ATTENTION LIZARDOIDS! TUNE IN TO THE RICK MORAN SHOW THIS MORNING BETWEEN 7:00 AM AND 9:00 AM CENTRAL TIME FOR AN EXAMINATION OF THE ISSUES SURROUNDING FAKED AND STAGED PHOTOS BY THE WIRE SERVICES. CLICK ON THE “LISTEN LIVE” BUTTON IN THE LEFT SIDEBAR TO HEAR THE BROADCAST.
Well, it took a while but I made it through the top 30 or so lefty blogs looking for reactions to the Reuters scam.
After disinfecting the keyboard, I got to work. It appears that out of the top lefty blogs, only 4 had anything to say about the Reuters story. And then there’s Billmon. Our friend didn’t write about the Reuters story. But he did use a photo of a woman that DFR at Drinking from Home has proven to be part of staged propaganda.
TBogg, in his usual incoherent and childish manner (is there a more immature intellect on the web?) essentially points out that yes, it’s bad that Reuters did this but RETHUGLICANS DO IT TOO…NYEAH, NYEAH, NYEAH. (One can almost see TBoy sticking his tongue out in a most defiant manner).
How very grown up of you. Maybe next year, your mama will let you go to the playground all by yourself as long as you look both ways before crossing the street…
Ahab blogging at Roger Ailes site also takes the juvenile road by using the Reuters scam to savage Powerline for not posting a complete answer by Rep. John Dingell to the question of whether or not he was “against Hizbullah.” Dingell answered “no” and then tried to prove he was neutral (meaning of course, he was not against Hizbullah) but which the lefty blogs erupted because the guys didn’t include Dingell’s long winded explanation regarding his agnosticism about a terrorist group.
I know, I know…But you have to think like a liberal to understand the “nuance” involved.
At any rate, Ahab only mentions the Reuters story in passing – as if we get this kind of thing all the time so what’s the big deal? I guess I’m just not sophisticated enough to be blase about a wire service with thousands of clients printing fake pictures in order to advance the public relations cause of a terrorist group.
Brad at Sadly, No! takes exactly the right attitude – for a Hizbullah toady. He condemns the offending photo as “unethical” and then adds the Hiz Spin:
Now, while I think itâ€™s unethical for Reuters to photoshop any picture it runs, I have to askâ€¦ is there really that much of a difference between the two that justifies the wingnutosphereâ€™s scream fest? I mean, to me it looks like the photographer mostly darkened the smoke in the picture so itâ€™d look better in black-and-white. I canâ€™t believe this is the best the wingnutosphere can come up with nowadays.
Moral blindness personified. It isn’t a question about whether there is little difference between the two pictures, the fact is that the doctored photo was done to elicit a greater emotional response from the reader. This is the essence of propaganda which makes ‘ole Brad a truly useful idiot of Hizbullah. Even when presented with incontrovertible evidence he’s being taken for a fool, he goes right on acting and thinking foolishly.
The only lefty who seems to get it a little bit is Taylor Marsh who, not surprisingly, is more centrist than leftist on some issues. Ms. Marsh makes a valid point about why this kind of thing happens in the first place:
As if we needed more corporate media disrespect, we’ve now got Reuters’ propaganda. They’ve now admitted to actually doctoring a picture to show more smoke and disaster in Lebanon than was happening in a certain snapshot. It’s bad enough in Beirut, so we surely don’t need to push this envelope, not to mention heighten mistrust of the media. There are not that many corporate outlets willing to risk their people in war zones as it is.
Indeed, the reason Hizbullah is able to get away with this kind of crap is because the mainstream press, for a variety of reasons – some good, some bad – are not covering this war with their own people. The extensive use of stringers has been forced on media outlets due to the danger, the lack of personnel, and the limitations imposed by the warring parties. We see the same thing in Iraq, only magnified considerably because the danger is so much greater thanks to the lawlessness in Baghdad as well as hatred of westerners in general.
This brings us to Billmon of Whiskey Bar and his use of the old woman photo who seems to turn up whenever Reuters needs a “grieving old woman standing in front of her ruined house” picture.
It is very hard to say for sure, but it appears to me that the picture in Billmon’s post is of an entirely different neighborhood as well. At the very least, this woman has been moved around in order to get great background shots of the devastation. We know this because when Hizbullah takes the press out for a Devastation Photo Op, they rope them off and only show them images that the terrorists want presented to the world.
But Billmon should not be criticized too harshly. After all, he was unaware of the Hizbullah propaganda shenanigans and only used the photo to elicit a gut wrenching, emotional response from the reader. In other words, even if the photo wasn’t staged, he was doing Hizbullah’s work for them.
He also has a picture of Mr. “Green Helmet” whose traveling mortician show magically moves from Lebanese town to Lebanese town. “Green Helmet” was in both Qana and Tyre and just coincidentally happened to bring out dead children in both cities, parading them shamelessly before the penned up reporters down what the EU Referendum blog calls “Stretcher Alley.” Read the jaw dropping piece by EU Ref accompanied by photo evidence that at the very least raises enormously troubling questions about the way that wire services are getting their photos and writing their stories.
And for my lefty friends out there, let me make it absolutely clear that by examining the aftermath of what happened at Qana and Tyre in no way diminishes the fact that civilians lost their lives as a result of a bomb dropped by the IAF. That fact is not in dispute here. I think it a baldfaced lie to say that Israel deliberately targets civilians but I am not arguing that the IAF’s actions leave them blameless. They have freely admitted to making a mistake in Qana, apologized for it, and even changed their targeting regime to help prevent it ever happening again.
What does concern me is that you have become the unwitting propaganda pawns of Hizbullah when you ignore what Reuters has admitted doing; they have pulled every single one of Mr. Hajj’s photos from their archives because he has apparently been doctoring photos for weeks. The implications are staggering. It is now impossible to trust any “news” coming from Reuters. Anyone who does is a fool. And my gut feeling is that these revelations will not be confined to Reuters. It would not surprise me in the slightest if in the coming days we see similar stories about photos from AP, UPI, AFP and other wire service outfits.
And what about stringers being used by the big newspapers like the New York Times and WaPo? Can we really trust these outlets to vet their stringers and make sure that they are as unbiased as possible in this conflict? Can we be assured that the stringer’s BS detector is good enough to tell the difference between propaganda and news?
This story is a foreshock. The earthquake that may follow could rock the media establishment like no other event in our lifetimes. Am I exaggerating? I wonder what they’re talking about at AP today? Do you think they’re nervous over at UPI? Has someone been tasked at AFP with looking at old photos with a more critical eye?
These and other mainstream outlets live or die by selling the appearance of unbiased truth. By exposing Reuters as a propaganda arm of Hizbullah, the blogs have shown that the media emperors have little clothing left covering their behinds. And that’s the kind of perception that directly affects the bottom line.
Jeff Jarvis gets it. In spades:
It seems more likely an act of agenda that fits into the current argument about proportionalism in the Hizbullah-Israel war. One side of the argument is, of course, that Israelâ€™s security was violated by Hizbullah, and it has a right to defend itself and to assure that these attacks will stop by disarming or disabling Hizbullah. The other side of the argument we hear now is that Israelâ€™s response is disproportionate, an argument I find puzzling in war, where the disproportion is in winning or losing (I have blogged on this here and here and here). If the effort is not to make war look worse but to make one side in it look disproporationate, then I suppose it makes sense to make the smoke bigger and blacker. It makes sense if that is your agenda.
It doesnâ€™t make sense if what youâ€™re trying to do is report the news.
And in addition to the usual jaw dropping variety of links in her round-up, Malkin adds this:
If Reuters had half a brain, it would post all of Hajj’s photos on a separate site and welcome continued blogger analysis that uncovered this debacle in the first place. Withdrawing the photos to cover their tracks is a dumb idea.
If they are interested in the truth, they will harness the power of the Internetâ€™s distributed intelligence network—not cut it off.
Thee’s never a half a brain around when you need one…
UPDATE II 8/8
I got a very interesting email from a professional photo-journalist who disabused me of some notions about working in a war zone:
Actually, if you were a journalist with experience in a war zone, or a disaster
site, you’d understand that this is common enough practice. They cordon off a
“secured” area to keep the group safe for their tour. Once the tour is over,
you can go where you want. This is done everywhere, not only by Hezbollah. For
example, on disaster sites, down in NOLA, and at Ground Zero. It’s a common
practice to keep reporters and photogs from stepping into a hole or worse,
during the tour.
Point taken. However, I doubt if you were at NoLA or Ground Zero, they would threaten your life if you aimed your camera at the wrong target.
This is also an excellent point:
Also, you and others keep harping on pictures that seem out of place by date.
The old woman for example. It is not uncommon for a number of things to happen.
First, the photog takes a series of pictures of an event. The one of the woman
could average up to 100. (Fast exposure, multi-series with a digital camera
etc) Easy. And, they could very well show many different backgrounds. I’ve
taken pictures like this many times.
I’ve looked at the pictures you site, and it is just not possible to tell if it
is the same background or not. Not enough info to make that judgement. A point
you struggle with as well. With no real definitive answer.
Agreed. My primary beef with the old woman is that the captions cited by DFH are on two different dates. Perhaps the second one was a result of your editor needing something dramatic. Fine. But the caption from the later date makes it seem as if the Israelis had just destroyed her home the previous night.
Not exactly honest journalism, in my opinion.
Thanks to “Camera A” for the fascinating background info.