The average American is exposed to more than 5,000 visually mediated images each day. Today, more than 350 million pictures are uploaded to Facebook each day and another 400 million pictures find their way to Twitter. In 2012, Instagram hosted more than 5 billion images. In recent years, more than 11 million digital cameras and 72 million iPhones were sold.
So, what’s the point of all this? Increasingly, digital images online and in the press have become susceptible to manipulation based on individual and cultural bias. The ways in which we perceive everything from ideal body shapes to major world events are affected by the images we see.
Exposure to manipulated images in the media normalizes the conditions in which we experience the world around us and our ability to distinguish fact from fiction. Ultimately, the reality of digital manipulation changes, forever, the role photography plays in society and the public perception of international affairs.
My research into the perceptions and attitudes of photographers toward digitally altered news images began more than a decade ago. At that time, during the start of the war in Iraq, I realized how implicit and explicit bias toward images shape public opinion of world events.
Public trust of international news coverage, especially visuals, is often reliant on familiarity, cultural bias and magnitude of events and issues. Bias signifies an attitude or mindset that can be explicit or implicit, favorable or unfavorable.
Unfavorable negative bias toward the veracity of images in an international context limits the course of discourse on substantive issue. I propose that bias extends beyond the physical altering of images for whatever motive, be it self-gain or ideological partisanship.
Today, we must learn to identify different forms of bias in visual reportage in terms of credibility, veracity, and accountability.
Photo manipulation contributes only a fraction, albeit a significant one, to unfavorable bias toward the mainstream media in reporting foreign affairs. Other factors such as visual censorship by news organizations, the practice of hiring in-country freelance photographers to offset the downsizing and staff reductions at U.S. news organizations, poor ethical standards and judgment, the increasing influence of spin-doctors and public relations specialists, mobile internet platforms, and social media such as Twitter and YouTube.
In addition, the proliferation of faster, cheaper, and easier to use digital camera and video technologies such as smart phones, prosumer DSLR, video cameras, and tablets enable the dissemination of images across multiple platforms without editorial oversight. The pervasive, permanence and ubiquity of these realities signify the potential to bias the public perception of international affairs in unfavorable ways.
To be continued......
 Lester, Paul Martin. Visual Communication: Images with Messages. 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishers. 1995.
 Griffith, Adam. "Crunching the Numbers: Four Insights We Can Glean from Camera Sales Data." PetaPixel. 18 Dec. 2013. Online. <http://petapixel.com/2013/12/18/crunching-numbers-4-insights-camera-sales-data/>.
 Staff. "Global Apple IPhone Sales Q3 2007-Q1 2014." Statista. 2014. Online 30 Mar. 2014. <http://www.statista.com/statistics/263401/global-apple-iphone-sales-since-3rd-quarter-2007/>.
 Farid, Hany. "Photo Tampering throughout History." Four and Six Technologies. Online. Mar. 2014. <http://www.fourandsix.com/photo-tampering-history/>