Integrity is important.
Any information that has the ability to influence or shape the thought and action of others should be handled with the utmost integrity and due diligence. Even innocent white lies can prove to be dangerous.
Leblanc discusses how fake news takes on many different definitions but one definition that stood out the most was that it is “demonstrably false information that is being presented as a factual news report with the intention to deceive the public, and the related erosion of public faith in traditional journalism.” This is exactly what Times magazine did with Moore’s photo. The image was taken to educate the public in regards to immigration issues in America and they edited the image to the point where it told another story. While the common practice of separating toddlers from their parents is disheartening his particular image was not applicable to such scenario yet, the magazine doctored the image to make the statement that they wanted. Immigration process is different for everyone and the outcomes are not always the same and Moore’s was capturing a unique experience to that person. As stated by Lauricella in the article Moore’s was unaware of what would transpire at the time the photo was taken. He documented an authentic moment that was then manipulated to suit a particular narrative. He did his job ethically as a photojournalist.
I do not believe that Time magazine should have published the cover with that image so heavily edited. They were no longer telling a story but manufacturing one. They were or could have been other images that would reflect more accurately what they were trying to bring attention to. The manipulation of the image appealed to people emotionally and not necessarily to their intelligence or the facts. Direct blame was placed on Trump for the separation of children and parents however this practice was also taking place under the Obama administration. While I absolutely do not agree with the trauma of parent and child separation the focus should be on changing laws and policies that allow for this to happen. If people had more accurate information then maybe the conversations could be around changing the laws to reflect the outcries of the people. Instead of information that stirs extreme emotions and passes blame with no active solutions.
The ethical value I believe that serves as the basis for photojournalism is respecting the truth. An image can speak for itself; it doesn’t require anything added or taken away. The conflict with photojournalism is that we live in a society where everything is doctored to be presented in a certain way that would then incite viewers and ultimately place money in pockets. These all have significant effects on the integrity of photojournalism.
The Value of honesty and reliability are in direct conflict with the use of Moore’s photographs. There can be no balance or compromise when it comes to this scenario. These kind of articles shape the way people view laws, politics and political leaders. Regardless of our dislike or how ill equipped our leaders are, the readers deserve truth. As an editor I would have chosen to either tell the story of the original image or source another image that accurately depicts the story being told. I understand that the magazine is also for entertainment purposes and therefore some post production will be involved however that can be done without changing the entire context of the image.
I find it ironic that America often exploits other countries’ resources and now we see countries like Macedonia exploiting their ignorance for profit. In any case I agree that it is “paramount to inform yourself of the many tactics to read through the ever growing flow of fake news” (Ntourntourekas et.al). Especially since we cannot expect openness and integrity at all times, it is important to fact check the information we allow to shape our thinking and accept as truths.
Lauricella, S. (2018). Case Study: Does the Photo Fit the News? The Ethics of Powerful Images in the Immigration Debate. Media Ethics, 30(1). Retrieved from https://www.mediaethicsmagazine.com/index.php/browse-back-issues/210-fall-2018-vol/3999232-does-the-photo-fit-the-news
LeBlanc, C. (n.d.). What is “fake news”? In Fake news and what to do about it. Pressbooks. https://fakenews.pressbooks.com/chapter/what-is-fake-news/
Ntourntourekas, L., Crowe, N., & Coughlin, R. (n.d.). Who creates fake news? In Fake news and what to do about it. Pressbooks. https://fakenews.pressbooks.com/chapter/what-is-fake-news/