TODAY   |  April 18, 2013

Is it OK for news outlets to doctor graphic photos?

TODAY’s Professionals Star Jones and Donny Deutsch, joined by Abby Huntsman of HuffPost Live, discuss the topics making headlines today, including the controversy the New York Daily News caused by doctoring a photo of a Boston bombing victim to make it less graphic.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we're back now at 8:35 with "today's professionals" here to tackle today's hottest topics. star jones , donny deutsch and nancy huntsman. we'll call it let's go to the videotape. in towns and cities across this country, there are an incredible number of surveillance cameras mounted by businesses and the towns and cities themselves. now it appears that surveillance video may play a crucial role in the solving of the boston marathon bombing. but still, some people don't like the concept of being spied upon constantly. how does this investigation in this bombing weigh into that conversation?

>> i think a lot of people are going to have to rethink their privacy rights . it's just a matter of fact in our lives right now. there are cameras everywhere. and you cannot operate on public property , on public streets thinking that anything you do is private. and you have no expectation of privacy in that regard.

>> where do you draw the line? this reminds me almost of a sci-fi tom cruise movie where we get to the point where our every move is monitored by the government. where do we draw the line?

>> well, let's talk about that line. if video like this placed around the city can help law enforcement quickly solve a crime and prevent even other crimes from being committed, is that a fair trade with people in the general public losing some of their privacy?

>> here's where we draw the line in our homes. other than that, as far as myself, as a human being , as a father, i want cameras everywhere. this is the world we live in. and by the way --

>> we also live in a free --

>> nobody's saying it's not free. you're not breaking the law , you've got no problem. you're not setting bombs, you've got no problem. and this is as we continue in this world and this is never going to change. this is a reality and it's a great reality.

>> and often times when i was prosecuting a case, i would remember saying to the jury, i wish we had a videotape of what occurred on the street that day. well, we do now have videotape of what occurs on a public street that day. and they can piece together in order to aid in the investigation. your rights only go as far as the next person's begins.

>> and just a couple of recent examples. the carolina investigation in 2010 of the failed car bomb in time square was helped enormously by video. the bombings in mumbai, london, the craigslist killer was captured in part because of video captured at the scene. so are towns and cities going to be putting more and more of these cameras up?

>> it's about finding the right balance because technology's advancing so quickly. whether it's surveillance cameras , drones, it's so important that the public is educated about it and that our public officials find that right balance so we do not infringe on our civil liberties .

>> we're all ideologues until it affects us. i don't want cameras until a loved one of yours is injured and a camera helps solve a problem. i don't know if there's a balance.

>> the issue is what we do with the videotape that we don't use for investigative purposes and that the aclu is correct in saying we do have to have those safeguards in place.

>> let me move on, it's a related topic. there was a photograph taken in the aftermath of the boston bombing by the " boston globe " photographer used in several publications around the country. let me try to describe what it shows. it shows a woman who has been severely injured in that bombing on the ground being cared for by someone, a volunteer or just a bystand bystander. in the original photo , the woman can be seen to have an horrific leg injury. "the daily news" put that picture on the front page of the newspaper and they altered the photo so it looks like there is no severe leg injury. actually all you can see would be her pants covering what i've seen the original, covering that injury. is that a good idea?

>> i've been asking myself all week, what -- myself. and i know others have asked themselves the same question. what has happened to honest quality journalism anymore? i feel like people want the truth. if it comes down to photo shopping, find another photo .

>> you know, i'm a little less of a purist. that horrible leg injury and then they blur the leg injury. not too different. if that is the most demonstrative photo of what happened there and you can somehow in respect to the person in the photo or the audience get it across --

>> but blurring is different than adding something to it.

>> this is altered, covered --

>> they didn't put a blue dot over it.

>> i'm going to make myself old here, it's going to be a lot more understanding, forgiving, and okay with this a little bit of a blurry, no pun intended, take on journalism.

>> i think abby's point is a good point. there were hundreds of photographs to choose from. if you don't like this particular photo because it's too graphic. and i'm going to read something from the "new york daily news" in a second, pick another photo .

>> if i'm the editor of the paper and i think that photo to my audience captures what happened there.

>> but if you have to photo shop it?

>> it's a hard word. it's the same as blur.

>> they didn't cover. they built in pants on a woman who lost her pants because the leg gash was so horrific, it blew the pants off. that's a huge difference.

>> the daily news edited that photo out of sensitivity to the victims, families, and survivors. there were far more gory photos the paper chose not to run and frankly, i think the rest of the media should have been as sensitive as the "daily news."

>> i agree. i think we live in the world. the definition of the word journalism is evolving.

>> there were so many photos.

>> i think there's a confusion between blurring something, putting a headline over an offensive section and putting in pants where pants don't exist.

>> me being confused, anything new there?

>> blurry and altering are two