Bloggers bust another MSM ‘fake’?

The camera never lies, unless the photographer deliberately sets it up that way. Jeff Jarvis on ‘fake’ war photography in Lebanon.

  • Moochin photoman

    The excuse given by Reuters and the photographer that he was working in bad lighting conditions when uplaoding the images is pure bullsh*te.
    Reuters have also purged 920 photographs by the same photographer from its database…..
    http://reuters.myway.com/article/20060807/2006-08-07T162044Z_01_L06301298_RTRIDST_0_NEWS-MIDEAST-REUTERS-DC.html

    The cloning of the smoke was so badly done, its hard to believe that this fella was/is? a professional! Reading that article its a clear case of sticking to what you know best, in his case sports photography rather than opportunistic and evidently biased war reporting!

    Heres another classic
    http://www.thememoryhole.org/media/evening-standard-crowd.htm

  • Nevin
  • willis

    Obviously I’m not getting the reference, why MSM? Do they own Reuters?

    At least Broadcast mag are honest about the business they are in.

    This quote from their excellent e-mail service.

    Allen resigns from ITV
    9:10am: Charles Allen has stepped down as chief executive of ITV, after weeks of speculation. More follows.

  • Harry Flashman

    For some reason my long winded comment that I wanted to post regarding the whole backgorund to this story, ie it’s not just one fake photo but rather a catalogue of biased news manipulation and propaganda since the moment Israel began its campaign, will not post.

    This has been hammered away at by the bloggers (especially euroreferndum.com, check out his many links to blatant staging and fakery in the reports from southern Lebanon, especially the fake “Houla” massacre, the bombed ambulance fake story, and the lies about the bombed UN convoy) and which has finally been vindicated despite the best efforts of the mainstream media to pooh pooh the bloggers as cranks and conspiracy theorists.

    Well the bloggers won this round game set and match, they produced the smoking gun of blatant media bias and manipulation. It’s no good saying Adnan Hajj was one bad apple. He is part of the pack of photo stringers whose record has so far been questionable at best and down right bogus at worst. The MSM looked down their majestic noses at the bloggers, they dismissed them as nutters, they assured us there was no manipulation of photos and as a result of their umpty-million layers of scrupulous fact checkers we could accept that the photo journalists and stringers were models of integrity.

    Think of it this way, if I had a staff of women whose purity and virginity were the sole basis of my business’s reputation, I’d make sure they were exactly as they said they were. If you came to me and stated that as a result of your investigations you believed my staff were in fact prostitutes, I would react with angry denials. However if you then produced photographic evidence of one of my ladies giving blowjobs to truckers in the car park of a motorway service station then the only debate I should be having would be how grovelling and obsequious my apology should be.

    Judging by the churlish attitude of the mainstream media to this story it would appear they still don’t get it.

  • Mick Fealty

    not sure why that should be… maybe it is just too long Harry… try breaking it in two?

    MSM = MainStream Media

  • Moochin photoman
  • Moochin photoman

    & heres another thread about the coverage…….
    http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2006/07/milking-it.html

  • Jo

    Am I the only one to find Harry’s “example” offensive?

  • Moochin photoman

    i was expecting it to lead into somethang about the virgins suicide bombers meet!

    2 more links which are worth a look….
    http://hotair.com/archives/top-picks/2006/08/05/the-worst-photoshop-ive-ever-seen/
    on this one there are some funnies…a bit of light relief perhaps(pardon the pun bearing in mind Harrys post)
    http://plancksconstant.org/blog1/2006/08/its_not_photoshoppin.html

  • Harry Flashman

    You’re right Jo, it’s a bit off colour, Christ I thought we were adults here and not in a kindergarten, sorry nanny.

    My point was to establish the fact that journalists have set themselves up as the epitome of absolute, sea green integrity and fairness. For years many people have been challenging this and asserting that they are in fact a mix between performing monkeys and the tools of propagandists. Now if you want to suggest a similar metaphor for a less than perfect reputation I’ll be happy to use it.

    Jo, do you just come on here to nitpick me or have you actually got anything constructive to add to the discussion in this thread?

  • bob

    what else are they not telling us harry? Maybe that isreal has only killed hezbollah militants since their started to terrorize lebanon

  • willis

    Harry

    Have you not fallen into your own trap? What is photographic evidence these days?

    It is not just photos that can be manipulated.

    http://mediamatters.org/items/200608070002

  • Keith M

    I totally agree Harry the amount of manipulation of the “news” that is going on has made me highly sceptical of all the reporting of the war.

    I also believe that the constant focus on the “civilian” victims is hindering a proper debate on the rights and wrongs of what’s going on.

    If there were camera crews at Hiroshima constantly feeding back reports of the first atomic bomb to a television audience, would the public outcry have been so loud that the allies wouldn’t have been able to complete the job at Nagasaki? If so how many more innocent lives would have been lost?

    One fact that seems to be hardly reported and never discussed is the fact that Hizbollah are firing 100-200 missiles into Israel every day for the last week. Why did they have such a huge arsenal if not to wage a longterm war on Israel?

  • willis

    Harry

    I do agree about hacks. But this Stanley Baldwin quote is is true today as 50+ years ago.

    “Power without responsibility — the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages.”

    Problem is Stanley Baldwin was a poor PM.

  • willis

    Keith

    One fact that seems to be hardly reported and never discussed is the fact that Hizbollah are firing 100-200 missiles into Israel every day for the last week.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/5245116.stm

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/syria/story/0,,1839370,00.html

    Do keep up!

  • Harry Flashman

    Willis

    When Ann Coulter puts herself forward as an unbiased, straight down the middle, neutral, non-partisan observer of facts, then I’ll accept that her footnotes issue might cause a problem.

    Ann Coulter does not project herself as a neutral, she has an unashamed, right wing viewpoint which she is proud to advocate, the difference between her and the mainstream media is that she is honest about her agenda.

  • Jo

    What I would contribute is an observation that bloggers are (not unnaturally) disposed to think that blogging is the antidote to “biased” reporting elsewhere in the communication of information. That’s self-delusion of a high order.

    The attribution of *bias* is, more often than not, nothing more than an observation that the medium in question happens to report facts which are not exactly supportive of the speaker/writer’s own perspective on the world.

    Where there is out and out forgery it doesn’t take bloggers to point this out. If the forgery was as crass as appears in recent cases, I daresay my 7 yo could have spotted it. But the proving of forgery doesn’t mean that everything reported by the channel/paper/whatever is false.

    Proving that a man tells lies doesn’t mean that when he says it is raining, that it is in fact sunny outside.

    That’s a relatively inoffensive example, I think. It’s not necessary to either denigrate another gender or blaspheme to make a point.

  • willis

    Harry

    Does she say that she is telling the truth?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Keith M: “If there were camera crews at Hiroshima constantly feeding back reports of the first atomic bomb to a television audience, would the public outcry have been so loud that the allies wouldn’t have been able to complete the job at Nagasaki? If so how many more innocent lives would have been lost? ”

    Estimates for Operation: Olympic run about one million Allied casualties and five to ten million Japanese. Unusual facets of the invasion and defense plans include gas warfare against Japanese beaches, incendiary bombing (Japanese construction included a great deal of wood construction and paper windows / screens) and a massive invasion force. Japanese defense planning included human wave attacks and a variety of suicide tactics. NOTE: This is just the plan for the main Japanese island. This doesn’t account for the rest of the Hapanese island chain, nor the Japanese forces in Manchuria.

  • Harry Flashman

    Jo

    No, you are right a liar can tell the truth but a man who swears he never lies and is caught lying can never again claim to be honest. It’s really quite simple, by the way your 7 year old daughter could have spotted that fake so how come the fantastically scrupulous hordes of impeccably unbiased fact checkers and editors we are told operate in the mainstream media didn’t see it? Could they have wanted to believe it?

    Willis

    That Ann Coulter stuff has got to you hasn’t it? Let me clue you in, Coulter is a shock-jock, she fires off opinions at the rate of three or four quotable bon-mots every page, she has never presented herself as stentorian colossus of unbiased neutrality. Your guy has sat down and sedulously looking through a book of a couple of hundred pages has come up with some 14 examples where her footnote citation wasn’t exact and it’s all really wishy washy stuff that in no way detracts from the essential thrust or indeed accuracy of Coulter’s broad arguments. She was writing a political diatribe willis, not a thesis on molecular biology.

    He says Coulter refers to “articles” when she meant “editorials”, she says in a lighthearted aside that the New York Times usually called Guilliani “authoritarian”, your boy says that in fact the NYT only used the term twice about Rudy. Coulter says the liberal media has long excoriated the “Willie Horton” ad used by GHW Bush, well er, so they have, this guy says he can only find half a dozen or so articles attacking this Bush tactic. All of the foregoing is a rough and ready analysis of the broad thrust of a pretty piss poor attempt to debunk Coulter, the guy who wrote it really needs to get out more.

    Sheesh willis you’ll really have to try harder than that.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Jo: “Where there is out and out forgery it doesn’t take bloggers to point this out. If the forgery was as crass as appears in recent cases, I daresay my 7 yo could have spotted it. But the proving of forgery doesn’t mean that everything reported by the channel/paper/whatever is false. ”

    No, but it does raise the question of reliability. Realize, these “out and out forgeries” made it past several layers of editors and people who should have known better — whose BUSINESS it is to know better. If they can be fooled by quick and dirty edits any tyro could produce, as it would appear they have, what else have they missed and not realized or not confessed to? Do you honestly believe that Reuters would have eventually realized their error and admitted to it without their feet being put to the fire?

    Now, to be wholly fair, its not solely the Reuters of the worlds fault (although it *IS* their responsibility…). The creation of the 24 news channel and the 24 hour news cycle has sped-up the business, making it vulnerable to the “next big scoop” mentality, leading to these embaressments.

  • Jo

    Harry/Dread

    Fair points. I cant quite bring myself to watch News24 but the nonstop reporting brings a pressure and a fallibility which I don’t think I had previously appreciated. Nonetheless…truth may be the first casualty but civilians are always those who suffer most. Scepticism about how many REAL “civilians” have been killed should be tempered by realising that that is/will be as
    true of this war as any other.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Jo: “Scepticism about how many REAL “civilians” have been killed should be tempered by realising that that is/will be as true of this war as any other. ”

    Fair enough… but when you have the spectacle of the Lebanese PM giving a tearful announcement at an Arab political meeting of 40 dead civilians, later (and much more quietly and with far less drama) revised down to ONE, when you have Qana, now down to about half the initial report, with allegations that a number of the photos were staged by the same fellow what did the above photos, it is hard not to be at least a little cynical after the first few revisions.

  • micktvd

    Keith M writes ” One fact that seems to be hardly reported and never discussed is the fact that Hizbollah are firing 100-200 missiles into Israel every day for the last week.

    Keith, I’ve been watching Sky News, Fox News, CNN and the BBC fairly constantly for the last three weeks and the daily missile number from Hezbollah is always mentioned, along with the impact on Israeli civilians. What media have you been watching?

    Your musings about the media’s unfortunate focus on the innocent victims of this conflict are interesting. I wonder if you are thinking about the hours of Fox news coverage of the thirty-odd Israeli civilians deaths, or the equal time given on other channels to the approximately seven hundred Lebanese civilians killed so far (possibly far more).

    Unfortunately for Israel, they have chosen to visit massive and widespread injury on helpless people who did not attack them. This is the epitome of state terrorism. Therefore people know that that is a good part of what is right or wrong about this war.It doesn’t obscure the issue- it is the issue.

    Keith writes: “If there were camera crews at Hiroshima constantly feeding back reports of the first atomic bomb to a television audience, would the public outcry have been so loud that the allies wouldn’t have been able to complete the job at Nagasaki? If so how many more innocent lives would have been lost?”

    When will right wing bloggers stop using WWII as the comparison for every two-bit war of aggression they think up next. And what a nice turn of phrase you have, Keith “complete the job at Nagasaki” There is an ongoing historical debate about the use of the atomic bombs on Japan. Many historians have argued that the bombs were not necessary to end the war, the Soviet declaration of war on Japan did that- but were used for demonstration effect-on the Russians!

    Truman’s diary says: “[Stalin would] be in the Jap War on August 15th. Fini (sic) Japs when that comes about.” The bombs were dropped as we know a week before the 15th.

  • Keith M

    willis I said “One fact that seems to be hardly reported and never discussed…”

    The have that you have found two reports neither of which discusses in any depth just serves to prove my point.

    Dread Cthulhu my question on Japan was largely rhetorical, but thanks nevertheless.

  • micktvd

    Dread writes: “Estimates for Operation: Olympic run about one million Allied casualties and five to ten million Japanese. Unusual facets of the invasion and defense plans include gas warfare against Japanese beaches, incendiary bombing (Japanese construction included a great deal of wood construction and paper windows / screens) and a massive invasion force. Japanese defense planning included human wave attacks and a variety of suicide tactics. NOTE: This is just the plan for the main Japanese island. This doesn’t account for the rest of the Hapanese island chain, nor the Japanese forces in Manchuria”

    According to another source, “in June 1945, Truman ordered the U.S. military to calculate the cost in American lives for a planned assault on Japan. Consequently, the Joint War Plans Committee prepared a report for the Chiefs of Staff, dated June 15, 1945, thus providing the closest thing anyone has to “accurate”: 40,000 U.S. soldiers killed, 150,000 wounded, and 3,500 missing.”

    [a href=”http://www.zmag.org/Sustainers/content/2001-08/05mickyz.htm]text the visitor sees[/a]. Then change [&] to < &>.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    micktvd: “Unfortunately for Israel, they have chosen to visit massive and widespread injury on helpless people who did not attack them. This is the epitome of state terrorism. Therefore people know that that is a good part of what is right or wrong about this war.It doesn’t obscure the issue- it is the issue. ”

    Actually, a goodly part of the injury to the helpless people of Lebanon was engineered by Hizbollah. One instance, reported in the German press (Lebanese source), discussed the construction of a school with what would nominally be the basement being a Hizbollah ordinance bunker. It was deemed a “win/win” scenario — either the missiles would survive to be launched or Israel would blow it up, opening them up to charges of targetting children. The issue that disappears is which side is *deliberately* targetting civilians and which is trying to kill the terrorists using terrorists for cover.

    micktvd: “When will right wing bloggers stop using WWII as the comparison for every two-bit war of aggression they think up next. And what a nice turn of phrase you have, Keith “complete the job at Nagasaki” There is an ongoing historical debate about the use of the atomic bombs on Japan. Many historians have argued that the bombs were not necessary to end the war, the Soviet declaration of war on Japan did that- but were used for demonstration effect-on the Russians! ”

    Japanese sources woutld disagree with your “many historians.” The bombs may not have been “necessary,” but they were, ultimately, the fastest and least damaging method of ending the war.

    As for WW II, I would be willing to negotiate an armistance — if the lefties can stop using Vietnam as a metaphor for ever war and two-bit conflict.

  • Garibaldy

    On the reporting of the conflict. Here’s one example. When 12 Israeli soldiers were killed, and 3 civilians, in one day, it was reported on the front page of bbc news wesbite as 15 Israelis killed. Before that Sky News was running 10 Israelis killed when the death toll of the soldiers was 10 and no civilians had been killed. There’s a long history of this. For example, when Palestenian policemen were being shot dead by israelis around 2000 they were reported as militants or gunmen. Like describing RUC men as unionist militants. Equally, there was an ambush where I think it was 9 Israeli soldiers and 1 or 2 civilians were killed. Again, they were reported under the blanket term Israeli, not as soldiers. Factually correct, but wrongfully giving the impression they were civilians.

    Note, by the way, that there are more dead Israeli soldiers than civilians. We can’t say the same about the Lebanonese, despite various misreportings etc. I wonder who the people with no respect for civilian lives are.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    micktvd: “According to another source, “in June 1945, Truman ordered the U.S. military to calculate the cost in American lives for a planned assault on Japan. Consequently, the Joint War Plans Committee prepared a report for the Chiefs of Staff, dated June 15, 1945, thus providing the closest thing anyone has to “accurate”: 40,000 U.S. soldiers killed, 150,000 wounded, and 3,500 missing.”

    Is that for the whole of the invasion, or simply to gain a lodgement, mictvd. That estimate is flawed, coming from an analysis that underestimates Japanese aircraft available for defense by a factor of 5, does not acknowledge the Okka suicide rocket (think V-1, but with a pilot) or the 28 million strong National Defense Combat Force.

    Estimates made by officers in the field range from 250,000 casualties on Kyushu along, with estimates for the entire operation (Olympic and Coronet) being a million (this was my error — I reversed Olympic (the invasion of Kysushu) and Downfall (the operation to which Coronet and Olympic were sub-plans).

    http://www.neswa.org.au/Library/Articles/olympic.htm

  • Rory

    if you then produced photographic evidence of one of my ladies giving blowjobs to truckers in the car park of a motorway service station

    Calm down, Harry. It’s all right. If they were only giving blow jobs their virginity would still be intact and your investment safe. Honestly! Check out Alex Comfort’s The Joy of Sex. You might even find something in Marie Stopes about it.

  • micktvd

    Dread. I’m not sure of the provenance of the report beyond the Mickey z article. I assumed it refers to the whole invasion. There is a recent study by Japanese historian, Tsuyoshi Hasegawa: “Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan”. He finds that it was the Soviet declaration of war on August 8th – and not the Hiroshima bomb on August 6th or the Nagasaki bomb on August 9th – that led to surrender. What do you think of the Truman quote? It reinforces the idea that the atomic bomb offered the Americans a way to end the Pacific war before the Soviets could enter it.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    micktvd: “There is a recent study by Japanese historian, Tsuyoshi Hasegawa: “Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan”. He finds that it was the Soviet declaration of war on August 8th – and not the Hiroshima bomb on August 6th or the Nagasaki bomb on August 9th – that led to surrender. What do you think of the Truman quote?”

    As denouncing the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a cottage industry in Japan, I would take the volume with a grain of salt. One wonders if it discusses the abortive plan to drop a plague bomb on San Francisco (abortive in the sense thatthe lack of Imperial Army and Navy cooperation pulled the plan apart).

    As for the quote, it could be anything from a military assesment to an acknowledgement of Japanese efforts to negotiate a conditional surrender through Russian offices to a realizaion of the coming Cold War. The fact is is that the bombs were deemed necessary at the time. They achieved the goal of unconditional surrender. They were less damaging that other alternatives, both for the Allies and the Japanese. Was Truman’s decision colored by the nascent Cold War? I wouldn’t bet against it, but the bombs were dropped on legitimate targets (or at least as legitimate as any other city bombed in WW II) and achieved their goal. The damnable thing about the A-bomb, at the time is it had to demonstrated and it had to be proved it could be duplicated. Its a good thing Japan surrendered after 2 bombs — the next one was18 months (minimum) away.

  • Rory

    This somehow reminds me of Pierce Morgan’s final days at the Daily Mirror when he published the most glaringly obvious fake photographs of Iraqui “prisoners” apparently being tortured by “British Army personnel”.

    The consequences were twofold:

    1) Morgan was obliged to resign as editor, albeit wirh a tidy severance package. The fact that his leavetaking of the Mirror and the pursuit of a longer term career in broadcasting had been lavishly telegraphed for many months before this episode was little commented upon at the time.

    2) The second consequence may supply a clue as to the reasons for this silence: All and any evidence relating to actual torture of real Iraqui prisoners by real British soldiers was more easily able to be discounted thereafter by a now relieved and suitably reinforced gullible public and acquittals before highly trumpeted courts-martial were more readily credible to a public now educated by the Mirror and Morgan’s fearless act of fraudelence to disbelieve any negative evidence against “our brave boys”.

    Are we now, because of this fearless exposure of photographic fraudulence, to disbelieve the total extent of civilian casualties created by Israeli bombing of Lebanese civilians and non-combatants?

    I suspect that is precisely the reaction this little hoax (and more importantly – its “exposure”) was meant to deliver. Do not be fooled> Israel are kiliing totally innocent civilians in Lebanon wholesale. But it’s alright, they’re only Arabs after all.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Rory: “Are we now, because of this fearless exposure of photographic fraudulence, to disbelieve the total extent of civilian casualties created by Israeli bombing of Lebanese civilians and non-combatants? ”

    And, pray tell, how do the downward revision of estimates by Lebanese sources fit in with your conspiracy theory? Do you imagine that they, too, have been bought off?

    A more likely explanation is that the Reuters photographer was looking for a better payday, adding drama to his photographs. That the changes had propaganda value was simply icing.

  • Dualta

    It seems that George Galloway reckons that he has found a fake or two from the reporting of this war too. You must watch this……..

    http://news.sky.com/skynews/video/videoplayer/0,,31200-galloway_060806,00.html

  • Rory

    The downward revision by the Lebanese authorities is simply explained by more accurate figures being able to be ascertained after the first chaos of hysteria, panic and confusion, that necessarily follows in the immediate wake of bombing, has dispersed. A revision is only what is to be expected. Remember New York and London?
    It was similar then.

  • Dualta

    Dread said: “[i]A more likely explanation is that the Reuters photographer was looking for a better payday, adding drama to his photographs. That the changes had propaganda value was simply icing.[/i]

    I think you’re right Dread. He may well have hoped to have embellished the drama of the pics to up the political ante somewhat, but, at least with the plume of smoke pic, he hardly created a completely new scenario.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Rory: “The downward revision by the Lebanese authorities is simply explained by more accurate figures being able to be ascertained after the first chaos of hysteria, panic and confusion, that necessarily follows in the immediate wake of bombing, has dispersed. A revision is only what is to be expected.”

    Aye, but in London and New York, retractions were publicly accounted. Lebanon is more like newspaper mistakes — mistake makes the headline, correction somewhere behind the obituaries.

  • willis

    Harry

    You are, of course, correct. There is no Right wing media outlet which attempts honest authoritive reporting. It is all just a field sport.

    Maybe I’m wrong – Maybe Fox News, Maybe the Sun.

  • andy

    DC
    Sinaiora recanted those casualties figures on the alleged recent massacre himself the same day, and it did make the headlines. I agree with you regarding the Qana figures though.

    Keith
    I’m sorry but the Hezbollah rocket attacks are being mentioned daily on every media I look at.

    Altogther I think there are a lot of good points being made here – the reporting of this war is a bit shaky – but surely that is the consequence of our expectations to have virtually same-time war reporting?

    I also think both sides have been hiding their military casualties (Hizbollah more than the Israelis). I have little proof of this but it would seem to be the case given the nature of some of the firefights.

    Anyway, this should not hide the unequivocally accurate picture of disporportionate casualties (including civilian casualties) on the Lebanese side.

  • Harry Flashman

    For heaven’s sake willis when will you stop shooting yourself in the foot?

    FOX and the Sun are unashamed, openly right wing news outlets, (in the same way that the Mirror and Channel 4 News slant unashmedly to the left) there is no problem with that.

    The problem is with Reuters, AP, AFP,BBC, RTE,CNN and all the rest of the alphabet soup who claim to be whiter than white, totally unbiased, absolutely neutral but who have for years been perceived to be peddling a very distinct agenda, FOX and the Sun have no problem with admitting their bias, that makes them more honest in my book.

    For a good round-up of the news chicanery that has been coming out of Lebanon for the past month I direct you to;

    http://www.zombietime.com/reuters_photo_fraud/

    Follow the links while you’re there, I predict by the end of this affair there will be a huge shake up in the conventional media. The days of shovelling out any oul’ crap in the safe knowledge that you wouldn’t be caught are over. Maybe we can now start getting a more honest style of reporting.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    andy: “I’m sorry but the Hezbollah rocket attacks are being mentioned daily on every media I look at.”

    “Mentioned” would about sum it up… they are glossed over, as opposed to Lebanese casualties, which are focused upon in detail.

    andy: “but surely that is the consequence of our expectations to have virtually same-time war reporting? ”

    Please explain how the deliberate manufacturing and misrepresentation of photographs, the staging of photographs, the misrepresentation of material (i.e. shooting the same area twice with different lenses and representing them as different bombing events) and like has anything to do with “our expectations?” Reuters let itself be hijacked, partly out of its own desire for dramatic coverage, perhaps.

    andy: “Anyway, this should not hide the unequivocally accurate picture of disporportionate casualties (including civilian casualties) on the Lebanese side. ”

    Then, mayhaps, they should have put Hizbollah on a shorter leash once they entered government, shouldn’t they?

  • willis

    Harry

    Both feet are fine, thanks for asking.

    “I predict by the end of this affair there will be a huge shake up in the conventional media. The days of shovelling out any oul’ crap in the safe knowledge that you wouldn’t be caught are over. Maybe we can now start getting a more honest style of reporting.”

    You are of course joking. How would you measure this shake up then? Jeremy Bowen escorted from the building.

    Let’s be clear here. Fine upstanding men have attempted it before. Let me quote you one of the wonderful calls to arms.

    “If it falls to me to start a fight to cut out the cancer of bent and twisted journalism in our country with the simple sword of truth and the trusty shield of British fair play, so be it. I am ready for the fight. The fight against falsehood and those who peddle it. My fight begins today. Thank you and good afternoon.”

    He sounds like your kind of guy.

    You know how the story ends but for the sake of our readers.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Aitken

    To be fair Zombietimes was a laugh.

    It might be worth buying a copy of “Drop the Dead Donkey” DVD.

    On it you can view the left wing Channel 4 satirising Foreign Reporters who manipulate shots with toys, shoes etc – 10 years ago

    Look forward to the next post, don’t be shy.

  • Harry Flashman

    Willis

    Not sure about the DTDD mention, doesn’t this show up the ludicrous nature of those staged photos and thereby prove my point?

    By the way Johnny Aitken might have failed in his attempt, but be fair, listening to the news today it seems like the sort of hackery that brought him down isn’t having such a good day. Yes I know it’s one of Rupert’s rags that’s got its tit in the mangle but the basic premise of shoddy journalism being passed off as unquestionable fact is looking very shakey these days.

  • andy

    DC
    Don’t think much of your points I’m afraid. I will take them in turn:

    1) ““Mentioned” would about sum it up… they are glossed over, as opposed to Lebanese casualties, which are focused upon in detail”

    Errr, no, on the media i have seen they are explored in detail, plenty of human interest angle on how the rockets are effecting life in Haifa etc, and there is coverage of casualties, with human angles often been put on the stories lacking in similar stories on lebanese casualties.
    You remind me of this Israeli apologist on the BBC recently “we just want to show how the israelis are being hurt as much as the Lebanese”

    That’s not going to happen because its completely untrue. Deal with it – the Lebanese are suffering a lot more than the Israelis – expect coverage to go someway to reflect that

    2)”Please explain how the deliberate manufacturing and misrepresentation of photographs, the staging of photographs..”

    Fair enough I didn’t explain myself well here, I was talking about casualty figures being rounded downwards. If the first we heard of things was when accurate figures had been collated, eg a couple of days after the event, then there wouldn’t be the need for these casualty revisions.

    You save your best till last though Dread

    3) “Then, mayhaps, they should have put Hizbollah on a shorter leash once they entered government, shouldn’t they?”

    I have yet to see any Israeli apologist explain how they would do this. I’ve mentioned this on another thread but it bears repeating:
    A crack down on Hezbollah would have caused a civil war in Lebanon -Why would the Lebanese government attack Hezbollah (the people who liberated South Lebanon in 2000 – presumably you know about that) on behalf of their erstwhile occupiers (I presume you are aware the Israelis were occupying the South for 18 years) and risk civil war in the process?

    I guess you think the Israelis are doing Lebanon a favour? (as explained by some Israeli Army spokesperson the other day)

  • andy

    H
    Are you a derek and clive fan perchance?

  • willis

    Harry

    How could I argue with such a gracious reply? If you are campaigning against crap journalism you will have plenty of supporters. However it was not haxckery that did for the ludicrous Jonathan Aitken but his own awesome arrogance. As he would now admit.

    The point about DTDD is that introducing “the human factor” into News pictures is as old as the hills and a few brave bloggers are not going to make much difference if satire and mockery didn’t do it long ago.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    andy: “A crack down on Hezbollah would have caused a civil war in Lebanon -Why would the Lebanese government attack Hezbollah (the people who liberated South Lebanon in 2000 – presumably you know about that) on behalf of their erstwhile occupiers (I presume you are aware the Israelis were occupying the South for 18 years) and risk civil war in the process? ”

    Mayhaps, but making them (Hizbollah) part of the government turned free-lance violence into casus belli. There is, by the estimates I heard on the BBC world service (iirc), something on the order of 2000 Hizbollah fighters. How large is the Lebanese army? Likewise, the peace solutions floated by all parties have the Lebanese military doing what it should have done in the first place — taking control of the border region. If they couldn’t do it before, as you suggest, why should anyone believe they can do it now?

    As for Israeli losses, my experience listening to the BBC world service is pretty much the opposite of what you say you’re getting out the BBC — all I get is a brief mention – maybe a count of new rockets fired, then back to Beirut.

    andy: “I guess you think the Israelis are doing Lebanon a favour?”

    Get over yourself. I haven’t “apologized for Israel.” I think Lebanon hasn’t kept its end of the agreement that required to deal with Hizbollah. I think Hizbollah has put the Lebanese government squarely behind the 8-ball by grossly misjudging the Israeli response to their border incursion and I think the Lebanese government grossly misjudged Hizbollah — as I said, once you make the terrorists part of government, what used to be an act of terrorism becomes casus belli.

    Now, Israel… do I think this is over the top? Yes. Do I think Hizbollah, having seen the Israeli response to the same stunt pulled by Hamas just days before, made a boneheaded play? Yes. Did Israel have the right to do what they are doing? Yes. Do I think at the end of the day its counter-productive? Yes.

    Just what, out of curiousity, should Israel, faced with Hizbollah’s incursion, have done, andy? Some tit-for-tat raid? What would that have accomplished? Hizbollah would have launched their rockets and things would end up just about right where they are now anyway. All Israel did was decide not to wait for the ramp-up and cut straight to the chase. Diplomacy was a dead-end — as you say, Lebanon would not and could not do anything about Hizbollah. What reasonable option was left — are know there are those terror-apologists who think Israel is an illegitimate state, but I can’t imagine they’d accept these things just to make folks happy.

  • andy

    DC
    You do make some good points.
    I interpreted your comments as being those of someone who would have unthinkingly approved of any action the Israelis would take. Given some of your comments above I was wrong there – so apologies due.

    In terms of what I would have done – I actually think diplomacy could have worked.
    The Israelis should have engaged with the Lebanese govt (& Hizbollah if neccessary) after the Syrians left. Instead the Israelis did nothing. Lebanon was left as a festering sore, the scene of border battles between the two parties and occasional Israeli assasinations.

    I actually think Israel could have gained more from discussions at that point – they could have dictated security policy terms to Lebanon in exchange for legitimate grievances of the Lebanes.
    For example the location of Israeli minefields in Lebanon (they left around 100,000 from their time there), an end to their daily violations of Lebanese air and land sovereignty, and even the Shebaa farms.

    The Lebanese state could not have forcibly disarmed Hizbollah, but it could have undermined its support and negotiated with it to stand down its offensive capabilities. General Aoun, the ex-Anti Syrian Christian General, is on record as saying he had got Hizbollah to accept a situation like the above on principle.
    Admittedly there’s a long way to go from there to security for Israel’s Northern border, but it has to better for both parties than the situation at the minute.

    If asked how I would have acted if I was in Olmert’s shoes on July 13th, I would have responded with some limited military force (ans some assasinations if neccessary) as well as initiaiting negotiations.
    I don’t labour under the delusion of any war being moral or clean, but I think a more limited
    attack by the Israelis would have been more effective.
    I take your point that this may have lead to the current situation eventually, but I personally think that it would have lacked some of the bloody momentum conflicts of the current scale have and made it easier to call a halt before the present numbers of people killed / damage to the Lebanese state had been reached.

    Sorry for the long post….

  • Dread Cthulhu

    andy: “In terms of what I would have done – I actually think diplomacy could have worked. ”

    And here is where I fundamentally (no pun intended) disagree — how do you negotiate with someone who says he gets his marching orders from God? They could have talked to the Lebanese gov’t, but, for immediate response, they’re useless — if they weren’t, there wouldn’t be this mess. Syria? No good — Assad has leased out his nation to the Sunnis to fight Americans in Iraq and to the Shia to fight the Israelis — as much to make them forget he and the rulers of Syria are Alawites. Iran? No good — back to talking to God.

    andy: ” actually think Israel could have gained more from discussions at that point – they could have dictated security policy terms to Lebanon in exchange for legitimate grievances of the Lebanes. ”

    Which Hizbollah would have ignored — and who, other than the Israelis, would be there to stop them?

    andy: “For example the location of Israeli minefields in Lebanon (they left around 100,000 from their time there), an end to their daily violations of Lebanese air and land sovereignty, and even the Shebaa farms. ”

    The first should, barring some wildly over-riding reason (any of which completely escape me) should be a matter of course. The Shebaa farms are not Israels to give to Lebanon, nor Lebanon’s to take — that is, by most reckonings, Syrian territory, undercutting Hizbollah’s arguement that they are a force of “national liberation.” As for the airspace… again, in the normal turn of affairs, that should be a given, but with Hizbollah playing a double game — gov’t and terrorist, I’m not sure that would sell on the Israeli street, so to speak.

    andy: “If asked how I would have acted if I was in Olmert’s shoes on July 13th, I would have responded with some limited military force (ans some assasinations if neccessary) as well as initiaiting negotiations.”

    I personally would have gone with the Rabin option — fight like there is no negotiations, negotiate as if there is no fighting. Eventually, it produces results.

    andy: “I take your point that this may have lead to the current situation eventually, but I personally think that it would have lacked some of the bloody momentum conflicts of the current scale have and made it easier to call a halt before the present numbers of people killed / damage to the Lebanese state had been reached. ”

    Not sure if I agree with you there… if it builds more slowly, you have advantages and disadvantages — the advantage is that someone may get in the way and stop it before it gets out of hand (and, no, we’re not there, yet…), but the disadvantage is that once its up to speed, it will be harder to stop.

    As for damage to Lebanon, I think the Israelis have gone far out of their way to minimize certain sorts of damage — there is water and electricity — they haven’t even destroy Hizbollah’s television network, which confounds me.

    As for being an apologist, I’m simply a cynical pragmatist. I want something that works, I’m just not all that hopeful about it.