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Monday, 09 May 2011


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According to this http://www.nrads.com/statement.html it is true.....

The Melbourne Age commented on this, publishing both the before and after photo. Strange thing is, and I guess purely in the interests of the shape of the available space, cropped both photos to omit the Vice-President.


Ray Kinnane

This is a newspaper for a pretty conservative segment of the Orthodox population -- the article is in Yiddish (spoken almost entirely by older Jews and by ultra-orthodox Hasidim of all ages).

The headline reads something like "there is joy in the destruction of the wicked".

How does the White House get to impose terms of use on the photograph? It's a work of the U.S. Government, and is not subject to copyright. The Flickr page links to this statement, which explicitly grants the right to "create derivative works".

The paper reportedly observes a religious proscription against depicting women. I won't judge that.

I will. It's idiotic and dehumanizing. There, that was easy.

The Washington Post is reporting that Di Tzeitung has apologized to the White House for "not reading the fine print" governing the photo's use (story here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/orthodox-jewish-paper-apologizes-for-running-photo-that-digitally-deleted-hillary-clinton/2011/05/09/AFDqBUbG_story.html).

How about apologizing to readers for following Stalin's photojournalistic example, as documented in David King's excellent Pinot book "The Commissar Vanishes"?

Why can't we judge that? I'm with Mike R. Women make up more than half the world, yet they are mistreated as a matter of culture, tradition, or religion in many countries. Why can't we just admit that's wrong?

This sort of makes me wish Hillary Clinton had become your president; I'd love to see the pictures they'd run from presidential briefings and press conferences.

I find it totally disrespectful to half of mankind. Fanaticism is always bad no matter what.

I'm not sure what Hasidic sect this newspaper is tied to, but, unlike the New York Times or the Washington Post, Di Tzeitung has little influence with secular Jews, let alone Christians, Muslims or the non-religious.

Nevertheless, it does throw into a sort of comic relief, a problem the secular media has had over the past few years. Deceptive editing by omission.

When Andrew Breitbart did hit stories on ACORN or Shirley Sherrod, the key to what he was doing was the way he "photoshopped out" important details.

James O'Keefe did not wear the pimp outfit in any of the ACORN offices. Shirley Sherrod's speech was hacked down to the point where it looked like she was expressing hostility towards white people, rather than the genuine intent of the speech, which was just the opposite. In both cases, not only the mainstream media, but Congress and the Obama administration failed to ask for the unedited tapes. Congress cut off funding to ACORN with no investigation and the Obama administration fired Shirley Sherrod without looking at the unedited speech.

Is hacking details out of a photo worse than hacking details out of video?

No, no, no. This picture is the real one, published by mistake. Hillary Clinton and Audrey Tomason were photoshopped into the other version of the picture. As we all know, there are many holes in the bin Laden "killing" story. e.g. where's the body, huh, huh? How about the so-called death photo?

And what about that laughably flimsy cover story that the Pakistani police have his family in "safe custody". The whole thing was an obviously bogus event, thanks to the machinations of the USA, Pakistan, Israel and goodness knows who.

But this photo is real, and is likely a clue to the whole thing! Follow the money!! Who benefits????!


"The paper reportedly observes a religious proscription against depicting women.

I won't judge that ..."

Why not, Mike?

Respecting the modesty of women? Wouldn't the desired level of modesty be for the women to decide? Such erasure makes me wonder how much credit the men of this religious sect have taken over time for the contributions and accomplishments of women.

"Sir, I'm happy to inform you that your wife has just won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry."
"There must be some mistake. It would be immodest of my wife to have done such important work; it would also be immodest of her to accept the prize; and it would be immodest for my religious sect to acknowledge any women's work, so just put the prize in my name and send me a ticket to the ceremony . . ."

Whether you agree with it or not (and as an Orthodox Chassdic Jew I do not), the newspaper does not photograph women out of respect for modesty. It is not meant to denigrate or oppress.Again I do not follow this practice myself. If I were them I would not have printed the photograph at all instead of altering it.


Slightly tangential, but not entirely OT: http://beautytipsforministers.com/2011/05/09/reading-the-times/. "If you don’t instantly recognize both of these images...." Discuss.

I don't believe that not reading the fine print is any excuse at all. I guess fundamentalists of any creed can use faith to justify disrespect, or violence, or anything else. Saying it is to protect 'modesty' or is, in fact, being respectful, just double speak.

I don't see the problem with NOT using the photo, but in the end, they made a choice, and chose wrong. And they had to work at choosing wrong. Now, finally, after having said all this, how do I feel about the photo being cropped? Not that bad, but I'm confused.

The funny thing is that, if you've seen the full-resolution file, Hillary is the focal point of the image and Obama is out of focus.

" The statement notes that "the Jewish laws of modesty are an expression of respect for women, not the opposite"

What a line of BS. (hoping to see a complete transition from planet of the apes to developed, modern humans before I get real old and die.)

It would seem the Melbourne Age newspaper had the best compromise of the incident by publishing both the before and after pictures, but then cropping the vice president out of both. Now that's so funny even Biden has to be laughing about it.

Mani: Thanks for the :-). Your post read so much like Truthers', Birthers' and now Deathers' logic that you had me going. Only Roswell is real.

Janne wrote on Monday, 09 May 2011 at 07:32 PM
> This sort of makes me wish Hillary Clinton had become your president; I'd love to see the pictures they'd run from presidential briefings and press conferences.

I also wonder what Di Tzeitung's reporting on recent Israeli politics — Tzipi Livni, ex-foreign minister of Israel, current leader of the Israeli opposition — or past UK — Margaret Thatcher — or current German politics — Angela Merkel — or UK royals — Queen Elizabeth, Kate Middleton etc. — looked like...

Let Di Tzeitung work their photoshop magic on this picture (^^)

The third the fourth and fifth dimension.

The statement by that newspaper sounds like absolute BS to me. Don't forget they're practicing a bronze age superstition – so what can you expect?

I was on an El Al flight back in the 90s and witnessed a man walk over and demand that a woman sitting in her reserved seat move so he could have it – something like "You! Move! Now!". She moved without a fight. I was amazed and disturbed – that was some nasty misogynist behavior. Was it an isolated incident? Dunno, but I've never seen that happen amongst us goyim.

Hello, Soviet Russia. :)

I struggle to see how Di Tzeitung sees itself as a serious newspaper if this is its editorial practice. I am not familiar with the paper: can any TOP reader confirm whether it is a serious journal of record or just a piece of tabloid nonsense?

All fundamentalists are the same. They just need a long stay in a mental institution. The world would be a better place without them. It seems humanity has still a long way to go...

This is strange, if the paper holds this view, why aren't they following the commandment about "making graven images"? When you are that strict with Torah, Talmud, and Mishnah you can't just cherry pick. It is a case of all in or all out.

I (too) will not comment religious beliefs, but I observe that: while a fundamentalist Jew and a fundamentalist Muslim would gladly kill each other on occasion, they share their way to give respect to women (just in this case).

I miss the part where respect is due on the basis of others: I doubt that Miss Clinton is glad to have been erased, as I also doubt the photographer is glad. Not to speak of the message...
Is respect to be measured in percentage?

The worst part is the apology. They know what they are doing. So, why apologies: just because influential persons are involved?
And on a daily basis where the actors are normal people of the street? Tell respect...

I am firmly in the camp of those willing to judge. Misogyny is wrong, no matter what the justification. We should not respect obviously wrong moral values just because they are derived from bronze age myths.

As an Orthodox Jew and photographer all I can say is that these Ultra Orthodox fanatical Jews are a disgrace to the Jewish community, False modesty is what they are guilty of.

You don't need "fine print" to observe a fundamental principle of photojournalism.

And it's a bit of a stretch to claim that photoshopping someone out of existence* is showing them 'respect'.

"...The allegations by some, that Orthodox Judaism denigrates women or do not respect women in public office,is a malicious slander and libel. The Jewish religion does not allow for discrimination based or gender, race, etc...."

On the evidence of this story, their definitions of "discrimination" and "malicious slander" differ somewhat from mine.

{*Or, as they rather disingenuously put it: "published a picture omitting the female participants in the room".}


I was under the impresson they were really watching the recent Canadian election returns... the actual 'situation room' photo is yet to be released...

I will hereafter show respect for Di Tzeitung by not reading it or acknowledging its existence.

In my opinion only and with respect, not depicting women is a high form of DISrespect. Especially in cases of historical journalism (which this was), it says "You do not exist." The cover of "respect" and in this case "haste" serves only to direct attention away from am important principle. I realize that all religions, cultures and faith traditions have, in various ways, discriminated on the basis of gender. So I claim no exemption for mine.

The way the photo is manipulated is clearly at odds with their explanation. If they were really merely concerned with "modesty", they could have just blacked out the two women and it would have been clear to readers what was being done. Instead, they modified the image to make it seem as if the women were not present in the first place, which not only makes the photo a lie but also undermines the two women's roles.

They do not want to depict the world in a modest way, they want to depict a world in which women play no important roles.

Mike O:

That kind of behaviour still occurs on El Al flights. The ultra Orthodox have the airline by the "batsim" and pretty much run the show.

Orthodox men are not permitted to sit next to women who are not family members for a number of reasons, which I won't discuss here, but their rules are their rules. Years ago, a very Orthodox Rabbi friend of mine told me in no uncertain terms that the rules against men sitting next to "strange women" is for the woman's protection because men, not being as close to G-d, are more animal like and not as able to control their sexual urges. He concluded by telling me that if women really knew what men thought, they would stay at home.

Paul: to explain why it is ok to photograph some people but not others would ignite a firestorm on the website.

Oy Gevalt!

Janne mused about how these news organizations would have dealt with the possibility of Hilary Clinton as president. I wonder how they dealt with the reality of the fourth prime minister of Israel, Golda Meir?

Just a point of clarification: Di Tzeitung is a Hasidic paper. "Hasidic" and "Orthodox" are not quite the same thing. Hasidim is a specific sect of Orthodox Judaism, and it has only been around since the 18th century. They're as different from "conventional" Orthodox Jews as Jehovah's Witnesses are from, for example, Greek Orthodox Christians.

...hmmm, ok maybe not THAT different, but still pretty different.

Without wishing to personalise this to Di Tseitung, could anyone tell me as a non-press / media person, are there generally accepted editorial standards (ie like in the accountancy world, there are generally accepted principles which all reputable accountants apply)? I've always thought that complete removal of people from images was something that only Stalin advocated, but where are the boundaries drawn, and are journalistic ethics taught on journalism courses? There was a fuss about an English actress who digitally lost about 20 pounds on a cover shoot (I think it was Kate Winslet). I also remember an English tabloid getting into trouble by re-colouring Myra Hindley's hands to be bright red, suggesting that she had blood on her hands for participating in child murders. Is cropping someone out as bad as photoshopping them out?

There's a very pertinent comment on the "Failed Messiah" blog Mike links to, which I found interesting. In essence, it observes that Photoshopping out two people is a lot of work, even to do badly, and runs the risk of being unethical. Against that, obscuring someone in a photo with a black box or pixellation is far quicker, and an accepted technique in mainstream media as the overall image integrity is not compromised. I can't argue with any of that.

There's a suspicion growing in my mind that this case demonstrates that there is something more fundamental at the bottom of this, to do with power and gender roles. Not modesty.

Religious wackos are easy to spot, but they're just the far end of one continuum. When there is less religion and more reason the world will be a better place.

I guess when Golda Meir was Prime Minister, Israel had an invisible leader.

Labeling this newspaper simply as orthodox Jewish is probably too general and is why you've heard from orthodox Jews that have never heard of such a practice. From what I've read online, this is a Hasidic (or Chassidish) paper. Hasidism is part of Ultra-Orthodox Judaism (Haredi).


Not a good thing to do --and one of the dangers of digital photography. You can't be sue that the image you are seeing is a true representation of the event photogrpaghed.

But of course, this kind of image alteration has been going on for a long time. Thinking of the photograph,taken in 1920s Russia, showing Trotsky and other "deviationists" standing next to Lenin while he was making a speech, which was then carefully altered in the Age of Stalin to remove those "undesirable elements" from the photograph...

Mike, I think there's a *not* missing somewhere in "responsible journalists would then run the picture at all".

I'm surprised at the amount and seriousness of the comments. As in "I struggle to see how Di Tzeitung sees itself as a serious newspaper if this is its editorial practice." Goodness gracious, what's to struggle. This is an 8-page ultra orthodox Hasidic Jewish paper published on some 3rd floor in Brooklyn. Download it from their website and read the classifieds for laughs. Or read their full statement, equally entertaining (and in English). And of course *they* see themselves as a serious paper, just as they take their sectarian faith very seriously. Isn't seriousness about the matter at hand the hallmark of all fanatics? Otoh the non-fanatic majority should relax and have a laugh. Little use taking them up on a discussion of women's lib, is there.

The more I think of it, the more strange it seems that this situation hasn't come up before. People have cited heads of government in major countries going back to the 1980s, who were involved in major events, for example. Their photo editor shouldn't have been having to invent policy on this on-the-fly; it should be familiar territory.

The violation of journalistic standards involved in editing people out is immense. Again, that's not something they should have had to think about; that should have been instantly obvious to their photo editor and top management (probably to every single staff person).

And, to paraphrase Lincoln, calling a tail "respect" doesn't make it respect.

Dear Akiva,

"It is not meant to denigrate or oppress."

Irrelevant. The road to hell is paved with good intentions (were I to even acknowledge this as a good intention, which I do not).

Eliminating from a document of record the presence one of the most powerful people in the US and a central player in the news story being covered because she is a woman both denigrates and oppresses women.

It in no way shows respect for who she is or what she is doing as a human being.

I don't giving a fig for what the supposed intent is.

If the intent is truly sincere and not merely misogyny wrapped in fancy words, then the practice must be changed to fulfill the intent. Otherwise, the intent is in no measure real. It's only a lie.

pax / Ctein

"I've received several emails from practicing orthodox Jews..."

You've heard that if you ask three Rabbis, you get five opinions?

"Orthodox Jew" has no exact definition. No Pope to set the rules. Every group of one or more Jews will have its own set of practices.

I wouldn't be surprised if there were a group that Photoshopped-out the furniture.


You're absolutely right that the newspaper acted unprofessionally in publishing an altered photograph. Nevertheless, let's not gloss over the fact that the purported White House terms of use for photographs they post online lack any legal authority and are almost certainly a violation of the First Amendment. To take one example, editing or manipulation of White House photographs for parody should be a form of free expression every civil libertarian defends, whether the White House likes it or not.

This is in a Jewish newspaper? I would have thought it was in a US right-wing nut paper that hates Hillary. Having seen so much anti-Hillary bile over the past 20 years in the US, I wouldn't have been surprised.

It's a nice Photoshop job. Worthy of the Ministry of Truth. Ms Clinton becomes a double-plus unperson.

But seriously, once again Jon Stewart has the last word. Can't seem to find it, maybe not up on his site yet, but his take on the Di Tzeitung photo issue is characteristically funny.

Dear James,

I wrote a column several years back on the subject, titled “Don't Make News” ( http://theonlinephotographer.blogspot.com/2007/04/dont-make-news.html ).

The basic, and overriding rule, of news photography is really simple: you are not allowed to alter the photograph in any way that materially changes the factual content of the scene.

Some manipulations are more likely to cause problems that others, but none are sacrosanct. Obviously removing elements from within the picture will raise all sorts of red flags, whereas cropping or dodging or burning in usually don't. But there will be exceptions. Darkening O.J.'s face to make it look more menacing was widely condemned as a breach of journalistic ethics.

Similarly, cropping is usually okay, because viewers understand that the camera is not omniscient and cannot show everything that was present in reality. Still, in the case of the photograph here, there's some question about whether cropping out the vice president and other people in the room was the correct choice (don't know the real situation; couldn't say). And if I were to crop this photograph just to the left of the general, I would still have an interesting photograph… But it would certainly materially alter the factual content and import of the scene!


Dear Hendrik,

If this publication was setting itself up as a joke, then nobody would take it seriously. It is claiming to be a newspaper. The top of the page even reads “news report”. The only way you can maintain journalistic standards is that when someone claims to be a journalist and violates those standards, you slap them down… hard. Doesn't matter whether you personally think they're a joke. They want to lay claim to the title, they get judged by the rules.

And we didn't make this into a feminist issue, they did, when they specifically stated in their apology that it was about how they treated and “respected” women. When they raise the issue, it's fair game to shoot them down.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

There must be some admonition in Jewish law that one not lie. In my view changing the content of this photograph in this fashion is a lie. Better just to describe for people who was present, unless there was more on their agenda. Hmm, Steven Willard

Dear Ctein,

Don't you think you're taking this whole thing a little too seriously? It's a tiny newsletter run by a tiny ultra-religious sect. I don't like or agree with their views about women or photographs of women, but the harm to society at large seems fairly minimal.

The details of the apology provide the icing on this hallucigen-rich cake: they're sorry for not having read the fine print accompanying the photograph. That deserves a minute's silent, serious contemplation.

On the plus side, there's a peach of a comedy screenplay waiting to be written about the surreal lives of Di Tzeitung's woman-zapping photo editors and their Iranian, missile-boosting counterparts.

About the El Al airplane seats, here's a link to a Jerusalem Post article about when a Haredi man tried to swap seats with a (non-Haredi) Jewish man.


This is not like Stalinist Russia, where the government had centralized control over the media. After Trotsky was removed from the history books it was difficult, if not impossible to read his alternative view of the Russian Revolution.

This IS similar to those idiots who republish Mark Twain's books without the offensive racial slurs. Anybody and everybody can get a copy of Huck Finn. Anybody and everybody has seen the unphotoshopped image that includes Hillary Clinton.

How much of this is a commentary about the fundamentalist hatred of women is up for debate. The fundamentalists, whether Jewish, Christian or Muslim, will say that they're respecting women by covering them up. The rest of us will say their oppressing them. You'll get Muslim women who want to wear veils in France and xenonphobic secular French politicians who want to rip them of. Which group hates Muslim women more?

It's all open to interpretation.

For full disclosure: I might be Jewish. My 3x great-grandmother might have been one of the Crypto-Jews descended from the Jews that converted and settled in then-Mexico, now-American South west. That said, I do not identify as Jewish, neither culturally nor religiously.

It occurs to me that by not shopping out the males as well, or by including a picture at all, they have broken the "graven image" prohibition. See Exodus 20:4.

Also, while their reason is to preserve "female modesty", what they don't seem to realize is that they are in fact negating women. It is being read as "women don't exist", or by some as "women should not be seen in positions of power". Consider the chador-draped figure begging by the side of the road. She cannot work, she cannot be seen in the company of men other than father, son, brother or husband. Many of those begging women are forced into prostitution to survive, and often are put to death because of it.

It's bad enough that there were only 2 women present in that room full of men. Now add to that a hyper-inflated sense of modesty that only applies to women. What you get is the erasure of women from places of power. What is ironic is that our government's reluctance to put women in positions of power made the editor's job easier. He only had to remove 2 women instead of half the room.

Now for a bit of pure cheek on my part; Maimonides' 613 mitzvot cannot be observed completely because many of them are related to rituals that must be observed at the Temple in Jerusalem. My apologies, Mr. Klein. It is presumptuous for this goy to school you on Judaica. However, check with a rabbi. I bet you'll find I'm right. ;-)


Paris (and everyone else, really), it was Stephen Colbert who covered this issue: http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/385700/may-09-2011/hasidic-newspaper-removes-hillary-clinton

Mik Grass:
Thanks for the heads up on the ElAl flight. My mistake – I was on an Austrian Air flight from Jerusalem to Vienna after doing some U.N. work in the Gaza Strip, but I'm sure the Orthodox had the AA by the "batsim", too. There was even special food served on the flight. My beef was with the way this guy just came over and assumed he could order someone to move like that – and the fact that the woman actually didn't tell him to f**k off, but left him her seat.

One wonders how this particular effort to avoid possibly infringing on a possibly forbidden act is reconciled with "Thou shalt not bear false witness," which as I understand it is one of the Really Big Thou Shalt Nots.

"it was Stephen Colbert who covered this issue"

Absolutely correct, Dan. That would explain, I think, why I couldn't find it on Stewart's site.


Thank you Dan for the Colbert Report link about this censorship issue. Unfortunately a fanatic has censored the video of all content. I am not permitted to watch it as I do not live in an appropriate land.

These rules that purport to be about respect for women are prominent in the fundamentalist forms of most of the world's religions.

Claiming that they are about respect is a fairly modern conceit. They are really about the protection of property.

Note that in the recent British nuptials, the bride never stood alone at the altar. Her hand was passed directly from her father's to her husband's. More subtle than chopping someone out of a picture, but descended from the same idea.

"The paper reportedly observes a religious proscription against depicting women"

Interestingly, this behavior of the orthodox Jews resembles too much that of their fellow Muslims radicals.

If the picture wasn't right in the first place, it shouldn't have been used at all!
A bigger worry for Journalists should be photoshopping things into pictures!
No one will know what/whom to believe!

"... citing modesty concerns, hipster website removes sexually suggestive male images from sit-room photo ..."

You are all making far too much of this. Die Tzeitung is a very small publication, intended for a very small audience; that is, a specific Hasidic sect or even a segment of that sect. You and I aren't the audience for this publication.

It does not represent or influence anyone or anything beyond the boundaries of that sect or subsect. It does not represent or influence by an means all Hasidim, Orthodox Jews, or Jews in general.

Whoever they are, the people behind Die Zietung and the sect it is intended for do not try to influence or impose their values on anyone else; they simply live their lives according to their values. This being America, anyone who is born into the sect and doesn't like it has lots of choices - none are bound for life.

Most of all, the sect for which Die Zeitung is published does not carry out or even threaten violence towards others. They are arguably comparable to the Amish of Lancaster, PA.

To simply label them as "fundamentalists" and lump them in with violent and hateful Islamists is intellectually lazy.

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