/H0/Sgt. Brandon Aird."

"AFGHANISTAN, KUNAR: US soldiers patrol the mountain in the eastern province of Kunar, 01 August 2007. More than 50,000 western troops under a NATO-led peacekeeping deployment are based in Afghanistan to help rootout Taliban insurgents. AFP PHOTO/SGT. Brandon Aird."

Posted by: CG at August 17, 2007 10:04 AM

It takes something like this to show you that these people aren't interested in letting information from a knowledgeable person get in the way of their assumptions and prejudices. These people know everything, and you don't know jack. It's a noble effort you made, but you'd better spend your time elsewhere.

The Army wants the work of its soldiers (photographs) distributed. That simple point is just lost on these folks.

Posted by: Dexter Westbrook at August 17, 2007 10:04 AM

Dexter, that the Army wanted these photos distributed was never in doubt... that is why Public Affairs exists. That in no way excuses the (apparently widespread) practice of misrepresenting the work of the military as that of the wire services and/or news agencies.

That isn't an assumption or prejudice. That's common sense. Misrepresenting someone else's work as your own is wrong.

Or did you miss that day in ethics class?

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at August 17, 2007 10:15 AM

Unfortunately those in your profession have done so much harm to your profession that your profession now exists at the bottom-of-the-trust-worthy-barrel.

Speaking only for myself, I don't believe in your profession anymore. I have zero faith that what you report/photograph/publish can be take at face value.

Please don't blame the consumers of your product when the product you produce is known to be full of crap.

You did this, you and your profession brought this about and now you must be held accountable for the actions you take.

In other words you screwed yourself out of what was once considered a worthly profession; you are worse than ambulance chasers.

Posted by: syn at August 17, 2007 10:38 AM

I would say that there is no excuse for any agency, media outlet, etc. for not crediting the Army and/or Sgt. Aird. Change the caption all you like, just credit the proper source.

Sgt. Aird deserves the recognition of having one of his pics published by the BBC.

BTW, DoD maintains portfolios for most of the combat photographers on line at DVIDS. This suggests their view that the photographer has an important relationship with the photo.

Remember Michael Yon's fight, BTW. The same thing was done to him.

Posted by: Chuck Simmins at August 17, 2007 10:54 AM

In my mind, the same applies here. It is intelectually dishonest for wire agencies and other media outlets to slap their logos on photos and video that is not their own, and in my mind, at least, that the practice of such deception is common does not make it morally right, or even fit most wire services own written ethical standards as I understand them.

Dear Genius,

Have you ever watched a courtroom trial? They use what is called a "pool feed." But guess what. Each news agency slaps their branding chyron on the footage. Also, every brand of clothing from Gap to Armani buys patterns, fabric and finished products from a range of suppliers.

Your allegation of an journalistic fraud is overstated. You obviously take the label of citizen journalist seriously. However you should familiarize yourself with the inner workings of your industry before you go around accusing others of malpractice.

All of sudden journalism is in dire straits. Yet for the past decades of your life, you somehow failed to notice. I'm glad you found some allies who support your revolution in news gathering. You're changing the world.

You really are.

Posted by: stringer at August 17, 2007 11:11 AM

stringer, we're not talking about a courtroom feed nor clothes, and you're being intellectually dishonest in making the comparisons. Sadly, I think you know that.

If the "inner workings" of the business go against the stated ethical policies of the wire services, the individual news outlets, and the military itself (which, as SoccerDad points out via email, is to "Request credit be given as "Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army" and credit to individual photographer whenever possible.") then journalism is indeed in a very bad state of affairs.

I did indeed notice the failure of journalism in the few earlier decades of my life, but I simply didn't have the platform I do now to highlight them.

And I do have that platform now, stringer.


Posted by: Confederate Yankee at August 17, 2007 11:37 AM

I guess it's nice that morons like you, Confederate Yankee, have platforms to spew your gibberish.

AFP is the distributor of the photo. Any other agency or individual could distribute the photo and put its logo on it. The Army encourages distribution of its photos, for crying out loud. Would the photographer want his image cluttered up by putting his name, his U.S. Army affiliation, his unit and every other bit of attribution that you want on top of it? Your yammering about "ethics" is completely irrelevant. Sadly, I think you know that.

Posted by: Dexter Westbrook at August 17, 2007 12:19 PM

The primary reason I brought this to CY's attention the use of this photo and the caption in the BBC article. I had just read the "Chuck Norris, Mr. T keeps Dangam safe" article at Centcom maybe a week earlier and the photo stuck in my mind. It's a US DoD photo, it isn't AFP's. And it isn't Getty's, either. Note in the original BBC article that the caption reads, "The offensive involves ground troops and airstrikes" relating to an offensive in a different province and three weeks later than this photo represents and involved no air strikes. In fact, the story which this photo represents has very little to do with a operational offensive and everything to do with stabilization; defensive protection operations; rebuilding; and civilians residents welcoming the troops at every turn. Where was that story in the MSM, I wonder?

Why does BBC honor the AFP brand logo on the photo when they could just as easily put a BBC logo on this publicly released photo? Why does DayLife label it AFP/Getty when it is US DoD? ( I would like to know why it's at DayLife and not at Getty, but that is another subject.) Again, it's free for them to use, not free for them to claim. The use is for editorial purposes, yet here AFP is attaching their commercial advertising to the bottom of it -- for what reason? That AFP added it to a news service photo database? Is that the rationale for AFP getting to paste their logo on it and everyone else having to honor it?

Anyway, now we see (via Dan Riehl) BBC using it "editorially" for a story that has more to do with Brits ramping up "to fight a resurgent Taliban, booming drug trade," ... yada, yada, yada, when it is really being used commercially by the BBC to hype their brand of bad news. When will our troops get the poster boys "Troops move to count civilian dead after another indiscriminate airstrike" treatment as a teaser for another BBC brand of story?

Sorry about the last bit. That was excessive hyperbole, except for making the point that this is not what the DoD releases photos for. They release it for and with the caption that is released with it and is embedded in the photo file. So, I'll stick with the basics that CY has, IMO, accurately and appropriately called AFP on. When DoD releases a photo, the news agencies can use it, not claim it. And the attribution of USDoD, not AFP, should be identified even on the Getty or DayLife site, and not relegated to being embedded in the photo that no one pays attention to, including the news agencies.

Posted by: Dusty at August 17, 2007 12:22 PM

Dusty, as I indicated in my earlier post, AFP made it clear who actually took the photo. AFP did not "claim" the photo and it did not add the logo. It was the BBC that decided not to ID the photographer and it was the BBC that pasted the AFP credit in the bottom right corner of the image. The BBC does the same thing with Associated Press (AP) photos, and it never identifies the photographer on photos it gets from a wire service. The BBC is merely indicating where it obtained the photo. That can be misleading, as with the Aird photo, because readers assume the credit indicates who actually took the picture. Sure, it's a lazy practice, but, again, the BBC does this with all wire photos. To blame AFP is just plain wrong.

Posted by: CG at August 17, 2007 12:51 PM

One reason AFP ditched the military credit and cutline was probably to disguise the fact that the photo illustrates operations in Dangham (Kunar Province) while Tora Bora is in Nanghar Province.

Posted by: Jim Graves at August 17, 2007 01:13 PM

Does this mean I can start pulling new agency pictures off the web and put my name on them? "Look at the places I've traveled and the people I've seen!"

Posted by: Patrick at August 17, 2007 01:32 PM

[CG at August 17, 2007 12:51 PM]

I understand that the primary attention is on the AFP and that the BBC is ultimately responsible for not doing the crediting they should do. So, partially granted, CG, though I think your argument is presumed.

Did the BBC get it from an AFP database site? Or from Getty's? Or somewhere else? If from Getty, why not Getty instead of AFP? It is unfortunate that this particular photo is an informationally cribbed version of what one might find at the Getty site and for some odd reason that I find inexplicable, the Getty site doesn't have this one now.

But look at this "AFP" (#74981490) photo that is on Getty and let's talk some more about who is doing all but ignoring the source and photographer while taking the credit for the photo itself and not the just putting it on a database for access to "AFP" photos. AFP (or Getty?) couldn't put their label in more places if they tried, IMO.

Search using the number, 'cause it is directly unlinkable:

(It may give you a location/language preface screen.)

Posted by: Dusty at August 17, 2007 02:37 PM

[Dexter Westbrook at August 17, 2007 12:19 PM]

It's the folks with attitudes like yours, Dexter Westbrook, who contribute most to bastardizing journalistic ethics.

AFP is not distributing this photo. USDoD is distributing this photo. AFP is just taking them up on the offer. And DoD is distributing it with the caption, which is embedded, to the public. In my previous comment I am only guessing that AFP is the one to "find" the photo and add it to some database. Getty added it to their database, hence the added Getty attribution. USDoD is now relegated to the dustbin.

If anything, in USDoD cases and the like, this logo crapola should be a matter of internal "industry" attribution, not whose photo it is. AFP can demand the courtesy of attribution for adding it to a database, if they want, but that is a different universe from that in which it is used by news organizations, where the public sees it as the AFP having produced it. It's no wonder the real credits and captions get wiped like dust on a picture -- inclusion would belie the reason for the logo and what it is supposed to be used for.

That AFP imposes it with their logo, in the process denying it to USDoD who is releasing it, represents nothing more than the rationalized ethics of an industry concerned more with self-interested commerical gain than it does with anything professionally journalistic.

The gibberish is not coming from CY. He's just trying to cut through the misleading gibberish of the MSM. Your sputtering gibberish about requiring a ten line credit is hilarious. A USDoD/AFP would be fine with almost everyone, I think.

Posted by: Dusty at August 17, 2007 02:48 PM


Frankly, I've had suspicions of the press since the 70's, generated by listening to shortwave radio broadcasts by VOA, BBC,Radio Hanoi, and Radio Moscow during the Vietnam war. More than making me aware of intentional bias by reporters, it made me aware of unintentional bias by reporters.

While many people have been suspicious of the accuracy of the Press over the years, it wasn't until the internet became widely available that the claims of reporters could be easily fact-checked.

Contrary to the images of Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow which were pasted onto reporters in general, we've discovered what we should have already known.

Reporters are humans and, as such, are unreliable, biased, lazy, and motivated by things other than telling the public the truth. Even those who try to tell the truth see the world through the filter of their environmental influences.

Well, in most TV and Newspaper newsrooms those environmental influences are all the same. The days of suspicions with no way to fact check the reporters are over. Reporters are going to have to expect to be questioned and challenged on their claims.

Those who believe in evolution know what happens when all the animals in an environment are identical and the climate changes. They die out.

Posted by: Lokki at August 17, 2007 04:35 PM


At an earlier time in my life, I was the managing editor of a newspaper. I never considered myself or any of my reporters or photographers as facilitators of the news. Our MOD was what, when, where, and why.

The complete lack of any ethics in the print media today is a product of Leftist journalism programs at colleges and universities, where students are indoctrinated with Left-wing dogma. A once proud profession has been reduced to its current state by the likes of people like Dexter Westbrooke. Pathetic, and dangerous in the long term, as the people now have little trust in the media.

Posted by: templar knight at August 17, 2007 04:39 PM

Dusty, I'm not presuming anything. The BBC got the photo from the AFP ImageForum site, which is accessible only to subscribers. (I have access through my job.) AFP also partners with Getty Images and other image providers to share photos, which is why you sometimes see an AFP/Getty credit. When a subscriber downloads a photo from AFP or Getty, the photographer's name is included. That goes for the photo used by the BBC. AFP identifies the photographer as Sgt. Brandon Aird. The BBC chose not to include that information. That's their standard policy on wire photos -- regrettable perhaps, but AFP can't force subscribers to credit photographers. And AFP does not put its logo on photos -- the BBC did that. If you want, I can send you a screen capture of the AFP ImageForum page with the photo used by the BBC. It identifies the photographer and there is no logo on the image.

As for the other AFP/Getty image you referred to (#74981490), clicking on the thumbnail shows the photographer as SPC Daniel Love and identifies the photo as a handout (HO) from Coalition Forces.

CY's allegation that AFP "has been caught once again in a photography scandal involving the U.S. military" is flat out wrong. AFP has certainly been guilty of shoddy journalism before, but this time they are blameless.

Posted by: CG at August 17, 2007 05:45 PM

So basically, these guys are saying lying to the public is OK, because we've always lied to the public.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at August 17, 2007 05:46 PM

Agreed Templar. Journalism has changed the last few decades and not for the better. What had not been clear for those who watched is who did the changing.

Posted by: Dusty at August 17, 2007 05:51 PM

Sneering at your customers when they expect more rigorous ethical behavior is a good way to lose customers.

What we're seeing here is precisely how dubious the industry accepted ethical standards of this news business really are in practice, and its not a very pretty picture.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at August 17, 2007 05:58 PM

[CG at August 17, 2007 05:45 PM]

Yeah, CG, send me the screencap of the page and if you can send me a screencap of the terms of use that are placed on subscribers. I'd be interested in reading what AFP requires and limits of their users.

Posted by: Dusty at August 17, 2007 07:38 PM

So this is basically like the Russian sub at the North Pole story the 13-year-old Finnish boy busted for using footage from the Titanic film, or the photo shopped clouds of smoke in Beirut. I could go on and on. But basically the MSM expects us to be mind-numbed consumers.

Posted by: senor doeboy at August 18, 2007 01:27 AM

Worse news for them is that they expect this to work in an age that the modern media consumer is blitzed daily by Madison Avenue. We have politicians that try to redefine what "IS" is, on nearly every interview show. And we have more information at our fingertips on the Internet then the Librarian of Alexandria could ever dream of.

Posted by: senor doeboy at August 18, 2007 01:28 AM

Then they whine and complain, bringing up all sorts of excuses, irrational arguments, screaming for us just to take their word at face value. Your credibility is shot. It’s not for me to fake like I believe you, but for you to prove yourselves. Clean up your acts, have your editors do their jobs, and crack open your old ethics coarse books for a review. Otherwise be prepare to see public opinion of your “Profession” to sink lower, if it can.

Posted by: senor doeboy at August 18, 2007 01:29 AM

wow- twice in one month people are using and abusing my photos...

well at least there getting published

Sgt. Aird

Posted by: brandon aird at August 18, 2007 01:51 AM

Wow, this is certainly a heated conversation and I've enjoyed the arguments, but one that I think needs an outsider's opinion injected. When I read a story, I may or may not look at who took the photo but I think the proper thing to do is to give credit to the photographer who is an artist of sorts IF you know who took it...bloggers (and i have been guilty of it) often do not do that either.... so shame on us too.
However, when ones business is journalism and you pride yourself on "unbiased" news the organization and its personnel should take measures to avoid all appearances of shady character. Taking credit (or appearing to) for a piece of art (which photo's are) is shady.

The main issue I have however is that the photograph really isn't realated to the current story. That to me is misleading, even if the photo looks like it does, a photo that goes inside a story should be taken FOR the story...period. Anything else just isn't adding to the story, it's like saying we couldn't come up with anything new so here's something old...that we are taking credit for.

When people read a news story they expect the accompanying photo to be part of said story. This may be a simple minded approach, but think of me as representing the simple minded news readers out there.
Mr B
Deployed Navy Blogger

Posted by: Mr Bob at August 21, 2007 06:40 PM

actually now that I go back and look at it again, it pisses me off more. Even though the photo was taken months earlier, they make it appear as though it is a recent photo of the current ops, a scoop photo like "we were there". That to me is dishonest. The bloggers here are right, just another nail in the coffin of big journalism.
Mr B.
Deployed Navy Blogger

Posted by: Mr Bob at August 21, 2007 06:48 PM