July 30, 2003

MORE CHEATING AT THE BBC? A reader sends this:

You tell me.

I ran across this on an Afghan website I frequent. Specific URL of
forum thread is –
Link

Link to BBC story (Afghans ‘live in climate of fear’)

…NOTE THE PICTURE with this story…

Link to story

HOWEVER….

Yahoo says….”Afghan women and girls watch the arrival of Afghan
President Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan”

Yahoo link

SAME PICTURE? Uncropped.

See the smiles they had to crop out to put it in the BBC piece?

Is this common practice?

At the BBC? It’s starting to look that way. The cropping certainly makes the photo fit the headline better, doesn’t it? (If you’ll follow the Yahoo! link you’ll see that they’re actually craning for a better view of Hamid Karzai; the actual story hook is a $1 billion aid package for Afghanistan, which doesn’t seem especially worrisome.) I’d call this a minor example of the BBC’s tendency toward spin, but it’s more evidence of just how pervasive that is.

UPDATE: Quite a few readers think that the difference between the photos isn’t as big as this post makes it sound. To me, the difference is noticeable, though as I say above, this is a fairly minor example. But you can follow the links and decide for yourself.