Home > graphics, journalism industry, weekly JOU4342C post > The Dangers of Google Search

The Dangers of Google Search

Tuesday, the Independent in London devoted its entire front page to the death of the a man suspected for Nazi war crimes during World War II. The man was supposed to stand trial for the deaths of 400,000 Jews at a Nazi death camp in Belzac but died last week.

Instead of finding a photo of the actual accused war criminal (there are two fairly famous ones that several other newspapers and reputable websites, including one that was moved by the Associated Press), someone at The Independent — either unknowingly or without understanding the implications — decided to use a photo of a 50-year-old Croatian actor from Karlovac from the 2007 film, The Living and The Dead.

The photo, which was clearly a film still (in color, no less), was altered and used without attribution or clarification, giving a casual reader the indication that actor Ljubomir Jurkovic was actually a war criminal.

The Guardian, which is certainly taking delight in this professional faux pas of its competitor reports:

The Independent was today taking the view that it had done nothing wrong and was said to have combed academic websites before using the picture.

But a quick Google search for “Samuel Kunz” might hold the explanation. Among reams of pictures, many of them of the veteran Nazi who died at home in Bonn last week, there are the pictures of Jurkovic in Ustasha uniform, described as “Samuel Kunz as a Nazi guard”, although he bears no resemblance to the man in the other wartime pictures said to be Kunz.

The Croatian newspaper reported that it had contacted the Independent in London, but that after telling staff there about the error the paper would not take nor return any more calls.

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