Is image manipulation ethical?

cnn vs usa today

I was catching up on breaking news this morning when I noticed something interesting.

I recently downloaded the CNN app for my Windows Phone (finally starting to write more apps for that platform!) and was scrolling through the Christopher Dorner/ LAPD shooting story that shared some breaking details this morning. I was satisfied with the coverage, although I did pick out some typos in another story, but it did suffice for my morning news consumption. I was surprised to see, however, when I returned to my trusted USA Today app that I’ve used for several months. The picture of Dorner was exactly the same, yet strikingly different.

Home screen. Scroll down. CNN- loading..

Yes, it was the same picture, but definitely enhanced with a darker look and feel. This case sounds familiar. Remember the O.J. Simpson Newsweek and Time magazine from Media Ethics? I sure do.

ojsimpson12

In both cases, I would argue that these men don’t deserve much sympathy. However, is it ethical from a mass communications standpoint to deceive our audience my manipulating images?

Some food for though. Let me know what you think below!

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