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More Smoke From Hajj

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While following up on the faked photo flap, we heard from one of our concerned readers, a creative director in San Francisco:

Now, it’s obvious that those smoke plumes were photoshopped, and clear that the photographer should have been fired. However, the blog sources you link to are rabid right-wing blogs, the kind who think that the entire staff of the New York Times should be strung up for treason, and you’ve wound up uncritically repeating some of their conjecture calculated to weaken trust in (relatively) objective news media.

For instance, when you write that “Adnan Hajj… apparently has quite a reputation for blowing extra smoke into his images of war-torn Beirut,” you link to a site that shows other smoky photos he has shot. It sneeringly claims they must have been doctored, but does not show a single shred of evidence that they have. Apparently the mere presence of smoke is now proof of deception. (The one example where they try to show evidence looks to me like typical lossy JPEG artifacts.)

Although those shots all look mighty suspicious to us, we looked to find more photos from this guy, and stumbled across this one of an Israeli warplane:

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Notice anything odd about those three, nearly identical streams of smoke? We did some more investigating and found this analysis of the warplane photo.

Moments ago, Reuters admitted to that photo being doctored as well, and announced they were pulling all photos from Hajj.

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