On Deceptive Media and Photojournalism

Photo of slain suspected drug pusher being held by weeping partner.
Photo of slain suspected drug pusher being held by weeping partner.

During President Rodrigo Duterte’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA) he called out a recent photograph published at the Inquirer showing a slain Michael Siargo, a suspected drug pusher, being held by his partner as if it is being portrayed as Mary carrying the dead cadaver of Jesus Christ. The President called out the broadsheet as overly dramatic in its depiction of Siargo’s demise. I, for one, believe that there may have been a shade of deceptive photojournalism from the Inquirer there and I am glad that the President called out the Inquirer on that one. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. The problem is, things are not always what they seem. While photojournalism is a useful tool to capture and record events, it can also be a powerful weapon to advance an agenda or an ideology. As people continue to get better access to information, I am hoping that more people will begin to exercise more critical thinking instead of easily succumbing to intellectual malleability from deceptive media and photojournalism.

Photo of a South Vietnamese official summarily executing a Vietnamese man.
Photo of a South Vietnamese official summarily executing a Vietnamese man.

One example of where photojournalism has taken a life of its own was when Eddie Adams took a picture of a Vietnamese man being shot in the head at point blank range by a uniformed official during the Vietnam War. The image moved people around the world (particularly in America) to hate American soldiers and their South Vietnamese partners as they were depicted to be abusive, cruel and engaged in unjust summary executions. But it turned out the man shot was a Viet Cong captain and prior to his execution he just cold bloodedly murdered not only a South Vietnamese colonel but also the colonel’s civilian family members. So the lie in the photo was the omission of context. Eddie Adams won a Pulitzer Prize for the photo but he later expressed regret for it. The man who shot the Viet Cong was South Vietnamese Major General Loan. Adams said:

“The General killed the Viet Cong; I killed the general with my camera. Still photographs are the most powerful weapon in the world. People believe them; but photographs do lie, even without manipulation. They are only half-truths. What the photograph didn’t say was, ‘What would you do if you were the General at that time and place on that hot day, and you caught the so-called bad guy after he blew away one, two or three American soldiers?’ Adams felt that, by taking the photo, he had ruined Loan’s life. He felt Loan was a good man, in a bad situation, and he deeply regretted the negative impact that the photo had on him.”

Major General Loan later on moved to the United States. When he arrived, the Immigration and Nationalization Services (INS) wanted to deport him because of the infamous photo. Adams had to testify on behalf of Loan just so that he would not get deported. Loan opened up a pizza restaurant but was forced to close it when his identity was disclosed. He died of cancer in 1998 and Adams, in his eulogy for Loan said:

“The guy was a hero. America should be crying. I just hate to see him go this way, without people knowing anything about him.”

Photo of a British soldier towering over Iraqi civilians.
Photo of a British soldier towering over Iraqi civilians.

Another example of deceptive photojournalism can be seen in a published photo by the Los Angeles Times during the Iraq War. In the photo (taken from AngeLingo), you can see a British soldier gesturing strongly at Basra Iraqi civilians crouching below him. As AngeLingo explains:

“The photograph’s power structure, and its misuse, is further accentuated with the apparent disparate physical appearance, as the peacekeeper is secured in a color-focused monotone uniform, and the civilians are divergently draped in multi-colored “native” cloths. In this rainbow of fabrics, one man stands frozen in front of the others, cradling a blanket wrapped baby in his arms. The soldier and man appear to be defiantly staring at each other, a showdown that indicates the conflict between the two individuals and the political and social concepts they represent. The positioning and specific stance of the civilian leader in relation to the soldier implies a power struggle, as well as negative feelings—perhaps to the extent of outright animosity—between the peacekeeper and crowd.”

Two separate pictures spliced to make a composite picture that was published.
Two separate pictures spliced to make a composite picture that was published.

That is not the worst part. Apparently, the photo was doctored! It was a combination of two photographs (as shown by AngeLingo) to increase impact. As AngeLingo has shown, there was a subjective political statement that contradicted what actually happened. The two separate photos combined together actually showed a positive and helpful event between the soldier and the civilians. What actually happened was that the soldier was telling the civilians to stay down to avoid being shot by Iraqi forces that opened fire. Since at that time the world was so divided on America’s War on Terror, the creation of the composite picture from two spliced photos painted a much different and grim picture.

Photo of what appears to be a Palestinian victim of Jewish police brutality.
Photo of what appears to be a Palestinian victim of Jewish police brutality.
Another example of deceptive photojournalism was published by the New York Times in 2000. Tuvia Grossman, a 20 year old Jewish student at that time, was depicted and identified as a Palestinian victim of Jewish police brutality. But the truth was actually the opposite as explained by Grossman. His father had to send a letter to the New York Times to enlighten them of the truth behind the photograph. Tuvia Grossman and his two friends were actually pulled from a taxi by a Palestinian mob and were brutally beaten and stabbed. The Israeli policeman in the picture was actually protecting them from the mob. The younger Grossman lamented:

“It’s bad enough to be beaten bloody, get stitches up and down my head, and have my leg so severely stabbed that therapy is required to regain use of it. But to be used as a pawn in the media war, as part of the Palestinian propaganda to gain international sympathy, well, that hurts even more.”

It is unfortunate that truth takes a backseat when an agenda is being pushed.

The Inquirer photo that President Duterte referred to, I believe, is no different from the examples given that illustrate media and photojournalism deception. In the case of the Inquirer photo, it was originally published on July 24, 2016 – a day before the President’s first SONA. The article was made to coincide with the SONA and to deliver the Catholic Church’s message of its criticism on the many killings of suspected drug users and pushers that is going on. A thorough look at the article would show that the message suggests that Duterte seems to be the one to blame on all the killings since these tragedies have gone up exponentially since June 30 (the day Duterte took office). Nowhere in their article does it mention that other angles may have been the cause of Michael Siargo’s demise. Was he a victim of drug syndicates (possibly those who ordered the motorcyclist to gun him down) and not the police? Was the killing even related to drugs? No one (except for the killers perhaps) knows for sure at this point. However, the picture has gone viral and has instigated a lot of debate regarding human rights abuses under Duterte. Allegations of human rights abuse has been the top issue going against Duterte even before he became President. The picture published by the Inquirer, I believe, was really meant to get into people’s minds into loathing the President and painting him as a ruthless monster to perhaps start conditioning the minds of people into thrusting an alternative leader depicted as benevolent and saintly. Who knows? Maybe they have another righteous widow in mind?

Pictures, even without manipulation, can be very deceptive as in the case of the Saigon Execution photo. When photojournalism gets used to advance a hidden agenda the people get susceptible to become pawns of the ones with vested interests. In the Inquirer photo’s case, I can understand if the photo was featured for an Opinion-Editorial piece but being featured as News makes me question the motive behind it. Journalistic dishonesty would make people end up being casualties in the end, I believe. I am glad the President called out the Inquirer on this.

(Top photo taken from the Inquirer)

print

Post Author: Hector Gamboa

Calling a spade, a spade...

95 thoughts on “On Deceptive Media and Photojournalism

    piratame

    (July 27, 2016 - 2:09 pm)

    Wow. This is what I really felt about that strange Inquirer frontpage photo. Inquirer is secretly trying to hurt Duterte. Just read their headlines and opinion columns.

      Hector Gamboa

      (July 27, 2016 - 2:20 pm)

      Thanks for reading, piratame! I’ve been getting lots of messages expressing the same sentiment.

    jacky33

    (July 27, 2016 - 2:10 pm)

    Benign0, the link to “the younger Grossman lamented” says page not found.
    I pictured but only if I can share it to this forum.

    Dale

    (July 27, 2016 - 2:12 pm)

    Spot-on!

    The moment I saw that photo, I knew something was up. How it was caught, the setting and all. It was as if they were trying to turn table and frame the suspected drug pusher as the victim.

    I am not totally in support of these killings but this photo was very manipulative and one-sided, as you have pointed out.

      Hector Gamboa

      (July 27, 2016 - 2:22 pm)

      Thanks, Dale! 🙂

      marius

      (July 27, 2016 - 2:35 pm)

      I more-or-less agree with this. Filipinos are always killing each other on the slightest pretext. There’s no doubt that the police/army are using Duterte’s umbrella to do a bit of target practice on undesirables, but this fades into insignificance when you consider the number of undesirables blowing each other away. Everyday murders are largely uninvestigated and unreported.

      And that photograph just screams “setup”. Humans are funny, but one of the things they generally don’t do in real life (contrary to what Hollywood says) is hold onto corpses, especially not ones that have died a violent death, and especially not when the police are supposed to be there securing the crime scene.

      In my experience, it’s safe to assume that anything in the Philippines is fake and/or untrue unless proven otherwise.

        Hector Gamboa

        (July 28, 2016 - 5:14 am)

        Hi marius,
        Thanks for reading. The problem that I see in the photo was the way it was presented (notice the lighting giving focus on the slain suspect and his partner to maximize the emotional impact) as well as the misrepresentation of the photo to the content of the article. The article was about (the Church) raising alarm over the many killings going on which are being blamed on Duterte. The photo shows a slain suspected drug pusher who was killed by unknown assailants. From my point of view, killings from police operations are the only ones that can perhaps be attributed to Duterte and even that is arguable because killings from police operations would have the presumption of regularity (unless proven otherwise). Now, is Duterte responsible for the killings attributed to unidentified assailants and salvaging (EJK)? I don’t think so! I believe in personal responsibility especially for adults. Are we supposed to blame NWA and their rap song “One Less Bitch” if someone decides to rape a girl and shoot her dead afterwards?

        Anyway, according to the stats from May 10 – July 25 there had been 603 deaths in total. 65% of that are attributed to police operations, 27% to unidentified assailants (e.g. riding in tandem), and 8% due to extra judicial killings or salvage. Duterte only became President at noon on June 30 so deaths under his government can only be for a total of 26 days using the chart. Deaths under Aquino’s watch account for around 51 days. So, doing the math… ~66% of the deaths happened under Noynoy’s watch and ~34% under Duterte’s watch. So at this point why the hell are the Duterte bashers blaming all the killings from May 10 to July 25 on him? Where’s the bitching on these supposed human rights abuses against Noynoy? I am amazed by the eerie silence of the Inquirer on Noynoy’s share of culpability. Pft! What a lot of crock!

        benign0

        (July 28, 2016 - 8:33 am)

        Duterte detractors insist that the pre-July surge in homicides can be attributed to the “encouraging” words of a presidential candidate on the verge of ascending the presidency.

        That’s an empty argument as well as it merely highlights the weakness in the foundation of the police command that persisted under the Aquino admin and, perhaps in fairness to PNoy, those that preceded his.

        This weakness could then be seen to be the underlying cause as to why the police are seemingly easily influenced by political waves rather than adherent to a stable core set of marching orders.

          R U BLIND ?

          (July 30, 2016 - 12:25 am)

          Yes, it is exactlt that. It is not as weak an argument as you make it out to be either.The guy said he would do it, now it is being done.PERIOD. and you hide behind the ‘PROVE IT’ bullshit as if no one can figure out that NOTHING in the Failippines is ever heard in the media unless it fits the narrative intended and that there in not a single police officer/judge or jury in the entire country that can not be easily corrupted. Hence the ‘NO PROOF’ scenario on everything from GMA’s aquittal (THATS A LAUGH!) to the current Presidential approved/sanctioned murders of street level drug dealers.All of these which do NOTHING to improve the country or make a dent in the thieving going on at the highest levels of society.

          Rem zamora

          (July 30, 2016 - 1:54 am)

          Sir Johnny saint, whether the crime scene is contaminated or not, and to preserve that is not the job of the photojournalist. That is the job of the policemen. Our job is to report what happened and to show the truth. Mr Raffy Lerma just did that. And was able to capture a beautiful yet gory reality. The fact that a lot were affected and moved by the image means Mr lerma did his job.

          @Benigno I don’t know about you, but I do know my shit about photography and photojournalism. And we do know that we don’t have control to reactions of people like you. But to question the authenticity and integrity of the image, when in fact I know that is the truth is beyond words. I do not base my conclusion on personal interpretation but on facts. No way be it’s time to ask yourself how you perceived the image and whether it is based on facts or just what you think are facts and what other thinks also.

        marius

        (July 28, 2016 - 3:13 pm)

        Hector, my point was that the stats are meaningless in the context of the Philippines’ essentially non-functional judicial system (and associated reporting).

        Just because something is written down on a report doesn’t make it true. I’m sick of reading official documents that are so transparently false it makes you wonder who’s more stupid: the people who write them or the intended readership that laps it up (I’m referring here mainly to promotional material for, say, PEZA zones, not crime stats).

        Murder in the Philippines is commonplace. I know several people who have had family members killed, in public places or in their homes, by known assailants or with strong suspects. In one case the police actually covered up the whole affair and disposed of the body before the family even found out their relative was dead.

        So, murdered drug dealers, or alleged dealers: is it the government? Is it drug lords? Is it Duterte? Was it Aquino? Who knows? Who cares? What it boils down to is rotten society, awash with guns, and devoid of conscience or purpose.

    zaxx

    (July 27, 2016 - 2:24 pm)

    Even the title of the INQ article is misleading. The command refers to murder, not killing in general. Not all killing is unlawful. There’s a difference…

    n biblical Hebrew, as in English, killing (harag) and murder (ratzah) are two different words with two very different moral connotations, and the commandment uses the Hebrew word ratzah, which means that the proper translation of the commandment from Hebrew into English is, “Thou shalt not murder.” The difference is crucial.

    Killing is taking a life. Murder is taking a life with no moral justification. Murder is morally wrong, but there is wide moral agreement (not complete agreement) that some forms of killing are morally just, and killing an enemy combatant during wartime is one of them. You did not violate the commandment by serving in the American army and fighting the battles you were ordered to fight.

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-04-12/features/sns-201204101200–tms–godsqudctngs-a20120412apr12_1_commandment-killing-murder

      Hector Gamboa

      (July 28, 2016 - 5:16 am)

      Hi zaxx,

      Thanks for reading. Yes, I noticed that too.

      Grace

      (July 31, 2016 - 11:35 pm)

      You’re absolutely right. The Hebrew word for the 6th commandment is Ratzach, thus a murderer is called Rotzeach. The word killer is not even in the Hebrew original because killing, e.g. state sanctioned killing, is not imputed to the person who have killed. For example, King David was not called a killer for killing enemies of the Israel.

    Grimwald

    (July 27, 2016 - 3:37 pm)

    Nice seeing you again Mr. Gamboa…

      Hector Gamboa

      (July 28, 2016 - 5:16 am)

      Thanks, Grimwald! 🙂

    joe

    (July 27, 2016 - 3:43 pm)

    i get the point of the article. so can somebody explain where the deception was in the inquirer photo? that’s the part unclear to me.

      T

      (July 27, 2016 - 3:57 pm)

      The inq article title is “Thou Shalt not Kill”.
      The photo itself is designed to draw sympathy for the slain and omits the context of the situation. Very similar to the the Loan photograph, it appeals to the hasty generalization fallacy.

    T

    (July 27, 2016 - 3:54 pm)

    Reading the comments section of the inquirer article will give you a notion that most people are skeptical of the photo. They also proceed to accuse the RCC of being hypocrites. It’s a good sign.

      Hector Gamboa

      (July 28, 2016 - 5:19 am)

      Hi T,

      Yes, it is a good sign indeed. It shows that yellow media outfits (like the Inquirer) are now having a bit of a harder time fooling everyone. Thanks for reading!

    Dick S. O'Rosary

    (July 27, 2016 - 4:13 pm)

    The woman holding the dead guy just screams “KSP” and “OA”. I don’t buy it one bit. No doubt she’s actually overjoyed he’s dead.

      Hector Gamboa

      (July 28, 2016 - 5:22 am)

      Hi Dick S. O’Rosary,

      Not sure about the woman’s joyful sentiment. I actually felt sorry for her when I first looked at the photo. However, I also felt a bit angry at the Inquirer for its presentation in hopes of what I think is an attempt to drum up hatred for the President. Thanks for reading!

        Jin

        (July 28, 2016 - 6:32 pm)

        Sensationalism. For how often journalists over there get offed, stunts like these make it hard to give sympathy to them.

    Gunther Benavidez

    (July 27, 2016 - 4:29 pm)

    I remember Inquirer had an “errata” on PGMA during the time of Cory’s demise.

    Off topic:
    I would like to point out that I think the The “American Soldier towering” would likely fit a British soldier judging the uniform pattern, helmet and rifle on hand.

      Hector Gamboa

      (July 28, 2016 - 5:24 am)

      Hi Gunther,

      Thanks for pointing that out. I stand corrected. I was thinking of America’s War on Terror for that period that is why I must have mistakenly identified the soldier as an American. Thanks for reading!

    Dragonfall

    (July 27, 2016 - 5:03 pm)

    I need to point out that the ‘American’ Soldier in the photo of the Iraq war is actually a British soldier. I can tell from the L-85 rifle he is holding in the photo and from his helmet. US Soldiers use variations of the M16/AR15. Otherwise good article.

      Hector Gamboa

      (July 28, 2016 - 5:25 am)

      Thanks, Dragonfall. You are correct. It is supposed to be a British soldier. My mistake.

      Thanks for reading!

    zaxx

    (July 27, 2016 - 5:10 pm)

    Here’s Michelangelo Pieta at St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City for comparison:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piet%C3%A0_(Michelangelo)

    The choreography director for the INQ picture must have been shouting: “Focus the spotlight a bit higher! Yes PERFECT!”

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the lady in the pix runs for public office and WINS.

    Or some cash-strapped studio will likely jump on this and make an award-winning film based on the “true story” behind this “touching scene”.

    Anything tapping Pinoy Emotionalism always sells.

      Dick S. O'Rosary

      (July 27, 2016 - 6:26 pm)

      Lol, they’ll turn it into an MMK episode. They will likely show that the guy was initially abusive and violent, but then turned to God ad tried to turn his life aroun but got killed lol.

        zaxx

        (July 27, 2016 - 6:50 pm)

        Nice! Your hypothetical story may have made some readers’ eyes watery already LOL

        Let’s call the episode “I swear l’ll qiut drugs… but one last sniff”

    Anonymous

    (July 27, 2016 - 5:34 pm)

    I cant seem to figure out where is the “deceptive” part on that photo. Stop justifying fanboyism through comparison. The difference in these photos is night and day. I also disagree with Duterte comparing it to Jesus and Mary. The guy may have done something wrong or illegal if you may, but was it worth his life? You judge the man as if you know exactly what he did during his time. To me the photo illustrates the side of the loved ones who were left behind and the result of letting one man decide who lives and not. That’s just plain stupid in my own humble opinion. Get Real Philippines? Really?

      Y

      (August 4, 2016 - 1:35 pm)

      As much as there is pity in death, it also should be noted that the article and the picture was stating that the death was due to the police and current war on drugs without any proof that it was a result of those action or projects. I’m not dismissing the tragic reality of the photo, but I do not like how the caption was being used to manipulate others into blaming everything to the current administration. There are more than one group at work here and being dismissive of other possibilities make people lose faith in the ongoing battle to regain the freedom stripped away by corruption and criminality. No war is without casualties and no amount of pleading, begging and ultimatums can change a person who refuses to change. No one person, institution or entity can be blamed for the entirety of a corrupt system. You are blaming one man who did nothing but request surrender or risk death. He gave an ultimatum and he needs to stand by his words to be respected as a leader and to gain the trust of the public. But guess what, those who surrender or who’re contemplating surrender are also the very same people who are being killed off by the drug lords so they cannot be used as witnesses against them. You want to ask why the big fishes are not caught? Because the small fishes are too scared of the big fish to tell about them, or are killed off vigilante-style so we all end up blaming the government. Also, because criminals are seeing how everyone seems to be attributing every reported killing to vigilantism, what do you think they’re doing? They’re copying the style and roaming free, creating havoc, murdering whoever they fancy because nobody will look for other angles or motives – everyone is hanged up on vigilantes killing everyone with drug connection. Let’s not forget the hired guns, they’re doing the same thing, killing off the small fish for their big fish boss so the big fish stays free since there’s no person who can turn witness against them. Forgive me if I don’t share your sentiment of seeing things as they were portrayed and looking at other possibilities photojournalism might be gearing at. I’ve been keeping up with the news and doing some critical thinking and a lot of what is being reported do not tally.

    ChinoF

    (July 27, 2016 - 5:41 pm)

    The problem with pictures is that the real story is often outside the frame.

      ChinoF

      (July 27, 2016 - 6:00 pm)

      I remember writing about the Saigon execution pic here.

      Hector Gamboa

      (July 28, 2016 - 5:26 am)

      You are correct, Chino! Thanks for reading! 🙂

    Anonymous

    (July 27, 2016 - 5:53 pm)

    Reading all your comments tells me that you are just following a single thread. Stop looking at Duterte as if he is the almighty. He is not! In most cases he is wrong. He is nothing but the image he carries and the hoard of supporters that blindly supports him. I am not against his war against drugs, and I agree with his platforms, but please without the killings. You cannot solve crime with another crime. The guy who took this picture is a photographer NOT a photojournalist! His job is to capture a “decent” picture that is worth the front page of a news paper. You can’t expect an amateur shot being highlighted the way this one does.

    Johnny Saint

    (July 27, 2016 - 7:22 pm)

    Hector,

    Nowhere in their article does it mention that other angles may have been the cause of Michael Siargo’s demise. Was he a victim of drug syndicates (possibly those who ordered the motorcyclist to gun him down) and not the police? Was the killing even related to drugs? No one (except for the killers perhaps) knows for sure at this point. However, the picture has gone viral and has instigated a lot of debate regarding human rights abuses under Duterte. Allegations of human rights abuse has been the top issue going against Duterte even before he became President. The picture published by the Inquirer, I believe, was really meant to get into people’s minds into loathing the President and painting him as a ruthless monster to perhaps start conditioning the minds of people into thrusting an alternative leader depicted as benevolent and saintly. Who knows? Maybe they have another righteous widow in mind?

    That the photo was published by the Inquirer in a context that tends to portray alleged drug dealer Michael Siargo in a sympathetic light doesn’t diminish the fact that by the PNP’s own tally there have been over two hundred drug related deaths between 1 July and 20 July 2016. That’s an average of ten deaths per day. 94 of those killed remain unidentified; another 30 or so are known only by their aliases. Neither is it lost on the public that executions by motorcycle riding gunmen were characteristic of Davao City’s vigilantes.

    What I find most disturbing is that there doesn’t seem to be much interest (on either side of the ‘drug war’ debate) in the actual context of these deaths.

    The PNP has been quick to point out that those involving lethal force by police officers were all done in accordance with the PNP’s rules of engagement. How can they be issuing definitive statements immediately after the incident? The PNP’s own operations manual specifies that any officer involved shooting MUST be investigated by the PNP Internal Affairs Service. After the team leader of the officer involved has reported it. I can’t believe that the IAS was able to complete over 200 thorough enquiries within hours (minutes?) of the reported use of lethal force.

    On the opposite side of the fence, those who cheer the election of the anti-establishment Duterte assume that any disagreement with the administration is a conspiracy by some malevolent group of political players to discredit the President’s reputation. This is still supposed to be a democracy where frank dissent is one of the cornerstones. You are supposed to complain when you believe that something wrong is going on.

    You are correct to point out that no one knows who Michael Siargo was or what circumstances led him to be gunned down, or who was responsible. Unfortunately, you do not seem too interested in finding that out either.

      TheVoiceofReason

      (July 28, 2016 - 1:51 pm)

      Well said

    Johnny Saint

    (July 27, 2016 - 7:37 pm)

    Did General Nguyen Loan’s action violate the Geneva Conventions for treatment of prisoners of war?

    He executed Van Lem after he had stumbled upon the bodies of his men — including their families — who were killed by the Viet Cong. Van Lem was caught red-handed indiscriminately killing people. In this context, the summary execution of partisans is allowed under the Geneva Convention.

    According to Article 4 of the Third Geneva Convention (1949), irregular forces are entitled to prisoner of war status provided that they are commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates, have a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance, carry arms openly, and conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war. If they do not do meet all of these, they may be considered francs-tireurs (in the original sense of ‘illegal combatant’) and punished as criminals in a military jurisdiction, which may include summary execution. Lem was an ‘illegal Combatant’, a francs-tireurs.

    Soldiers who are wearing uniforms of the opposing army after the start of combat may be considered illegal combatants and subject to summary execution. However, if soldiers remove their disguises and put on proper insignia before the start of combat in such an operation, they are considered legal combatants and must be treated as prisoners-of-war if captured. This distinction was settled in the post-WWII trial of Otto Skorzeny, who led Operation Greif, an infiltration mission in which German commandos wore US uniforms to infiltrate US lines but removed them before actual combat.

    What about Van Lem’s family?

    Nguyen Van Lem’s secret Viet Cong name, Captain Bay Lop, came from his wife, whose first name was Lop. Nguyen Thi Lop knew her husband, Van Lem, was a Viet Cong officer. But until she picked up a newspaper in February 1968, she didn’t know he had been arrested, or that he was dead, until she saw Eddie Adams’ photo of her 36-year-old husband being executed three days before by Saigon’s police chief, General Loan.

    Newly pregnant and fearful of the South Vietnamese authorities, Lop took her two daughters, then 13 and 3, from their house near Saigon’s airport and moved in with relatives nearby. She struggled, working at several odd jobs, until the war ended. After the war she was given a monthly pension, a ‘gratitude house’ and a scholarship for her son who was born eight months after his father’s death.

    Hopefully, someday, someone will write the whole story of ALL those involved in the Duterte ‘War on Drugs.’

      T

      (July 27, 2016 - 10:33 pm)

      Nice research. I see the point of your earlier post.

    zaxx

    (July 27, 2016 - 8:44 pm)

    How about this photo of the 5 presidents standing together that came out today? You don’t need to be a telepath to know what PNoy’s body language is suggesting.

    http://m.philstar.com/headlines/show/8774ff471f4e7ee1560a4724fb23c16d?t=t8kgnceji69u19qdnups3nlp03

    Archie

    (July 27, 2016 - 9:53 pm)

    INQUIRER is for elite!!!

      Hector Gamboa

      (July 28, 2016 - 5:47 am)

      Thanks for reading, Archie!

      I consider the Inquirer, ABS-CBN, and Rappler to be yellow-leaning.

    andrew

    (July 27, 2016 - 10:19 pm)

    Social media is a powerful tool Miriam said and i agree. these jounalist need to use this tool responsibly. our media is a copy of the american democracy. Alexis de Tocqueville is right when he describe about this in his book – too much irrelevant information is distributed to the public. haven’t finished it yet though as i need to rest my eyes from reading as per Ideal Vision folks.

      Hector Gamboa

      (July 28, 2016 - 5:48 am)

      Hi andrew,

      Yes and the danger is that sometimes people are caught up and get carried away with those irrelevant information. Thanks for reading!

    Charles

    (July 27, 2016 - 11:04 pm)

    There is no illusion in this picture vs. it’s reality. It clearly states in media outlets who is in the picture, what happened, where, and why. This is a poorly constructed article that makes little sense. Dick.

      T

      (July 27, 2016 - 11:36 pm)

      you gotta love these kinds of reasoning.

        Laguardia

        (July 27, 2016 - 11:51 pm)

        …why?

    ChinoF

    (July 27, 2016 - 11:27 pm)

    The problem also with this photo is not really the photo itself. It is the context people are adding to it, especially from those saying Duterte is responisble for it. Thing is, how can you make the connection to Duterte? Calling for investigation on this is right, though. But to pin it all on Duterte smacks of shill operations.

      Hector Gamboa

      (July 28, 2016 - 5:49 am)

      My sentiments exactly.

    321Hyden007Toro9999.999

    (July 28, 2016 - 12:41 am)

    “A picture is worth a thousand words”, they usually say. However, in this digital age; pictures can be manipulated, revised and reconditionED; as a propaganda tool. Pictures can lie, just like people !

    The Cory Aquino’s picture, with her praying, and the picture of the Dove, as Holy Spirit, in the background. They are showing, she is the anointed leader of the Philippines. Filipinos swallowed that scam; hook, line and sinker !

    The picture of a wife cradling a slain husband, can be used a propaganda tool by the Aquino’s Human Rights activists, to promote their agenda of Extra Judicial
    Killings.

    However, I have never seen a picture of a Drug Trafficker doing his/her business. Or, a Chinese Triad Mafia Chemist, manufacturing Shabu, inside the Bilibid Prison.

    I want to see also picture of Chinese Triad Drug Mafia syndicate, ordering their Filipino affiliates, to distribute Shabu…

    I would also want to see the picture of De Lima, and her driver lover in amorous positions…

    How about picture of Aquino, ordering his people to massacre his Hacienda Luisita serfs/tenants?

      Hector Gamboa

      (July 28, 2016 - 5:50 am)

      It would be interesting if the Inquirer would publish those photos you suggested, Hyden. But I’m not holding my breath on that. 🙂

      Thanks for reading!

    Erving Del Pilar

    (July 28, 2016 - 1:50 am)

    Duterte will see a lot of these “types” of images, doctored to promote a critical agenda by those who want to bring his presidency down. Why? Because these antics and moves by his critics are the only way to discredit an otherwise successful program to rid the country of corruption. They (the oligarchs and cronies) don’t want to lose their “cash cows” that the President is slowly eliminating methodically. To his enemies and critics: Palpak kayo! Mabuhay ang Presidente!

      Johnny Saint

      (July 28, 2016 - 4:03 am)

      Where in the essay did the author allude to the Inquirer photo being ‘doctored to promote a critical agenda by those who want to bring his presidency down?’ No one is denying its emotional impact or the context in which it was published, but claiming the photo itself was manipulated or ‘doctored’ is simply a lie.

      Hector Gamboa

      (July 28, 2016 - 5:51 am)

      Hi Erving,

      After all these years of manipulation by the yellows, I can understand the cynicism of the people against yellow-leaning media outfits. Thanks for reading!

    Sonia

    (July 28, 2016 - 5:42 am)

    I think both sides need to get their heads out of their a**es. Duterte’s positioning of himself as above the law and beyond due process will backfire on him some day, and I like the man. I mean, he’s a dick but I can see he means to get things done. Still, this is not a foundation for good and respectable and ultimately sustainable governance. Journalists (and I am one) also need to get away from the “if it bleeds, it leads” ethic that whips people into a frenzy just to sell newspapers. I can’t tell who is being more dehumanizing. Both need to up their game.

      Hector Gamboa

      (July 28, 2016 - 5:53 am)

      It is so refreshing to hear a fair and level-headed take from a journalist like yourself, Sonia. Thanks for reading! 🙂

      Jin

      (July 28, 2016 - 6:37 pm)

      Shh, careful. That kind of talk leads to the chopping block in your profession.

    Hector Gamboa

    (July 28, 2016 - 5:45 am)

    Hi Johnny Saint,

    Nice to see you again here. Aside from the stats and points I gave to marius, I don’t think we can really conclusively say that Duterte is the cause of the increasing extra judicial killing. Correlation is not causation. Besides, you do see the irony of so-called human rights advocates pontificating about the rule of law while pointing their fingers at Duterte, right? An accused is innocent until proven guilty (beyond reasonable doubt) in a court of law. Suggesting the guilt of Duterte at this point, without proof, trial and conviction, while demanding the adherence to the rule of law, I think, is hypocritical.

    Now on my objection to the Inquirer photo and article, I am not trying to discourage people from dissent. But knowing how yellow-leaning the Inquirer is (as well as ABS-CBN and Rappler), I seriously have doubts on the integrity and sincerity of their news articles like the one discussed. As I mentioned, I can understand if the photo was presented as part of a Op-Ed article. But it was featured as news.

    Now regarding my seeming lack of interest in finding out the circumstances behind Siargo’s demise, that is beyond the scope of my article. The article was about a critique of deceptive media and photojournalism which I find the Inquirer photo and article to belong to. An investigative article on Siargo’s demise calls for a different time and inspiration.

    Thanks for reading!

    Hector Gamboa

    (July 28, 2016 - 6:23 am)

    By the way, guys…. here’s another case of misrepresenting a photo just to advance an agenda. Just hot off the press! 😀 lol

    Hillary Posts ‘History-Making’ Photo of Crying Woman. Then a Hollywood Actress Spots the Truth

    captjoe25

    (July 28, 2016 - 7:37 am)

    Grimwald, you might want to correct your info on the Picture of an American Soldier with the Iraqi Civilians. He is not American but British serving in Basra, Iraq. I served in the US Military and don’t recall wearing that type of Uniform.

      Hector Gamboa

      (July 28, 2016 - 8:40 am)

      Hi captjoe25,

      Please see my response to Gunther. You are correct, I made a mistake when I wrote the article and the photo caption. It should be a British soldier, not American. Thanks for reading!

    Hector Gamboa

    (July 28, 2016 - 8:47 am)

    Hi Everyone,

    My apologies for my mistake for the soldier’s nationality in the Iraq war photo. I have made the correction already. It should be British soldier, not American. Thanks!

    222Hyden007Toro999.999

    (July 28, 2016 - 9:52 am)

    The Chinese Triad Mafia crime syndicate has their Public Relation agencies. They pay high on Public Relation agencies, to humanize their crimes; and portray them, as victims.

    Remember the kidnapping extortion case of the TV personality: Vhong Navarro…the poor guy became a victim of the Chinese Triad Mafia, extortion scam. I do not know, what happened to the case; and where the criminals are; but this is the “classic case” , of how they make money thru extortion and scams. The Police was also involved in this extortion/scam case !

    Counterfeit Drugs, counterfeit products, and counterfeit currencies; are where they also make huge amount of money. So, watch out for the products you buy, if it is genuine or counterfeit, in a Filipino Chinese store !

    However, their most profitable illegal business is: manufacturing and distributing Shabu. They are part of the so called: “Golden Triangle” in Asia…corrupting politicians and high government officials, are where , they are good at…

    It will take a lot of efforts, to fight this crime syndicate; it has huge amount of money and resources. It has many networks, once they get a foothold in a country !

    d_forsaken

    (July 28, 2016 - 10:29 am)

    The worst thing is to feel that as a photographer I am benefiting from someone else’s tragedy. This idea haunts me. It’s something I have to reckon with every day because I know that if I ever allowed genuine compassion to be overtaken by personal ambition, I will have sold my soul. The only way I can justify my role is to have respect for the other person’s predicament. The extent to which I do that is the extent to which I become accepted by the other; and to that extent, I can accept myself.

    mrericx

    (July 28, 2016 - 5:55 pm)

    I have a bad feeling that the picture above was been photoshopped & not a real one. I could see the lady holding her dead husband is brighter than the background area & the shadow behind her is just a special effect. You could notice it.

    Jacco Groen

    (July 29, 2016 - 3:26 am)

    A vert good article about wrong doings of journalists who abuse their power to influence people… instead of bringing the truth.

    Allan B. Cabardo

    (July 29, 2016 - 3:34 am)

    Great article. Thank you!

    Rem Zamora

    (July 29, 2016 - 7:41 pm)

    How was the photo of the Inquirer on July 24, 2016 deceiving?

    -Rem Zamora
    Photo Editor
    Philippine Daily Inquirer

      benign0

      (July 29, 2016 - 7:50 pm)

      The author explained that deception in the context of other instances of similar “photojournalism” throughout history. Read the article.

        Rem Zamora

        (July 29, 2016 - 7:58 pm)

        @benigno
        I read the whole article mind you. The article said, “The President called out the broadsheet as overly dramatic in its depiction of Siargo’s demise. I, for one, believe that there may have been a shade of deceptive photojournalism from the Inquirer there and I am glad that the President called out the Inquirer on that one. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. The problem is, things are not always what they seem. While photojournalism is a useful tool to capture and record events, it can also be a powerful weapon to advance an agenda or an ideology. As people continue to get better access to information, I am hoping that more people will begin to exercise more critical thinking instead of easily succumbing to intellectual malleability from deceptive media and photojournalism.”

        The role of photojournalism is to show what happened in reality and to cause change and move people. The photo is what really happened. No editing, no directing.

        The problem with the facebook generation of today is people do not believe in real and perfect photos. This is reality. This is photojournalism. We do not direct people and subjects.

        The fact that many were affected and moved by this real photo simply means that it was that powerful. We are hoping this will cause change. Do not attack the photo when you do not know what really happened.

        It is as real as it can get. No politics, no bullshit. Photojournalists and news photographers do not have agendas. We simply show you what is in front of the camera.

          Rem Zamora

          (July 29, 2016 - 8:02 pm)

          “The Inquirer photo that President Duterte referred to, I believe, is no different from the examples given that illustrate media and photojournalism deception. In the case of the Inquirer photo, it was originally published on July 24, 2016 – a day before the President’s first SONA. The article was made to coincide with the SONA and to deliver the Catholic Church’s message of its criticism on the many killings of suspected drug users and pushers that is going on.”

          It was published on that day because that was the news of that day. It simply coincided with the President’s SONA. We would have published it, let say, on a Wednesday, if it happened on a Tuesday. that is how newspapers work.

        benign0

        (July 29, 2016 - 9:45 pm)

        Mr. Zamora: As the author said, “The problem is, things are not always what they seem.”

        From a different perspective you see the full story as we’ve exhibited in a subsequent article, Sensationalised photo of ‘extrajudicial killing’ victim splashed on Inquirer front page.

        Pan out from the close up and you’ll see a different story. Look across other snaps across the full length of the timeframe involved and disturbing questions are raised about the nature of the circumstances surrounding the situation when the photos were taken.

        See? You guys do your job “reporting”, and we bloggers investigate other angles surrounding your “news” reports. It’s a media ecosystem you and I are a part of.

          rem zamora

          (July 29, 2016 - 10:41 pm)

          I saw that article as well. What were the questions? Drone shot? Is the author familiar of the place? If he/she is, you’d know that there’s an overpass which allows the photographer to have a top shot.

          A good photojournalists does not only shoot from one angle. But the public will only see the one that is published.

          Time frames don’t add up? Again if you’re familiar with how crime police works, you’d know that not all policemen can process the crime scene. They have to wait for the SOCO, which for this particular scenario, was still in a different place, processing another killing. The police perimeter was placed so as not to disturb the crime scene. Even the photographers and media practitioners we’re not allowed inside. That is the practice. There have been instances where a body has been found yet policemen had to wait for hours for the SOCO to arrive.

          Maybe you shouldn’t question the veracity of the photograph but also question the knowledge of the writer of the article as well.

          These things happen and there is nothing irregular with the shot nor the circumstances that surround the event.

          benign0

          (July 29, 2016 - 10:50 pm)

          Mr. Zamora: If the police were waiting for SOCO as you point out, why did they allow the crime scene to be contaminated?

          rem zamora

          (July 29, 2016 - 10:58 pm)

          @benigno contaminated by whom? by the wife? i don’t know. maybe you should ask the police.

          benign0

          (July 29, 2016 - 11:38 pm)

          So there you go, Mr Zamora. Turns out neither of us really knows shit, do we? That highlights the point I made earlier and what the author asserts in the above piece — that “things are not always what they seem.”

          It’s not all about just the photo, sir. You need to take into account the full context, because the full context is always relevant to your readers/audience. What you perceive from your side as producer of your content may not always be aligned to what the audience perceives.

          R U BLIND ?

          (July 30, 2016 - 12:10 am)

          MISSING the bigger picture does prove that Filipino’s really do not know SHIT about what is happening.
          NEVERMIND the erosion of ‘CIVIL(not HUMAN)RIGHTS’ that are ingrained in the law of the land, but also the targets of the newly elected NEANDERTHAL are not the people doing the MOST damage to the country.Street level drug dealers are pretty low on the list of culprits actually.
          The SCAMS that are really ruinging the economy are FAR worse in terms of damage to the country and yet Duterte does nothing about the Speculators in the electricity pricing fixes.The stock-market front-running and the plundering of the GOCC’s that have not been audited in ten years.
          These three are just three problems among many that are way more damaging to the health of the country BUT Duterte seems to like killing people and rallying people behind the practice as the willingly relinquish their ‘CIVIL rights’ at the same time.

          Filipino’s are among the dumbest of the dumb for allowing this to happen, but they have chosen to be a part of the problem, rather the solution.

          Johnny Saint

          (July 30, 2016 - 12:14 am)

          Mr Zamora,

          Pardon me for intruding, but ‘benign0’ is correct that the crime scene in the photo you published was ‘contaminated.’

          The PNP procedure on conducting a ‘crime scene investigation’ requires the police officers who first arrive on the scene to

          Immediately…conduct a preliminary evaluation of the crime scene. This evaluation should include the scope of the incident, emergency services required, scene safety concerns, administration of life saving measures, and establishment of security and control of the scene.

          These ‘first responders’ are required to ‘secure and preserve the crime scene by cordoning the area to prevent unauthorized entry of persons.’ Allowing the victim’s wife/partner into the cordon BEFORE the SOCO team even began the investigation violates security and contaminates the scene.

          benign0

          (July 30, 2016 - 8:47 am)

          @JohnnySaint: FYI, Mr. Zamora replied to your above comment here. He must have posted it in the wrong sub-thread.

    Rem Zamora

    (July 29, 2016 - 8:04 pm)

    “In the Inquirer photo’s case, I can understand if the photo was featured for an Opinion-Editorial piece but being featured as News makes me question the motive behind it. Journalistic dishonesty would make people end up being casualties in the end, I believe. I am glad the President called out the Inquirer on this.”

    The photo is a news photo. It showed what happened the night before. That is the reason why there are no photos in an opinion or editorial piece, We are photojournalists. We show news as it happens. No bias, no agenda, just the photo, as it is.

      benign0

      (July 29, 2016 - 9:48 pm)

      I understand that when you talk about the photo on its own. Trouble is, it was made part of a bigger frame or context consisting of the other elements that accompanied it on the front cover of that Inquirer 24th July edition.

    benign0

    (July 30, 2016 - 8:58 am)

    @RemZamora, you wrote here as follows:

    Sir Johnny saint, whether the crime scene is contaminated or not, and to preserve that is not the job of the photojournalist. That is the job of the policemen. Our job is to report what happened and to show the truth. Mr Raffy Lerma just did that. And was able to capture a beautiful yet gory reality. The fact that a lot were affected and moved by the image means Mr lerma did his job.

    @Benigno I don’t know about you, but I do know my shit about photography and photojournalism. And we do know that we don’t have control to reactions of people like you. But to question the authenticity and integrity of the image, when in fact I know that is the truth is beyond words. I do not base my conclusion on personal interpretation but on facts. No way be it’s time to ask yourself how you perceived the image and whether it is based on facts or just what you think are facts and what other thinks also.

    In your comment above addressed to myself and Johnny Saint, you demonstrate how you miss the bigger point. It is the overall authenticity of the message encompassing not just the photo itself but the whole context behind and surrounding it that we are bringing to question on the basis of the overall circumstances of its production.

    This is why the circumstances around how this scene came to be set up for this photo shoot is relevant and, within that sphere of relevance, falls the contribution of possible police impropriety in the management of the crime scene.

    In short, whether deliberate or not, there is evidence of inadvertent (to give you guys the benefit of the doubt) collusion between the police and the “photojournalists” at the scene. You may plead “not my responsibility” as far as police conduct, but in the overall scheme of things, the authenticity is suspect as a result of this collective play.

      benign0

      (July 30, 2016 - 9:10 am)

      Furthermore, the attitude that “journalists” are not responsible beyond their reporting job has been shown to expose a melee they are “reporting” on to potentially fatal outcomes. This was proven back in 2010 when media personnel behaviour resulted in a loss of control over a hostage situation that led to the deaths of 9 Hong Kong tourists.

    G Gerez

    (July 30, 2016 - 12:34 pm)

    Oh, well when I saw that pic.. I was like..o crap the yellow media strikes again..and when I found out it was from Inquirer, I wasn’t surprised. So when President Duterte mentioned it during his SONA, I was like..Go Pres burn them! LOL!

    D. Mayo

    (July 31, 2016 - 2:07 am)

    The Inquirer’s manipulative ways have been known to treat news as malleable material it can twist and turn here and there in order to forward its own version of the truth all for the sake of people known to care so little for the common good.
    While the Inquirer has fooled many through the years, it is always a relief to know that there are those who are on to this kind of deception and are bringing it to light. May their tribe increase.

    Danny Elfman

    (July 31, 2016 - 4:26 pm)

    A great and shining example of PDI’s photojournalism and editorial excellence:

    http://www.imediaethics.org/ckfinder/userfiles/images/vicente.JPG

    haji

    (July 31, 2016 - 7:27 pm)

    do have to know the context of that picture to know that the philippines has become a killing fields?

    Beta Ray Bill

    (August 1, 2016 - 11:43 pm)

    Anyone seen the headline for today’s PDI issue? Nuff said.

    Ivar Kors

    (August 2, 2016 - 12:22 am)

    The real issue here is not whether the photograph was doctored or not. Personally I couldn’t care less about that. What I do care about, is the kind of editorial decision-making the paper has consistently displayed since it turned into an attack dog for the Aquinos and the puppet masters behind them. I do not blame the photographers for what they shot. Hell, I’d probably do the very same thing had I been in their position. I put the accountability for all of these anti-Duterte crap via poverty porn and human rights bullshit to the publisher and editor-in-chief of that TABLOID. Them, and the lemmings who continue to lap up their pro-Aquino propaganda who conveniently turn a blind eye to human rights violations during their term and are now suddenly SO INVOLVED in it. Like one commenter here has said, the very people these so-called human rights advocates are speaking for are the ones who put the current president in power. On one side you have these “poor” victims of “EJKs” and on another, you have the same people belonging in the same social class heaving a sigh of relief because the drug menace that hounded their community for so long is now in the spotlight. They knew the risks when they voted for Duterte. He is exactly what the Philippines deserves.

    playamoth

    (April 1, 2017 - 12:46 am)

    It is what it is. A spade is a spade. It’s a powerful photo. That guy is dead, the wife is grieving and you’re worried about people’s perception and the Inquirer’s motive? Have your brain checked.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *