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April 04, 1993

On March 23, The Times' front page carried a large color photograph labeled: "Outlook in Israel." The photo showed two men, one wearing a keffiyah, driving a car with a shattered windshield. The caption referred to a story on Page 12 about the stabbing of five Israeli high school students and their principal by an Arab terrorist in Jerusalem.

As you undoubtedly know, pictures, and especially front-page color pictures, make a far more powerful impact on readers than text. All the readers of The Times saw that picture, although only a comparative few read the story on Page 12.

There is much truth in the cliche: "A picture is worth a thousand words." Unfortunately, in this case, the picture served to give an outrageously false impression to your readers. The real story was covered by the article on Page 12. The Israeli high school students and their principal were the victims of a shockingly bloodthirsty attack by a man who sought to disrupt the peace talks through the use of terror. The image of a shattered windshield in this peculiar context is especially galling because, as you know, rocks thrown at cars have been a favorite weapon of the intifada.

I am aware that there is a tendency to seek dramatic pictures as well as special interest in "man bites dog" stories, but to place this misleading photograph so prominently on the front page was outrageous by any standards.


Consul for Press and Information

Israeli Consulate

Los Angeles

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