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May 14, 2012

Daily Beast Photo Flub [Updated]

Update: To its credit, the Daily Beast quickly corrected the caption after CAMERA informed editors of the error. We've added after the break an updated image of the photo as it currently appears.

Arab demonstrators in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan were busy smashing up Israeli police cars on Friday, and the Daily Beast has it covered. Well, sort of. Here's their featured Photo of the Day, and the accompanying caption, as it now appears on their home page:

Daily Beast home page smashed car.jpg

So a smashed up Israeli police car, damaged by Palestinian rioters, becomes a smashed up Palestinian car (damaged, perhaps, by the Israeli police officers). How do you like that? Maybe the Daily Beast caption-writer has a promising career as a used car salesman. (I hear he has a great deal on a roomy vehicle. If you don't mind a little extra fresh air, and some broken glass.)

The original caption for the AFP photo by Ahmad Gharabli was:

Israeli riot police detain a Palestinian man in a car whose rear window was smashed during clashes between Palestinian youth and the Israeli police in the east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan on May 12 [sic], 2012. . . .

(The incident actually occured on May 11, and was posted to the Newscom photo service site on May 11.) This more detailed caption also appears in the Daily Beast if you click on front-page photo with the erroneous, truncated caption. While the AFP did not falsely claim, like the the Daily Beast home page, that the damaged car belongs to a Palestinian, it was also not exactly forthright that it was an Israeli police car, damaged by Palestinians. But given AFP's troubled history on photo captions, that's not exactly a surprise.

Here's a fuller photo of what appears to be the same damaged vehicle (the edge of the broken glass is identical in both pictures), in which you can clearly see the police license plate (red, with the Hebrew letter "mem," for "mishtara," police):

afp daily beast smashed police car.jpg

The above image is by Mahfouz Abu Turk of ZUMA Press, and its caption is identical to AFP's.

But that particular police vehicle was not the only one which got some body work that day in Silwan. There's also this:

Silwan police car smashed.jpg

Also by Abu Turk, this photo plainly shows the Israeli police license plate and the Hebrew words "mishmar hagvul," or border patrol. There's no Palestinian detainee to be seen, though, which explains why its not the featured Photo of the Day.

The corrected caption appears below:

corrected daily beast police car.jpg

Posted by TS at May 14, 2012 03:19 PM


The first image shows very clearly the police light on the top of the vehicle.

The blue and white police light appears to be Photoshopped out of the second vehicle.

The details in both images cast almost identical silhouettes which means the light bar should be in both images.

Posted by: Robin from Orlando at May 14, 2012 04:39 PM

Huh. I think Robin's right - if you look at the outline of the glass you can see that both images are of the same car. So where is the police light? Photoshop?

Posted by: Joe in Australia at May 14, 2012 09:08 PM

Look again at the angles and the top of the police's head to the left of the car.

The lights are near the front of the long car so they can not be seen from this angle.

Also the photo is overexposed to the suns glare which is why you can't seen the top the the police's helmet. The lights which might be slightly visible from this angle have been washed out by the sun.

Not everything is a conspiracy!

Posted by: Seraphya at May 15, 2012 06:02 AM

Seraphya, I agree people shouldn't immediately jump into conspiracy mode, and I don't know if the image where the police lights are not seen was deliberately removed or not but two things are odd. It's the same car as shown in the top image (judging by the similarity of the broken glass). The police light seems quite near to the rear of the vehicle in the top image, and whilst there is white-out, it doesn't seem probable that it could totally remove a blue light strip. YMMV

Posted by: Rob Harris at May 15, 2012 01:46 PM

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