- The Washington Times - Monday, June 22, 2015

The Associated Press addressed a series of photos Monday following conservative outrage over the positioning of a gun poster next to Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz that appeared to show the barrel of a large handgun pointed directly at his forehead.

Mr. Cruz spoke about Second Amendment rights Saturday at CrossRoads Shooting Sports in Johnston, Iowa. The photographs of Mr. Cruz, taken by AP’s Charlie Neibergall, were angled in such a way that it captured a poster in the background with a large image of a handgun pointed straight at Mr. Cruz’s head.

Conservative Twitter users accused the AP of committing bias against Republicans and editorializing on gun control. Breitbart News said, “[I]magine the outcry were [Mr. Cruz] a Democrat. How many think pieces about violent imagery and responsible reporting would we see? How many more if he were a woman?”

The AP responded with a statement late Sunday night.

“Presidential candidate Ted Cruz, was shown in a series of 14 photos taken by an Associated Press photographer at a ‘Celebrate the 2nd Amendment’ event Saturday afternoon, held at a shooting range in Johnston, Iowa,” Paul Colford, vice president & director of media relations, said in a statement. “Five of the photos published by AP included images of guns seen on a wall in the background so that it appeared a pistol was pointed at Sen. Cruz’s head. The images were not intended to portray Sen. Cruz in a negative light.”

Brent Bozell, president of the conservative Media Research Center, called the AP’s explanation “disgusting.”

“Just days after a horrific shooting that took nine lives, the AP has the gall to unapologetically display a gun aimed at the head of a presidential candidate. They would never do this to Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. Nor should they,” he said in a statement Monday.

“The AP is lying. This was not an accident. They made a deliberate decision to publish the photo. The AP owes Senator Cruz, his wife Heidi, and his children an immediate and unqualified apology,” he said. “Furthermore, I am calling on the AP to conduct a complete investigation of everyone involved in the publishing of the photo and to fire those who ultimately made the decision to publish the photo.”

“Fox & Friends” host Steve Doocy said Monday morning that people would have been fired had a photo gone out that showed President Obama with a gun aimed at his head.

“Just imagine if you were to take that image of Ted Cruz with the revolver right at his head and you replace Ted Cruz with Barack Obama, I bet you The Associated Press would not put that out,” he said.

“If they did … the photo editor would be fired,” he added, The Huffington Post reported.

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