NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Yiddish newspaper in New York apologized on Monday for doctoring a photograph of President Barack Obama and his national security team watching the mission against Osama bin Laden by editing out the women in the room, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Di Tzeitung explained in a statement that it has a long-standing editorial policy to never publish photographs of women, which it says is in keeping with the “laws of modesty” of its Orthodox Jewish readership.
“The readership of the Tzeitung believe that women should be appreciated for who they are and what they do, not for what they look like, and the Jewish laws of modesty are an expression of respect for women, not the opposite,” the statement said.
In the picture taken by White House photographer Pete Souza on May 1, showing the president and his national security team seemingly transfixed as they watch the mission to kill the al Qaeda leader, Clinton is a focal point, seated, with one hand clasped to her mouth.
In Di Tzeitung’s rendition, Clinton vanished without a trace, replaced by the digitally reconstituted left shoulder of Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough, who she had otherwise obscured.
Audrey Tomason, the director for counterterrorism and the only other woman in the picture, also was removed.
The White House distributed the photograph with the standard proviso that it not be “manipulated in any way.”
Di Tzeitung, which means “The Newspaper” in Yiddish, said its photo editor, “in his haste”, did not read the proviso.
“The guy got carried away in the euphoria of the victory and he wanted to show what he could do in Photoshop,” Albert Friedman, the paper’s editor, said by telephone, adding that Clinton was mentioned prominently in the text of the story.
“In retrospect, we apologize for any misunderstanding that this might have caused,” the paper’s statement said. “We should not have published the altered picture, and we have conveyed our regrets and apologies to the White House and to the State Department.”
The newspaper added that it respected Clinton for her “unique capabilities, talents and compassion for all” and that she had served public office with “great distinction.”
Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Peter Bohan