As Black Lives Matter and George Floyd Protests raged across the country, protesters in Seattle formed a six-block Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), a part-commune that has been declared a no-police zone.
Some media outlets have reported CHAZ as a "protest" society with food and supply tents, spray-painted graffiti on the walls that read out "Property of People of Seattle," screenings of movies that explore racial inequality in the U.S. and speakers calling out for police reform and racial justice.
Others have reported CHAZ as being overrun with armed protesters, claiming that people armed with AR15 assault rifles and other weapons have taken over the role of the police and are conducting patrols in the area.
Fox News is one such media outlet that published a series of articles on how the Seattle 'autonomous zone' has armed guards and local businesses are being threatened with extortion, and how the Seattle Police has been urged to take back control from "brazen, anti-cop anarchists."
However, social media users were quick to notice that the images in all the Fox News articles had one thing in common – they all featured the same armed white individual wearing a bulletproof vest and holding an assault weapon. After some digging, users discovered that Fox News had photoshopped the image of the armed guard into all of its images to portray a more "dangerous" situation in the self-declared autonomous zone.
Digitally Altered Photos from Getty Images
"Fox News is photoshopping an armed guard into pictures about the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone to make it look more dangerous than it is," pointed out a Twitter user with images of the photoshopped armed guard.
Although in the tweet, the image on the left appears to be the original photo, sourced from the stock image website Getty Images, the other two images on the right have been digitally altered.
One image shows the armed man standing in front of what appears to be a smashed retail store, and the other makes it appear as though he was standing in front of a sign declaring "You are now entering Free Cap Hill." A Reddit user also shared the links to the original pictures from Getty Images as evidence.
The media's portrayal of CHAZ has become a political flashpoint for conservatives nationally and a target of tweets by President Donald Trump, who has branded the demonstrators "domestic terrorists" and threatened federal action unless local officials "take back" the area.