Accusations of Staged Photo Surrounding El Chapo’s Son’s House
VICE has responded to allegations that they intentionally staged a photograph showing an unfired bullet lodged in a wall outside the residence of one of El Chapo’s sons. The controversy erupted on Tuesday after VICE World News published a story entitled “Inside El Chapo’s Son’s House After a Deadly Gunfight,” which detailed the Mexican military’s early morning raid leading to the capture of the cartel leader.
Unfired Bullet or Dud Cartridge?
The article featured multiple images depicting the aftermath of the violent confrontation, including one that supposedly showcased a “high-caliber bullet embedded in one of the gates outside Ovidio Guzmán’s house in Jesús María, Sinaloa.” However, closer inspection reveals that the photograph displayed an unfired round or dud cartridge jammed into the hole in the metal wall. It is evident that the bullet, including its casing, primer, projectile, and gunpowder, could not have been discharged from a rifle as implied by the image’s caption.
Twitter Storm Erupts Over the Alleged Staged Photo
Prominent Twitter users swiftly seized upon the photograph and its accompanying caption, deriding and taunting the news outlet for either manipulating the image or displaying a lack of knowledge regarding ammunition. The attorney Damin Toell humorously remarked that VICE’s report unveiled a more significant story: that the Mexican military employed futuristic weapons capable of firing an entire bullet, casing and all. YouTube and Twitch partner Donut Operator admitted his disbelief at the inclusion of such an image in a VICE article, prompting him to fact-check its veracity. TPUSA contributor and streamer Isabel Brown sardonically questioned whether anyone would inform VICE of their apparent mishap.
Ridicule from Unexpected Quarters
Archway Defense, a combat training company based in Minnesota, dismissed the photograph as “laughable” at first, mistakenly believing it to be a meme targeting VICE News. The Hodge Twins, a conservative comedy duo, playfully queried whether the reporter had inserted the unfired bullet into the hole for the picture. Even the National Rifle Association (NRA) took the opportunity to highlight the news outlet’s error.
The photo’s caption was eventually revised to clarify that the bullet was “found within the bullet hole” on the gate. In correspondence with Fox News Digital, Britta Galanis from VICE reiterated the authenticity of the image, stating that the bullet had been discovered in its original location, with no alteration by the photographer. Galanis emphasized the tremendous risk taken by the VICE World News team, who had ventured to the scene of a ten-hour gun battle between the Mexican military and cartel gunmen. She affirmed that their reporting on drug trafficking and cartel violence in the region remained unwavering.
It is worth noting that journalists have encountered difficulties distinguishing between bullets and their characteristics in the past. In 2014, during his coverage of the Ferguson riots, Huffington Post journalist Ryan Reilly inadvertently misidentified orange ear plugs as rubber bullets, prompting ridicule and subsequent apologies.
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