Did AP Photo Accidentally Point Gun at Cruz’s Head?

By Terence P. Jeffrey | June 22, 2015 | 4:03pm EDT
The Huffington Post presented these two AP photos, which photographer Charlie Neibergall took at CrossRoads Shooting Sports in Johnston, Iowa, in its story about the controversy that has arisen over AP's publication of the photos. (Screen capture)

When the Associated Press published some photos on Saturday that showed a large image of a gun pointed directly at Sen. Ted Cruz’s head was this outrageously provocative act accidental or deliberate?

The Associated Press says that its gun-pointed-directly-at-Cruz’s-head photos “were not intended to portray Sen. Cruz in a negative light.”

“Presidential candidate Ted Cruz, was shown in a series of 14 photos taken by an Associated Press photographer at a ‘Celebrate the 2nd Amendment’ event Saturday afternoon, held at a shooting range in Johnston, Iowa,” said AP media relations director Paul Colford in a statement published by Politico. “Five of the photos published by AP included images of guns seen on a wall in the background so that it appeared a pistol was pointed at Sen. Cruz’s head. The images were not intended to portray Sen. Cruz in a negative light."

Leave aside, for a moment, what kind of “light” the AP intended to portray Cruz in with these photos. Can a rational human being, looking at them, conclude anything but that they are outrageously provocative? No.

As AP’s own media relations director said: In these photos “it appeared a pistol was pointed at Sen. Cruz’s head.”

So why did AP publish photos of its own making in which, according to AP, “it appeared a pistol was pointed” at a U.S. senator’s head?

A search of online news sites shows some other photos that the same AP photographer took of Ted Cruz on the same day at the same event in Iowa.

This screen capture shows an AP Photo of Ted Cruz just after he had entered CrossRoads Shooting Sports.

For example, Yahoo India carries an AP photo that shows Cruz immediately after he walked through the door of CrossRoads Shooting Sports in Johnston, Iowa. Cruz is carrying a Styrofoam mug, a woman is walking beside him---and there are a number of guns mounted on the wall behind. But, in this AP photo, none of the guns “appeared to be pointed at Sen. Cruz’s head.”

Another AP photo from Cruz’s appearance at CrossRoads—this one on the website of KIRO TV in Seattle--shows Cruz speaking in front of an American flag. In this photo, there is no gun at all.

Three AP photos of Cruz’s appearance at CrossRoads were posted on the website of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, accompanying an AP story about Republican candidates speaking at the Faith and Freedom Coalition in Washington D.C.

The first shows Cruz talking to an 11-year-old girl at the shooting range. The second shows Cruz shooting a rifle at a target at the range. The third shows Cruz with a sign on the wall behind him that includes the image of a pistol. This pistol does appear to be pointing toward Cruz’s head, but it is not positioned--like the pistols in two other AP photos--so that it is immediately adjacent to Cruz’s head and pointing directly into it.

This screen capture shows an AP Photo of Ted Cruz speaking in front of an American flag at CrossRoads Shooting Sports.

Yet another AP photo posted at Yahoo Philippines shows Cruz standing between two framed posters hanging on the wall at CrossRoads. The poster to Cruz’s right in this photo shows a man holding a pistol and aiming it. The pistol is pointing at Cruz. The poster to Cruz’s left shows four hands holding pistols. Two are pointing at Cruz and two are pointing away.

This photo is provocative—but more subtly than two others.

In the story it published this morning about the controversy over these AP photos, the Huffington Post reproduced two of them. One of these shows Cruz in profile with the large image of pistol pointing directly into his forehead right above his eyes. The other shows Cruz looking to the right of the camera—with the same large pistol pointing directly into his temple.

There is nothing subtle about these photos.

It is not reasonable to conclude these photos were produced and published by accident--particularly since it is manifest that AP produced many other photos recording Cruz's visit to Crossroads Shooting Sports that did not depict a large pistol aimed directly at his head.

As other commentators have pointed out--including our colleagues at Newsbusters--the AP has in the past published photos of President Barack Obama taken at angles that make circular objects behind him appear to frame his head like a halo.

This screen capture shows an AP Photo of Ted Cruz speaking with two posters on the wall behind him at CrossRoads Shooting Sports.

Were these photos, seemingly beatifying our left-wing president, made and published by accident? Probably not.

But such photos—if biased—present benign images.

There is nothing benign about photos in which--as the AP itself puts it--“it appeared a pistol was pointed at Sen. Cruz’s head.”

They are a profoundly ghoulish example of liberal media bias.


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