Washington Post: National Archives admits to altering photo of 2017 Women's March

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The National Archives admitted to altering a 2017 photograph of the Women’s March to censor signs referencing women’s anatomy and President Donald Trump’s name, according to The Washington Post.

The photograph, taken by Getty Images’ Mario Tama, shows a sea of people marching down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, on January 21, 2017 — a day after Trump’s inauguration.

In changes to the original photo, Trump’s name is blurred from signs that read: “God Hates Trump” and “Trump & GOP — Hands Off Women,” according to the Post. According to the Post, the word p***y is also blocked out from one sign and the word vagina is no longer visible in another.

CNN has reached out to the National Archives for comment. In a statement provided to the Post, the National Archives said the decision “as a non-partisan, non-political federal agency” to blur Trump’s name was to avoid engaging in “current political controversy.”

The National Archives told the newspaper it obscured the references to women’s genitals because the museum gets a lot of young visitors and the words could be seen as inappropriate.

“Our mission is to safeguard and provide access to the nation’s most important federal records, and our exhibits are one way in which we connect the American people to those records. Modifying the image was an attempt on our part to keep the focus on the records,” National Archives spokeswoman Miriam Kleiman said in the statement given to the Post.

Kleiman said the National Archives does not alter “images or documents that are displayed as artifacts in exhibitions.”

“In this case, the image is part of a promotional display, not an artifact,” she added.

National Archive officials did not respond to the newspaper’s request for any examples of previous times when the museum edited photos or documents to avoid political controversy.

The picture is on display as part of a National Archives Museum’s exhibit to mark the centennial of the 19th Amendment’s ratification. From one angle, you see the Women’s March photo from 2017, and looking from another side, you see a black and white image from 1913 of a women’s suffrage march also on Pennsylvania Avenue, according to the Post.

The National Archives told the Post that the decision to edit the photo was made as the exhibit was coming together, and is supported by the archivist of the United States, David Ferriero.

On Twitter, former national security adviser Susan Rice called the alteration “disturbing.”

“The National Archives is now whitewashing history. How disturbing is that?!” Rice wrote in a tweet.

Rudy Mehrbani, senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice, tweeted that the National Archives “created political controversy in attempting to avoid it.”

“By erasing women’s voices, you insult the suffrage movement & minimize the response to Trump’s actions & election,” Mehrbani, also a veteran of the Obama White House, said.

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