Photo of Netanyahu as it appeared on Huffington Post.

The picture of Benjamin Netanyahu shown to the left appears on the front page of today’s Huffington Post, illustrating a story about Israel easing its blockade of Gaza. The full article on Huffington Post, which can be seen here, also uses the same photo as an illustration. (As of this writing, the picture is still on the HuffPo main page, though it may be gone by the time you read this, as the site’s front page changes every day.)

When I first saw the photo, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me, because it looks like Netanyahu has neon devil horns growing out of his head. What the hell? Was the photo altered in some way? Or is it a “truth-o-graph” revealing Netanyahu’s true devilish nature?

Turns out: No. The photo is an authentic AP photograph — or at least part of an authentic AP photograph — which was cleverly cropped by someone at Huffington Post to make it appear as if Netanyahu has devil horns — flaming neon devil horns, at that.

The same photo of Netanyahu as it was originally released by AP/AFP.

After a bit of searching, I found the original photograph, which you can see to the left and also here, in its original context on the Yahoo News page. (The picture also currently appears in this Yahoo News slideshow, but again it may not be there by the time you read this, as the slideshows change over time.) At the Yahoo site, the photo is credited to “AFP/Pool/File,” which probably means that one photographer was allowed in to take photos of Netanyahu and the images were then shared in a “pool” by all the news syndicates, including AP and AFP.

As is plainly visible, the original photograph reveals what is really going on: Netanyahu is standing in front of a backlit cut-glass official Seal of the State of Israel, which depicts a menorah flanked on either side by branches.

Somebody — most likely at Huffington Post — carefully cropped off the top portion of the photo so that the bottom parts of the two branches combined with the curved edge of the seal appear to be the outlines of horns sprouting from Netanyahu’s head.

Why?

Is this part of the ongoing and relentless campaign by news sites to subtly slant the news — in this case, to “demonize” (in a literal sense) Israel? Or was it just a sheer random accident?

Or did Huffington Post get the photo from a different source, already pre-cropped? If so, I’d like to see the original source, and investigate who did the cropping. Either way, somebody — either at Huffington Post or at AP (or possibly a different news syndicate) — cropped the photo at the precise point to make Netanyahu look like Satan.

Coincidence? Perhaps. But considering the longstanding documented anti-Israel bias at so many news outlets, “coincidence” seems like the least likely explanation.

For the record, here is a screenshot of the photo as it currently appears on the Huffington Post main page:

UPDATE:

Turns out this is not the first time that the Huffington Post has been involved in similar incidents, as detailed in the following links:

FrontPage Full Report: Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israel Hatred on the Huffington Post
CAMERA re HuffPo: Spreading Falsehoods About Israel on the Internet
Huff-Watch, a blog monitoring anti-Semitism on the Huffington Post.

14 Responses to “Did Huffington Post crop AP photo to give Netanyahu devil horns?”

  1. 1HuffWatcher on Jul 5, 2010 at 7:50 pm:

    Hi Zombie:

    Big, big fan of your work. I’m the author of the report you cited (“Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israel Hatred on the Huffington Post”), and the editor of HUFF-WATCH. You are right, selective photo-editing to demonize Netanyahu – while elevating and humanizing Ahmadinejad and other murderous tyrants – has become a specialty at HuffPost.

    Here are some links to detailed reports on HUFF-WATCH:

    5/20/09 onward: Pathological photo-bias re Netanyahu, Ahmadinejad
    http://huff-watch.blogspot.com/2009/05/52009-onward-pathological-photo-bias-re.html

    5/13/09: (Kennedy-esque) Obama “warns” (sinister-looking) Netenyahu; predictable Israel-hatred ensues (with approval!!!)
    http://huff-watch.blogspot.com/2009/06/51309-kennedy-esque-obama-warns.html

    8/1/09: Hamas: “Hello, HuffPost? Yes, we have a new cuddly picture of our chief terrorist for you.” (HuffPost: “Thanks!!!”)
    http://huff-watch.blogspot.com/2009/08/8109-hamas-hello-huffpost-yes-we-have.html

    Ahmadinejad announces his love for Arianna Huffington
    http://huff-watch.blogspot.com/2010/06/ahmadinejad-announces-his-love-for.html

  2. 2BeukendaalMason on Jul 6, 2010 at 9:52 am:

    Well maybe they are just picturing Netanyahu as Moses with his “radiant horns”… (Early Medievel art showed Moses with horns based upon a mistranslation of the Hebrew word describing Moses after his meeting with God. The word could be translated as either rays or horns.)

    I personally find almost all cropping of pictures (or truncating of any information) to be a very poor decision. Not only does it seem like an attempt (if it was not an actual attempt) to defame Netanyahu it also takes away what Netanyahu was actually doing in the picture. I would not surprised if it was done on purpose (though maybe not by Huffington Post). When it comes to Israel it appears that people can’t avoid trying to slant ANYTHING to try to depict Israel as “evil”. “Palestinian Holocaust”, “Genocide”, “Concentration Camp” (Gaza), “Humanitarian Crisis”, “Terrorist State”, “Apartheid”… those only scratch the surface of the slander/libel against Israel.

  3. 3CattusMagnus on Jul 6, 2010 at 11:48 am:

    They truly have no shame.

  4. 4Justin S. on Jul 6, 2010 at 12:56 pm:

    Meh… looks like a fairly standard crop to get a face-shot. Accident seems very plausible.

    On the other hand, the photographer I’m sure took an entire memory card full of photos they could have chosen from, so who knows?

  5. 5Zach on Jul 6, 2010 at 1:18 pm:

    Interesting find. I’ll be sure to pass it on.

  6. 6Bakunin on Jul 6, 2010 at 6:41 pm:

  7. 7Fenris on Jul 6, 2010 at 8:32 pm:

    I’d have to agree with Justin. First, most if not all photos on HuffPo’s front page has the same aspect ratio, 300x219px. Second, the crop seems to comply better to principles of headroom (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Headroom_%28photographic_framing%29) than the original. If I were a photo editor and had to work with dozens to hundreds of portraits a day, I’d probably slap the same template on each photo.

  8. 8wwwww on Jul 7, 2010 at 11:31 am:

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  9. 9Steven on Jul 8, 2010 at 12:57 pm:

    Well, I love Zombie’s work too… but that might be overdoing it a bit!

  10. 10richb on Jul 8, 2010 at 10:31 pm:

    It’s no accident. Period.

    Anyone who thinks the media doesn’t allow its bias to show is fooling themselves.

  11. 11HuffWatcher on Jul 9, 2010 at 12:02 am:

    Hi Zombie:

    I’ve done a sort of tribute blog article to you, to help clearly establish:
    * What choices HuffPost actually faced in cropping this photo
    * Whether or not HuffPost’s actions in this incident are indicative of an anti-Semitic bias
    * How HuffPost’s actions in this incident relate to its selection and cropping of photos in the past

    Enjoy:
    “In defense of ‘Zombie’; A chronicle of HuffPost’s pathological anti-Semitic bias in picture choices and editing”

  12. 12daniel noe on Jul 10, 2010 at 4:47 am:

    If there is an anti-Israel bias in the news media, I hardly think pointing out dubious instances of it like this does anything to warn people. Rather, it just makes us all look silly for even discussing it. If I wasn’t already predisposed to believe in an anti-Israel bias, I would probably brand you as one worthy of being ignored.
    Oh well, it’s good fun.

  13. 13ChenZhen on Sep 19, 2010 at 11:49 am:

    It’s just a cropped photo.

  14. 14Erich Woodliff on May 19, 2014 at 9:42 pm:

    So beautiful! I like the earthy & classic tones of your wedding! I’m so stealing the succulent idea. Gorgeous bride, handsome hubby & bridal party. Incredible photos as usually Tammy!