Photojournalist experts criticize Fox News for altering images of protests in Seattle

Photojournalist experts lambasted Fox News Friday for publishing allegedly altered pictures of the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) that was created this week by Black Lives Matter (BLM) protestors.

The CHAZ was established after BLM protestors forced Seattle police out of the East Precinct building this week.

“I think it’s disgraceful propaganda and terribly misrepresentative of documentary journalism in times like this, when truth-telling and accountability is so important,” Kenny Irby, a photojournalism ethics educator and consultant, told The Seattle Times. “There is no attribution. There is no acknowledgment of the montage, and it’s terribly misleading.”


On Friday, Fox News's site featured a photo of a man with a military-style rifle standing in front of what appears to be a smashed retail storefront.

This photo, the Seattle paper claimed, 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."

Fox News allegedly altered another image as well, adding the gunman to a photo that has a sign in it reading, “You are now entering Free Cap Hill.”

Akili Ramsess, executive director of the National Press Photographers Association added, "For a news photo that is supposed to be of the moment, it is completely egregious to manipulate this the way they have done."

The Seattle Times said the network had no disclaimers stating the pictures had been altered. Once the paper contacted Fox News, the photos were removed.

The network also ran a photo of burning buildings with a story on the events in Seattle that was actually from Minneapolis on May 30. That photo was also removed.


Fox News in a statement told The Seattle Times, “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.”

However, the original photo was taken on May 30 in Minneapolis, not in Seattle this week like the network's statement suggests, according to the newspaper.

Fox News now has an editor's note on the stories that featured the falsified photos, according to CNN.  

"A FoxNews.com home page photo collage which originally accompanied this story included multiple scenes from Seattle's 'Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone' and of wreckage following recent riots," the note reads. "The collage did not clearly delineate between these images, and has since been replaced. In addition, a recent slideshow depicting scenes from Seattle mistakenly included a picture from St. Paul. Fox News regrets these errors."