Tuesday, August 08, 2006

More Media Madness

More and more evidence of media manipulation just keeps pouring in.

Left & Right has a good blog detailing the photo-shop work done on a picture of a smoky Beruit skyline, in an effort to make it look worse then the reality.

The Jawa Report details fake smoke trails and fake "bombs" added for dramatic effect to detail missiles being fired from an Israeli F-16.

The kicker on this last one is that the caption run by Reuters on the doctored photo read

"An Israeli F-16 warplane fires missiles during an air strike on Nabatiyeh in southern Lebanon, August 2, 2006. (LEBANON)".

Any military expert can tell you the smoke trails in the photo don't come from missiles, but from defensive flares being popped out of the airplane in an effort to confuse Hezbollah heat seeking SAM's.

So, not only did Reuters not catch the very basic problem with the facts of the story that the photographer provided,(missiles vs. flares) but they didn't catch the fact that the photos were doctored until the blogosphere ignited and began screaming bloody murder!

The news agency was either complicit in the conspiracy to lie to it's readers, or duped by Pallywood reporters and photographers with an agenda to sell. My bet is on being duped, because (everyone say it together) the photos are more compelling and sensational than the truth because they have been doctored to be such, and Reuters wants to (let's all say it again) sell papers and footage to make money.

Finally, after hearing the masses demanding honesty, Reuters fires a Lebanese freelance journalist for providing photo-shopped pictures.

This was Reuters, folks, not some little small town newspaper. Reuters is one of the worlds leading new agencies, with a reputation for accuracy and integrity. They have fact checkers, vetters, and copy editors all over the world, and they missed these very important, widely publicized photos.

How many more get through? How often is the media selling you and I a bag of lies? This is scary stuff folks, and just the tip of the iceberg.

They can't even agree on the facts. Forbes.com says in their story that "Since the fighting began, at least 689 people have died on the Lebanese side of the conflict. The Israeli toll stood at 100 killed - 36 civilians and 65 soldiers. "

But the Independent Online says "....Israel's war with Hezbollah fighters that has cost around 1,000 Lebanese and 101 Israeli lives in four weeks."

ABC.NET says "At least 961 people have been killed in Lebanon in the conflict, with dozens more still missing and presumed dead. 98 Israelis have been killed since Hezbollah's capture of two Israeli soldiers on July 12 touched off the war."

(Even that last paragraph is incomplete in it's reporting. Don't forget that Hezbollah captured the two Israeli soldiers after attacking their small convoy unprovoked, killing 8 Israeli soldiers in the fighting, THEN captured the two that they KIDNAPPED.)

So who's telling the truth?

You'll notice the Israeli death totals are very consistent, +/- 3 in the stories, while the Lebanese count ranges +/- over 300 or so. Is Israel being more truthful? Is information harder to get out of Lebanon since that's where the fighting is going on? Does Hezbollah or the Israelis have an agenda to sell to the west? Are reporters willing to take the most dramatic numbers available and run with, since it sounds more... hmmm... sensational?

Who's telling the truth?

I don't know, I can certainly tell you some people are lying to us, and it plain makes me sick.

Ok, back to my 5-hours of Star Trek and Deep Space Nine on SpikeTV in the afternoons. I need to keep my blood pressure down.


Ed Abbey said...

This is in response to your comments on the previous post and this one.

I think I agree with you about the sensationalistic nature of journalism. Boring truth doesn't sell well. However, I guess I don't think they are flat out lying which would imply an ulterior motive such as political. I think it is a product of modern media that is readily accessible to everyone via the internet. Everyone is competing to get the story out first which means they may not know all the details, some of which may prove to be wrong.

When I watch the evening news or read the newspaper, I guess I don't get worked up if errors are made. It happens and I move on. I believe they are doing the best they can and sometimes things like that happen. For example the Reuters picture. Some guy was gunning for a prize (can't think of the reporting prize right the moment) and committed an ethical violation. Doesn't mean Reuters can't be trusted. One bad apple doesn't spoil the whole bunch. It just means that we the public shouldn't rush to judgement until we get the whole story. I think Reuters did the right thing by firing the freelance journalist. I don't think it is a liberal MSM plot as some conservative sites are so happy to point out.

Mike J. said...

You are the voice of reason in a world gone mad, Ed.

I guess I mainly want people to think critically when they read or watch the news. Facts aren't always blatantly wrong or photos doctored, but there is a bias and people do have agendas.

In this current conflict, Hezbollah has no hope of a military victory, but they're leader has stated they must win the propoganda victory, and get world opinion on their side, in order to survive.

The only way for Hezbollah to stop the Israelis, until they've achieved their goal of removing Hezbollah from southern Lebanon, is for world outrage to demand that Israel stop. Hezbollah can only do this by winning the media campaign, and convincing the world that the "carnage" is just too much, and that Israel is the bad guy in this conflict.

There IS a coordinated, concerted effort on the side of Hezbollah to control information coming out of Lebanon. All reporters there have "handlers" who dictate what can and cannot be photographed, and what can and cannot be reported.

And its working, we all know it. Stories of people killed while walking in a funeral parade (where have we heard that heart tugger before? Palastine, anyone?) Kids dying in rubble, families killed.

Yes, it happens, but look at the spin on it. Buried deep under all these accounts in the 180 Hezbollah rockets that flew into norther Israel that same day. 15 paragraphs detailing the carnage in Lebanon, and maybe 2 about the rockets that hit Israel.

Anyway, you are the voice of reason Ed, like I said. You already look at your news and think critically. I just wish more people did. Too many swallow all of what they are fed without even asking questions.

Ed Abbey said...

"Hezbollah has no hope of a military victory"

By our definition of victory, I believe this to be a true statement. However, Hezbollah's definition of victory is just to stand up again Israel and survive. Because it would be impossible for Israel to completely wipe them out, I think Hezbollah is assured of a victory. It's sad but true and this is the biggest thing that I think President Bush fails to understand in dealing with the Middle East in general.