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Reuters Uses Lies to Defend Their Photographer Over Disputed NRA Show Child Photo

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The NRA convention is not only a great opportunity for Gun Nation to ogle, fondle, and shop acres of firearms and related gear, it’s also a happy hunting ground for photographers looking to get lots of great photos of people of all ages who are doing those things. As you might imagine, lots of those photos are later used by the corporate media and others to illustrate their stories about crime, mass shootings, the allegedly deplorable easy access Americans have to firearms, yadda, yadda, yadda.

One of the photos taken in Indianapolis by Reuters’ Evelyn Hockstein has resulted in enough blowback that the news agency felt the need to defend their photographer. The only problem is they did it using some outright lies.

The photo above is one of a few that were taken of six-year-old Hudson Eckart and used by a number of outlets. One of them was the UK’s Daily Mail in their breathless story about — OMG! — children holding (non-working) guns, titled Very young guns! Kids as young as six handle real firearms at the NRA convention as America is on course for the deadliest year on record with 469 teens and children dead from gun violence so far this year.

Oh, the humanity!

Yes, well, as Fox News reported, little Hudson’s grandfather, who took him to the NRA show isn’t happy about the pic of Hudson. He called . . .

…the photo of his 6-year-old grandchild aiming the firearm toward the camera “a set-up.”

“What I noticed was [the photographer] was moving around so that whichever direction [his grandson] was, she tried to get in front of him,” Eckart told Fox News Digital in a phone interview.

The photo of Eckart’s grandson has since been used by outlets for articles highlighting how often children die by gunfire in the U.S. …

The photographer, Evelyn Hockstein, allegedly told the boy to “look at her” as he handled one of the firearms, Eckart said, citing what his grandson told him. The photo captured a shot of the young boy looking at the camera straight-on while appearing to point the gun at the lens. 

Grandpa Eckart was obviously right there while Hockstein was taking the pics. You can see him in one of the photos included in the Daily Mail’s story. And she would have had to talk to the child’s grandfather to get the information in the photo credits.

The Eckarts concede that Hockstein ID’d herself.

The photographer did identify herself as being a Reuters employee, but Eckart said he was under the “impression that she … was there on behalf of the NRA” due to her “chit-chatting” with him. Eckart provided the photojournalist with his name as well as his grandson’s name and age, assuming the photos would be used for an NRA collage or something similar. 

He assumed…poorly.

The young boy’s father, Nathan Eckart, added that the photographer “set the photo up so that it looked like [his son] took the gun and was aiming it at her face.” Nathan Eckart did not attend the NRA event, but he and his wife said they are working to get the photos removed from Reuters’ website and from the news articles that included them. 

Good luck with that. Reuters made the photo of little Hudson the first one in its slide show of scenes from the annual NRA convention. And, of course, as night follows day, there was this . . .

The heat over the photo was enough that the news agency felt the need to defend Hockstein and her photojournalistic practices when contacted by Fox News.

A Reuters spokesperson told Fox News Digital on Thursday that the company rejects “any suggestion of wrongdoing by the Reuters photojournalist covering the NRA convention in Indianapolis.” The spokesperson also said of the Eckart family that “it is untrue that she asked a child to look at her” to get the shot of the young boy pointing a gun at the camera.

“We stand by our photographs, which are in the public interest and meet our standards under the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles,” the spokesperson said. 

“Our photographer was at all times wearing a press badge and clearly introduced herself to adults as a photojournalist working for Reuters before taking any pictures of children,” the spokesperson added. “She took these pictures in a section of the convention designated for media, where signs informed attendees that they might be photographed by the press, and also obtained consent of all photographed from parents or guardians, not children.” 

Reuters said the company removed the names of the children from its photos as a “courtesy.” 

Some of that is unquestionably true. We’re sure Hockstein was wearing a media badge as were all media members who were credentialed to be there (us included). We have no way of knowing if she announced herself before taking the photos, but it’s unlikely. She probably did that after taking the pics, but who knows? In any event, it should have been perfectly clear to Grandpa Eckart that this was a media photographer taking photos of little Hudson.

As for the last part of the Reuters statement, that’s the part that’s clearly a lie. There was no section of the show that was “designated for the media.” And there were no signs posted telling convention-goers they might be photographed by the press.

NRA Director of Media Relations Amy Hunter pushed back against that assertion and told Fox News Digital that “there are no signs that say attendees might get pictured by the press or members of the media and the NRA has never had a ‘designated media section’ on the exhibit floor.

That’s never been part of any NRA convention we’ve ever attended and it isn’t clear why Reuters felt the need to concoct that obviously phony story.

All of that said, if you’re attending a newsworthy semi-public event like the NRA show, with literally tens of thousands of people, virtually all of whom are carrying cameras, you can’t be terribly surprised when someone takes your picture. Kinda like this one . . .

Or, well, this one . . .

Full disclosure: I worked for Reuters for two years in the early 2000’s in a non-editorial capacity. Just so you know.

 



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