Faith has outweighed fact at Der Tzitung, a Hasidic newspaper based in Brooklyn, New York.
The ultra-Orthodox Jewish publication ran a doctored copy of the iconic “Situation Room Photo” last Friday – you know, the one taken of President Barack Obama and his national security team during the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound.
Scrubbed from the picture: the two women in the room.
It’s as if Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, with her hand clasped over her mouth, and Audrey Tomason, director of counterterrorism, weren’t there and weren’t part of history.
The news of this broke Friday when Shmarya Rosenberg, 52, posted a quick piece on his blog Failed Messiah.
Rosenberg, of St. Paul, Minnesota, says he wasn't suprised by the photo doctoring and only posted something about it because "it was a slow news day."
A former ultra-Orthodox Jew, Rosenberg has been writing about the ultra-Orthodox community - mostly crime and what he dubbed "strange media" - for seven years. He says the newspapers in that community have beecome "increasingly strange with their censorship of women's faces and women's bodies" over the past few years. He says you used to see photos of rabbis with their wives, then there was a time when the women were blurred and now they're just not there.
According to Rabbi Jason Miller, a blogger who picked up the story Sunday for The Jewish Week, Der Tzitung does not include images of women in print “because it could be considered sexually suggestive.”
The White House, meantime, attached this disclaimer to the photo when it was released:
"This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House."