Backspin FrontPage
Backspin FrontPage
HonestReporting.com
Media Backspin
About Media Backspin Contact Media Backspin Media Backspin
  Media Backspin
Backspin FrontPage
 
 
 
Media Backspin RSS Feed   [ About RSS ]
 
Subscribe with Bloglines
 
Add to My AOL
 
Subscribe in Bloglines
 
Subscribe to MyMSN
 
 
Subscribe in NewsGator Online
 
Add to Google Reader or Homepage
 
ARCHIVES January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010
 
 
Media Backspin
« July 2010 | Main | September 2010 »

Tuesday, August 31 2010

AP Illustrates a Deadly Roadside Terror Attack

Four Israelis, including a pregnant woman, were killed in roadside shooting tonight near Hebron tonight.

Photojournalists can be forgiven for not reaching terror scenes on a moment's notice. But judge for yourself the how appropriate or relevant these AP illustrations for the attack are.

Ap_barrier

A Palestian man walks near a section of Israel's separation barrier in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2010. A Palestinian gunman opened fire on an Israeli vehicle traveling in the West Bank on Tuesday, authorities said, killing four passengers in a deadly attack that cast a long shadow over Mideast peace talks set to start this week. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Ap_vendors

Palestinian vendors sell goods next to a section of Israel's separation barrier at the checkpoint in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, Tuesday, Aug. 31,2010. A Palestinian gunman opened fire on an Israeli vehicle traveling in the West Bank on Tuesday, authorities said, killing four passengers in a deadly attack that cast a long shadow over Mideast peace talks set to start this week. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Ap_checkpoint

A Palestinian family walk through the checkpoint in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on their way to Jerusalem, Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2010. A Palestinian gunmanopened fire on an Israeli vehicle traveling in the West Bank on Tuesday, authorities said, killing four passengers in a deadly attack that cast a long shadow over Mideast peace talks set to start this week. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

I'm blaming AP's photo editors for this. Bernat Armangue's photos were taken during the day, hours before the attack happened.

 
UNIFIL: Still 'Interim' After 32 Years

The UN Security Council extended UNIFIL's mandate for another year.

How does a 32-year-old peacekeeping force continue to be called interim?

 
Exclusive Video: Dramatic Reunion 10 Years After the Photo That Started It All
A very special moment for Tuvia Grossman and HonestReporting you don't want to miss.

Tuvia_soldier_interview

 

Monday, August 30 2010

Ali Abunimah and the Muck of the Irish

Ali Abunimah's NY Times commentary piece has very little to do with comparisons with Ireland, and he willfully fails to recognize what Hamas is about.

But I'm more appalled by his take on the inequal body count:

As for violence, Hamas has inflicted a fraction of the harm on Israeli civilians that Israel inflicts on Palestinian civilians. If violence disqualifies Hamas, surely much greater violence should disqualify the Israelis?

I'm not apologizing for Israel's luck, superior arms, or Palestinian ineptitude. That more Israelis haven't died over the years doesn't reflect Hamas' lack of effort.

And if Abunimah opens the door on the death toll, it'll mean addressing inflated casualty counts.

For more on the Irish comparison, see Z-Word.

 
Why AP Had to Dig Up a 3-Year-Old File Photo

First the good news: AP looks at Hamas and Fatah cracking down on each other:

Both governments carry out arbitrary arrests, ban rivals from travel, exclude them from civil service jobs and suppress opposition media, the rights groups say. Torture in both West Bank and Gaza lockups includes beatings and tying up detainees in painful positions.

Hamas and Abbas' Fatah organization have harassed each other ever since the Islamic militant Hamas seized Gaza in 2007. However, the crackdowns have become more sweeping in recent months as each aims to strengthen its grip on its respective territory.

The bad news: the wire service needed a three-year-old file photo to illustrate the story.

Hamas_executive_force


FILE- In this Friday, Sept. 7, 2007 File photo, Palestinian members of the Hamas Executive Force use their batons as they detain a Fatah supporter during clashes at a protest following Muslim prayers in Gaza City. New reports by Palestinian rights groups highlight a surprising symmetry in the abuse that the U.S.-backed government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank and his Iranian-supported rivals Hamas in Gaza inflict on each other. (AP Photo/Adel Hana, File)

Hamas and Fatah don't operate by the same free press rules as Israel. Palestinian photographers know that fresh pictures of these crackdowns will mean one thing: the billyclubs turning on them. This is one story they'd rather cover up than be a part of.
 

Sunday, August 29 2010

PA to Pay for Palestinian Editors on Wikipedia?

In response to the controversy of Zionist Wikipedia editors, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate plans to "set up counter editing groups."

The union's head, Abdul Nasser An-Najar, told Maan News that he's going to ask the PA for funding.

That would definitely politicize Wikipedia. I wonder if escalation in the Wiki-wars will generate the same big-media attention.

 

Thursday, August 26 2010

Lancet Editor "Responds" to HR Critique

See HonestReporting's latest media critiques:

 
Google: Gaming on Gaza

HonestReporting's social media editor, Alex Margolin, contributes occasional posts on social media issues. He oversees HonestReporting on Facebook.

Gaza_internet_cafe It’s no secret that social media is sweeping through the Arab world. Studies show that more people from Arab countries are members of Facebook than readers of print newspapers, especially those run by oppressive governments.

But when it comes to overall Internet use, the Palestinians have pulled ahead of the pack.

West Bank entrepreneurs effectively use the Internet for business, and social activists trying to organize in Gaza are finding ways to escape the watchful eye of Hamas. As the Wall Street Journal (click through Google News) notes, even an Internet giant like Google was interested enough to meet with Palestinian programmers for three days. David Tafuri writes:

While the West Bank and Gaza have suffered from wars, political instability and limited access to resources, the Web has proliferated. Internet penetration—the percentage of the population that uses the Web—is estimated at 40% in the West Bank and as high as 60% in Gaza. Both figures are higher than those in many other Arab nations.

One reason is the proximity of the Palestinian territories to Israel, which is the region's leader in Internet development. Another factor is the high rate of literacy in the territories, estimated at 92%. Perhaps most significant, however, is that Palestinians' isolation—and inability to travel and import or export goods—means that the Web is their main way to connect with the outside world.

Google_ramadan According to Tafuri, Google believes Gaza is ripe for Internet innovation because so many other channels are closed to the residents. The company hopes to return in the near future with other Silicon Valley companies, like Facebook, Twitter, and Cisco.

Interestingly, Tafuri also suggests that the rise of Internet use could help ease tensions in the region, implying that economic considerations could trump the "armed struggle" among Palestinians:

Internet use is increasingly linking young Palestinians to economic opportunities and information, transcending borders and blockades.

It'll be worth watching to see how online engagement with the outside world effects Palestinian public opinion. Will internal Palestinian propaganda have as much effect if their youths tune out the official channels to get information elsewhere?

Google may be betting on a period of increased stability in the region. But judging from past results, a vote of confidence from Google is no guarantee of success in the future.

Previously in Alex's series: Why Facebook Will Continue to Vex the IDF

 

Wednesday, August 25 2010

The Palestinian Fright of Return

The BBC opened up a can of worms for Palestinian refugees. Turns out third-generation refugees living in Syria aren't interested in the so-called "right of return," and they said as much to reporter Lina Sinjab:

With generations of Palestinians now having lived in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East, they have established deep roots outside their ancestral homeland.

But it is rare for them to publicly admit these views.

"On the record, because it is politically incorrect to say otherwise, all of them would say 'Yes, we would return to Palestine'. But once you sit with them in private, you hear a very different point of view," says political analyst Sami Mubayyed.

"Why would a businessman leave their comfort zone? Home is where the heart and the money is."

It'll create headaches because Lebanon grudgingly gave Palestinian refugees new work rights only recently. And PA leaders don't want their people getting too comfortable in host countries either.

The irony's unbelievable: The longer Palestinian leaders gum up peace efforts by playing the right demand of return card, the less relevant it becomes for the refugees themselves.

If this keeps up, there won't be any Palestinian refugees left who ever actually lived somewhere between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

Related reading: Experts: No Legal Basis for Palestinian Refugee Demands

 
And They Call Israel a 'Gangster State'

I wonder if this gunman is affiliated with the "political party" known as Hezbollah, or with the "charity group" known as Ahbash (the Association for Islamic Charitable Works).

Beirut

A gunman carries an RPG during clashes between supporters of the Shiite Hezbollah and a Sunni conservative group in the mixed residential area of Bourj Abu Haidar near central Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2010. Lebanese Shiite and Sunni groups traded machine gun fire and grenades in Beirut on Tuesday, killing two people and wounding several others just blocks from a busy downtown packed with tourists at this time of year. (AP Photo)

Why are sympathizers of armed political parties and now armed charity groups so quick to call Israel a gangster state?
 

Tuesday, August 24 2010

Is Big Media Shifting Its View on Gaza?

Yesterday, NY Times bureau chief Ethan Bronner filed this dispatch from the Gaza mall, touching on what it meant for Israeli and Palestinian claims about the situation in the strip.

Today, AP correspondent Ben Hubbard wrote a similar story.

Do these reports mean anything significant? Post your comments below.

 
Can We Still Call Erdinc Tekir an 'Activist'?

Mav_marmara The Jerusalem Post picks up on a report in Hurriyet that one of the Mavi Marmara "activists," Erdinc Tekir, previously served time in prison for hijacking a Black Sea ferry.

Chechen supporters seized the Avrasya in 1996, holding more than 200 passengers hostage. The four-day stand-off ended peacefully.

Is is still fair to describe Tekir as an "activist?"

 

Monday, August 23 2010

August 23 Links

> What It Took to Get Israelis and Palestinians to Agree to Talks
Washington and the EU sent separate invitations with differing principles. Now they're hoping for the best.

> In Gaza, It's Not Easy Being Green
"Hamas crushes initiatives that might contradict with message that Palestinians are suffering because of Israeli blockade."

> Greece Woos Israel After It's Fallout With Turkey
A match made in heaven: Greece needs money, Israel needs friends.

> UK Jews Slam Haaretz Columnist For Book Tour
Gideon Levy promotes his latest book with the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign?

> Gaza Mall Seeks to Make Statement of Resolve
Bloggers buzzed for and against Ethan Bronner's latest dispatch. It's solid journalism. 'Nuff said.

> Implications of IDF Withdrawal From the West Bank
Col. Richard Kemp raises important questions about possible NATO peacekeepers in the West Bank.

 
Bungled Headline of the Day

Today's bungled headline from the Daily Telegraph:

Dtgraph

You have to read the article to find out that the prime minister
had not changed his position that the ten-month moratorium would not be renewed when it expired on September 26.

Netanyahu's months-long call for direct talks without pre-conditions is hardly new. What warranted the  headline?

 
Why Is the National Union of Journos Unhappy With the Beeb?

Why is Britain's National Union of Journalists sending fire and brimstone emails to its members about the BBC?

A) Pay and pensions

B) Health benefits

C) Safety in the work place

D) Panorama's recent look at the Mavi Marmara.

Take a wild guess.

 
Zionist Wikipedia Editors? So What?

Wiki It's been hard to ignore the media's snickering take on two Israeli groups working together to train "Zionist editors" to contribute material to Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia.

It began with Haaretz's scoop:

The Right's Latest Weapon: 'Zionist Editing' on Wikipedia

The Guardian, quickly took note, claiming:

Now two Israeli groups seeking to gain the upper hand in the online debate have launched a course in "Zionist editing" for Wikipedia, the online reference site.

The online conversation reached a new level when the issue hit The Lede, a popular NY Times blog.

Zionist Wikipedia editors?

So what?

There's no fuss when neuroscientists get Wikipedia training. Nobody cares that some journalism students become Wiki editors simply to pad their resumes. (Maybe we should.)

Wikipedia says about 300,000 editors have edited its online content at least 10 times. So why should anyone think that 80 people attending a course in Jerusalem could possibly undermine the popular reference site?

Andre_oboler In an exclusive email to HonestReporting, Dr. Andre Oboler said there was nothing suspicious about the course, which was organized by the Yesha Council and the My Israel movement:

There is nothing wrong with people training others so they have the skill to edit Wikipedia. That sort of activity should actually be encouraged and is ultimately good for the Wikipedia project as a whole . . .

The creation of lists of topic areas or articles which a group will focus on is a common Wikipedia practice, and again quite common, it often takes place in what are known as "Wiki-projects."

Gaming the system differs from this because the communication takes place outside Wikipedia, and may relate to political activity in Wikipedia rather than content . . . I should stress that communication outside Wikipedia is not the smoking gun; rather it is the nature and purpose of the coordination that must be examined.

I suspect it's an effort to exclude editors with a different view of Israel from contributing to the wisdom of the crowd. This is the principle -- as Wikipedia explains it -- of

taking into account the collective opinion of a group of individuals rather than a single expert to answer a question.

Unfortunately, the wisdom of the crowd often means navigating the politics of some Wikipedia editors who don't let the facts get in the way of their agenda.

The latter point is what sparked the web site, Wikibias. Their eye-opening How-to Guide included this disclosure (bold is my emphasis, italics is the blogger's):

There are roving gangs of anti-Israel editors looking to pick a fight. Some of them hope that if they show up on every page you edit, remove your edits (but not more than once per day), challenge every fact you add, argue endlessly, and generally making your life as an editor difficult, you will simply get fed up and go away. You might call this the hazing of new pro-Israel editors. (The founder of this blog, Wikipedian, became distraught with this situation and decided to start this blog to address it)

Oboler also pointed out to HonestReporting that

Darby

Oboler also offered encouragement to editors who are trying to bring some balance to the Wikipedia view on Israel and the Mideast conflict:

Pro-Israel editors sometimes face a frustrating time, but provided they source their contributions well, and focus on improving Wikipedia by adding facts, their positive contributions will be recognized. Have a go, but when you start feeling too frustrated, or find administrators behaving badly, take a break. Wikipedia is as much about people and politics as it is about information. Especially when it comes to the Middle East, where the information is often disputed and the politics remain fluid.

Related reading: Exposed - Anti-Israeli Subversion on Wikipedia

UPDATE Aug. 23: Heh. I was just notified that Zionist editing on Wikipedia is a Wiki page of its own. In case it gets deleted, here's a partial screengrab souvenir. You can imagine the rest.

Wikizionist

A search of the parallel issue, Palestinian editing on Wikipedia turned up nothing (at this point). Is there no crowd wisdom on that?

 
CBC Drags A False Equivalence

The CBC erroneously implies the Israeli government doesn't want to begin direct peace talks with the Palestinians.

See HonestReporting Canada's latest communique: CBC Drags A False Equivalence

 

Sunday, August 22 2010

August 22 Links
> Anti-Zionists Plumb New Depths: Cliona Campbell's Story
Irish volunteer of Israeli Sar-El program is the target of an ugly hate campaign.

> Why Danny Ayalon Picked This Manchester Teen to Defend Israel
Rosie Ben-David is an administrator for a pro-Israel Facebook group with more than a quarter-million members.

> Homeless Gazans Seize Hamas Government Building
Women and children already resisted Hamas police's first attempted evacuation.

 
Something's Wrong With the World

The unconcerned tone of this Daily Telegraph headline worries me:

US assures Israel that Iran is one year from making a nuclear bomb

That's reassuring?

 
Why Facebook Will Continue to Vex the IDF

HonestReporting's social media editor, Alex Margolin, contributes occasional posts on social media issues. He oversees HonestReporting on Facebook.

Despite the massive amount of attention being paid to Eden Abergil’s tasteless Facebook photos, the incident wasn't the first time the Facebooking soldiers caused headaches for the IDF.

In April, an arrest raid was cancelled after a soldier in an artillery unit revealed details on his Facebook status, writing:

On Wednesday, we are cleaning out [the name of the village] – today an arrest operation, tomorrow an arrest operation and then, please God, home by Thursday.

The IDF responded to the incident by issuing posters for army bases warning soldiers about the need for tight security. The posters noted that “not everyone is your friend” and urged soldiers not to post photos of army bases, names of units, upcoming operations, or files containing military information.

Idf_fb_poster

Despite the posters, the army was powerless to stop a group of former soldiers who served at a top-secret base from forming a Facebook group, complete with photos of themselves at the facility. A Yediot Aharonot reporter with no links to the base joined the group without difficulty, easily accessing the group's secret information.

Abergil’s experience is unlikely to be the last time the IDF is linked to Facebook.

Connecting more than 500 million people, Facebook is more than a giant website. It has become the natural place for people to chronicle their lives -- using it as a combination blog/photo album/Twitter feed. Users express their political and social concerns by joining groups, linking to articles and videos of interest in their status bars, and commenting on each others’ posts as a matter of routine.

So as long as Israelis continue to serve in the army during their early adulthood, remnants of their experiences will find their way into the public sphere through Facebook.

And just as college students continue to post compromising pictures of themselves at parties despite being warned that future employers are likely to see the photos, IDF soldiers -- especially after they leave the army -- will continue to post photos and information despite the knowledge the Israel’s enemies track Facebook to gather intelligence.

Previously in Alex's series: Reports of Email's Death Appear to Be Exaggerated

 

Thursday, August 19 2010

The Numbers Game

Instead of the crunching numbers, the numbers crunched me. Who to believe?

U.S. support for Israel is decreasing, new poll shows
Or this?

Support for Israel in U.S. at 63%, Near Record High

(Hat tip: The Muqata)

 
Bungled Headline of the Day

Today's bungled headline is courtesy of The Scotsman:

Scotsman

Aside from the fact that there are no Israeli hospitals in Romania, it's a nice story about Israel helping respond to a medical crisis beyond its borders.

A more complete version of Alison Mutler's AP dispatch is here.

UPDATE 1:50 p.m.: They changed the headline in response to HonestReporting's email:

Hopes Fade for 7 Babies Burned in Romanian Hospital Fire

 

Wednesday, August 18 2010

Looking Back: 10 Years of Fighting Media Bias

We're getting close to HonestReporting's 10th anniversary, so Yarden Frankl and I discussed some of the biggest cases of media bias -- and their impact -- over the past decade.

We look back on the big ones: Mohammed al-Dura, Jeningrad, Lebanon War fauxtography, the Swedish blood libel, and of course, Tuvia Grossman and The Photo That Started It All.

Speaking of Tuvia, watch this space for a special video with new info about the incident that helped launch HonestReporting.

Click below on YouTube to watch or on Podbean to listen, then share your thoughts in the comments section.


 

 
Selective Outrage: Israeli Facebook Photos Spark Media Circus

Why is the media so obsessed by one former Israeli soldier's Facebook post at the expense of major Mideast news stories?

See HonestReporting's latest communique: Selective Outrage: Israeli Facebook Photos Spark Media Circus

 
3 Reasons You Won't See Photos of Latest Blue Line Tree Removal

According to Beirut's Daily Star, Israel, Lebanon and UNIFIL get their act together to do some quiet landscaping along the border and remove five trees. We probably won't see any photos of the work because:

1. Everyone knows routine border maintenance isn't news.

2. Reuters overkill on the last gardening operation raised too many suspicions.

3. The "in place" for non-newsworthy photos is now the Gaza airport. Yesterday's AP images 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 are trying to keep up with wire images 7, 8, 3, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.

Hamas arm-twisters presumably feel that rubble photos 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 (among others) were either too old or not making the desired impact on Western sympathy.

Gaza_airport

Palestinians dig through the former runway of the Gaza Strip's bombed-out airport to collect gravel needed for construction in the war-ravaged territory, on the out skirts of Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Monday, Aug. 16, 2010. The looting of what was once a national treasure reflects how dire the situation has become in Gaza. An Israeli-Egyptian blockade has prevented the entry of nearly all construction materials for more than three years, forcing Gazans to transform rubble into cement. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

As an aside, this Daily Star snippet may shed light on Iran's furious reaction to the border clash:

The trees were planted as part of an Iran-funded project to improve the landscape of the southern borders.
 

Tuesday, August 17 2010

August 17 Links

Israel's Abu Ghraib? Don't Be So Thick
Let's keep some perspective on the IDF's Facebook fiasco.

The Persian Prince
The amazing story of one Jew who escaped from Iran, became a decorated Israeli soldier.

Moderate Muslims Need to Speak Out
A Palestinian wonders why moderate Muslims living in the West are afraid to speak out against radical Islam.

 
Blockade Busting Buffs Blast the Beeb

Last night, BBC's Panorama profiled the commandos who intercepted the Mavi Marmara. I haven't watched it yet, but judging from the comments posted by unhappy flotillista fans, the Beeb must have done something right.

UPDATE: HonestReporting UK weighs in: BBC Panorama Shocker: Balanced Review of Gaza Flotilla Incident

 
HonestReporting Canada Launches 'The Daily Brief'

HonestReporting Canada launched The Daily Brief.

It's a complimentary service to ensure that Canadian news consumers, leading policy makers, and prominent members of the media elite are properly informed about Canadian and international news and views about Israel and the Middle East.

For more info and to subscribe, click here.

 
Thoughts on Media Self-Censorship

Zippedmouth The LA Times (via Romenesko) takes a frank look at the Mexican media, which self-censors its coverage of the drug cartels.

I'm pointing this out, because if you substitute the words Islamic fundamentalism, Hamas, Gaza, and Palestinian journalists, it would be the same story.

As the drug war scales new heights of savagery, one of the devastating byproducts of the carnage is the drug traffickers' chilling ability to co-opt underpaid and under-protected journalists — who are haunted by the knowledge that they are failing in their journalistic mission of informing society.

"You love journalism, you love the pursuit of truth, you love to perform a civic service and inform your community. But you love your life more," said an editor here in Reynosa, in Tamaulipas state, who, like most journalists interviewed, did not want to be named for fear of antagonizing the cartels.

"We don't like the silence. But it's survival."

I'd love to see a reporter brave enough to shine a light on the Hamas cowing Palestinian journalists in a similar way. Tracy Wilkinson, who wrote this article, is certainly qualified -- a few years ago, she was the LA Times' Jerusalem bureau chief.

I'm still waiting to see photos taken at an anti-Hamas electricity rally. Here are 6 reasons I'm not holding my breath.

Related reading: The News We Kept To Ourselves

 

Monday, August 16 2010

A Bad Day for the BDS Movement

Harvard Not a good day for supporters of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) efforts against Israel. Harvard University sold its shares in Israeli companies -- apparently not because of any boycotts.

The Harvard Management Company sold $41.5 million in Israeli holdings during the second quarter of this year, but has not yet announced why.

Industry figures told The Media Line that Harvard's decision was likely because Israel was recently reclassified as an MSCI developing country, an upgrade from its "emerging country" status.

“There are some funds which invest only in emerging markets,” continued Heen, the Cellcom CFO. “So Harvard had to sell our stock because Israel is no longer classified as an emerging market and they no longer have the ability to hold this stock within the emerging markets fund.”

“We have seen a real change in the volume of trade since they reclassified us,” he said. “In the longterm this is good news for us because there is now more money that can be invested in Israel, but in the short-term it means we need to work to find new investors.”

So while BDS movement tries to isolate the isolate Israel, the economy instead appears to be going through some welcome growing pains.

I wonder if BDSniks will claim credit for this boycott too:

Israeli Diplomats Boycott Mossad Spies Over Wage Dispute
UPDATE: The Boston Globe quotes this statement from Harvard Management:

The university disclosed in a securities filing Friday that it had rebalanced some of its $26 billion portfolio in the latest quarter. The changes took place after a firm that manages stock indexes shifted Israel out of an emerging country index into a developed country index in May. Israel was moved from the MSCI to the EAFE index, major indexes that institutional investors use as benchmarks . . .

We have holdings in developed markets, including Israel, through outside managers in commingled accounts and indexes, which are not reported in the filing in question."

'Nuff said.

 
Good News and Bad News From Gilo

First the good news from Gilo. Because of the calm situation, the government is removing a concrete barrier that protected the southern Jerusalem neighborhood from Palestinian gunfire coming from nearby Beit Jalah.

The bad news? A few news agencies -- Reuters, BBC and The Independent all label Gilo as a "settlement;" AFP describes Gilo as "a Jewish neighbourhood in occupied east Jerusalem."

Last year, we responded to a spate of similar news reports: Gilo In Perspective.

 
Amira Hass Agrees With Me

A few days ago I blogged 6 Reasons You Won't See Any Photos of an Anti-Hamas Electricity Rally.

I just noticed that veteran Haaretz reporter Amira Hass agrees with me:

"I wish these pictures reached leftists abroad," my friend said to herself Tuesday as she watched Hamas police use rifle butts and clubs to beat her friends - activists from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Although my friend has never been a fan of the Fatah government in the West Bank, she is outraged by the romanticization of Hamas rule by foreign activists.

Photographs of Tuesday's protest will be hard to come by, as the Hamas police prevented photojournalists from doing their job. At some point, shots were fired into the air to disperse the PFLP protesters in Gaza City, a demonstration Hamas called an illegal gathering. Many protesters were injured and needed medical attention; others were detained for some time.

I'm still waiting to see some images.

 
Big Media Warning Labels

These labels (pdf format, if you're inclined to print 'em out) by Tom Scott (via IsraellyCool) hit the nail on the head.

Labels01



Labels02
 

Sunday, August 15 2010

Palestinian Journos Test Big Media's Double Standards

Veteran journalist Khaled Abu Toameh laments Big Media's lack of interest in a story about the PA arresting several university lecturers. Unable to report the story themselves for fear of retribution, they offered the story to several North American and European correspondents and editors with more protekzia.

Nothing doing.

Only one foreign journalist agreed to write about the story. His colleagues gave different excuses for turning their backs on the story.

Some said they were concerned about their personal safety should they report a news item that was likely to anger the Western-funded PA security forces in the West Bank.

Others simply blamed their editors in New York, Paris, London and Toronto for turning down the story as "insignificant."

The kicker: One of Toameh's frustrated Palestinian colleagues tested the same reporters and editors with a "different" story:

The Palestinian journalist proposed that the foreign press write about a Palestinian university professor who complained that Israeli authorities had turned down his request to visit Israel together with his wife and three children.

The response from the international journalists came almost instantly. All but two said it was a "great story" and expressed readiness to start working on it immediately.

Toameh was brave enough to report and follow up on the story himself. So he's certainly qualified to conclude:

But for those Western journalists who justify their actions -- or, rather, inaction -- by citing security concerns, the answer is should be: If you are scared, why don't you stop writing about the conflict and start reporting about the weather or environment?

The Middle East is not the right place for journalists who care more about their well-being than the facts and the truth.

 

Thursday, August 12 2010

Reports of Email's Death Appear to Be Exaggerated

HonestReporting's social media editor, Alex Margolin, contributes occasional posts on social media issues. He oversees HonestReporting on Facebook.

Email Ever since the rise of social media, pundits have been predicting the collapse of email as a tool for the masses. Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg recently told a conference audience that teens preferred instant messages to email, signaling that the old electronic mail stalwart has run its course.

"Email--I can't imagine life without it--is probably going away," Sandberg said. "If you want to know what people like us will do tomorrow, you look at what teenagers are doing today,"

In the Wall Street Journal last October, reporter Jessica Vascellaro explained that email no longer served its purpose when we’re constantly connected through mobile phones and fast Internet connections.

Why wait for a response to an email when you get a quicker answer over instant messaging? Thanks to Facebook, some questions can be answered without asking them. You don't need to ask a friend whether she has left work, if she has updated her public "status" on the site telling the world so. Email, stuck in the era of attachments, seems boring compared to services like Google Wave . . . .

Well, reports of email’s death appear to be exaggerated. Just this week, Google announced it was discontinuing Google Wave. The service Google had hoped would replace Gmail simply did not attract enough users.

So how do we explain email’s victory over an opponent as technically advanced as Google Wave? After all, Google Wave could do everything email could do, and many things beyond, including almost real-time collaboration on documents.

Besides the obvious reason – that people are satisfied with their email service and did not see the need to change – the succession of events highlights two particular trends taking place on the Internet today.

1. Google Wave, like many new technological innovations, is part of a glut of products being created much faster than they can be consumed by a critical mass of people.

Many top technology blogs feature reviews of new software packages with stunning new capabilities. The next day, there will be a new batch of product reviews. The result is the accumulation of technology that has not yet found its use by the people.

Products that catch on today are often diverted from their original intention by users. Twitter, for example, was originally created to help people keep up with friends through frequent updates of mundane activities. As the adoption rate grew, users – not Twitter managment the company – established norms such as the “retweet” and the hashtag organizing system. The service rose as a major communications tool during the attack on Mumbai, as people posted information in near-real time.

So email will survive because people already know how they plan to use it. Google Wave may have increased those options, but its failure to catch on indicates that there is little demand for a quantum leap in email capability.

2. Email allows users to resist infomation overload.

Being connected to the net full time may quicken the pace of productivity, but it also leads to burnout and a need for retreat. While it might be frustrating to “wait for a response to an email,” at least we get to set the pace of our communications.

Ironically, the same term was used about the need to sort out the glut of emails people would find when they arrived to work each morning. How much more it would apply to day’s work environment.

Previously in Alex's series: Escaping the Internet’s Echo Chamber

 
This Date in Blog History

I'm looking back at some old Backspin posts dated August 12 -- today. Two in particular stand out.

In 2008, we cited a hyperlink to the Hamas "military wing" web site on The Guardian's Israel page. The Gardian still links to that Hamas web site, even though it's on the UK Home Office's list of proscribed terrorist groups.

On this day in 2007, the Sunday Telegraph reported that Hezbollah was purchasing land throughout southern Lebanon. Any tie in to last week's border clash?

 

Wednesday, August 11 2010

6 Reasons You Won't See Any Photos of an Anti-Hamas Electricity Rally

AFP reports that Hamas police violently broke up a protest against electricity cuts. Here are six reasons you  won't see any wire photos of this:

1. Hamas only allows journalists to cover anti-Israel vigils.

2. Identifying photo credits would endanger the photographer, and threaten access for his or her news agency.

3. Free lance photographers who lack the support of a news agency aren't going to place their careers and freedom at risk.

4. Any photographer tipped off ahead of time would risk being associated with the PFLP, which organized the rally.

5. Using stock photos of anti-Israel electricity protests is closer to Big Media's groupthink that everything's Israel's fault anyway.

6. Burying the coverage obviates the need for images anyway.

 

Tuesday, August 10 2010

Hamas: The Grinch That Ruins Ramadan

In Gaza, pre-Ramadan shopping's in full-swing. This from Reuters:

Colourful lines of candies, dairy products, pickles, dates and snacks crowd market stall and shelves of stores in Gaza City's main market that were scantily stocked last year . . .

Pre-Ramadan shoppers were drawn to exotic labels and brands unseen for a few years, including many made-in-Israel goods.

The shelves are full of different kinds of dates, an essential Ramadan delicacy now imported from various countries.

But a Hamas witch-hunt for collaborators -- real and imagined -- may ruin the holiday cheer. According to YNet News:

News stories about bodies found at sea are occasionally published by Gaza newspapers. The number of such bodies isn't huge, yet not all those drowning victims chose to go swimming voluntarily. The Gazans who found their death at sea include mid-level officials at sensitive government ministries, the Interior Ministry for example, alongside police and security officers.

Some of them were shot in the head before being sent on their swim.

If you think Hamas wouldn't wage a violent campaign during the Muslim holy month, which begins on Wednesday, think again. The 1973 Yom Kippur war is referred to by Arabs as The Ramadan War; it's but one of many Arab battles fought during Ramadan.

My understanding is that Ramadan -- among other things -- is a time of reconciliation among Muslims. Doesn't sound like the kind of holiday spirit anyone would associate with Hamas.

 
Hamas Finally Has a Calming Effect

Maybe the calming effect on all the people standing around as Hamas burns marijuana will lead to some kind of peace breakthrough.

Hamas_burns_mj


 

Monday, August 9 2010

Swedish Photojournalist Slams Israel For Targeting Gaza Jacuzzis

From Sweden Israel and the Jews blog:

Helsingborgs Dagblad decided yesterday to run a review by Sören Sommelius on photographer Kent Klich’s book Gaza Photo Album. The book displays pictures of Gaza homes after “Operation Cast Lead” at the beginning of last year. The book aims to highlight the destruction of the Palestinian homes but it also manages to give a key insight into the wealth that in fact exists in Gaza today; wealth which all Swedish media outlets refrain from reporting on in their reporting of the situation in Gaza . . .

Sommelius ends his article by writing:

-“ Klich’s photographs are registered, they are documentation of the Israeli army’s war crimes. In a just world the IDF’s commanders and government officials would have been put to question in trials for what took place. The pictures are proof of what happened and are therefore also accusations, pictures which accuse [Israel] of ‘crimes against humanity’”.

To which Israel-Sweden responds:
I beg to differ. The pictures taken by Kent Klich portray the true reality in Gaza; due to the corrupt Hamas led government some people in Gaza, as can be seen in the pictures, can and are living in luxury. Their living standards before the war were far better than that of the Swedish immigrants living in the neighborhoods of Rosengård in Malmö.

Here's the jacuzzi in question:

Gaza_jacuzzi

 
 
Legal Beagles Weigh in on Right of Return, Mavi Marmara

Intl_justice2 A first of its kind position paper says there's no legal basis for the Palestinian right of return. YNet News writes:

Law professor Yaffa Zilbershatz: "We reviewed all of the international law in the field and the normal range of human rights, the field of laws of citizenship and the field of laws of refugee rights and we have shown that there are no grounds for the Palestinian claim that their right of return has a basis in law. The opposite is true: In 1948, when the refugee problem was born, return was not an option, and the prevailing trend was opposite to this – to separate the sides, sometimes even by force through population transfer. The interesting thing is that this is also the trend gaining ground today in the UN.

In an unrelated piece, a Turkish jurist says Mavi Marmara organizers violated international law. Malam picked up on that article published in one of Turkey's opposition papers. Among the issues raised:

B. According to international naval law, a ship is suspected of not sailing under a national flag, it is legitimate to board [forces] on such a ship, even in time of peace. If a ship flies two or more flags and exploits them for its own interests because it does not belong to a specific nationality, it will be considered a vessel without nationality. The Mavi Marmara was flying the Comoros flag, but [de facto] it was sailing under the Turkish flag. "Under international law, the situation created full legitimization for Israel to board it by force."

C. "Justly or unjustly," the Gaza Strip region is a war zone under Israeli control. A ship sailing into a war zone and openly stating that is its destination exposes itself, according to the international laws of combat, to the legitimate intervention of the [other] side in the war to board the ship even if it is in international waters . . .

E. According to the international laws of combat, there is no absolute prohibition against the killing of civilians.3

Malam explains the latter point in this footnote:

3 Since the sentence was written in the context of the affair of the Mavi Marmara, apparently its intention is that according to international law there is no prohibition against killing civilians in self defense when forces are in danger.
 

Sunday, August 8 2010

Escaping the Internet’s Echo Chamber

HonestReporting's social media editor, Alex Margolin, contributes occasional posts on social media issues. He oversees HonestReporting on Facebook.

Personalization The rise of social media has made it easier to share information and to promote important ideas. Even a short amount of time spent on Twitter or even Facebook will reveal a massive number of posts containing links to online content people want to share with their friends and online acquaintances.

Increasingly, people are getting their news from these sources instead of traditional media outlets. In many cases, people no longer feel they need to follow traditional sources of information at all. If something is worthy of their attention, they reason, it will ultimately find its way into “the conversation” online.

This sort of democratization of media – where everyone can post a link to an article or blog post, or even write their own article or blog post – is often cited as one of the biggest benefits of the social web. Indeed, thanks to Google’s PagerRank algorithm, every link is viewed as a “vote” for content on Google’s search engine, the most important aggregator of content on the Internet.

But the increase in available content has also generated a parallel need to filter information. With so much content coming from every direction, people have found it essential to limit their consumption of media to sources they trust and value.

One popular form of filtering is known as “personalization.” This is one of the fundamental principles of sites like  Facebook, where our “news stream” shows us what our friends are doing, but nothing else. Personalization is appealing because it keeps us connected with the people we trust most.

At the same time, personalization contributes to a different phenomenon increasing across the Internet – the atomization of audiences into narrow affinity groups, many of which never interact with one another online.

The result is a form of echo chamber, where we hear our own opinions echoed back to us by like-minded people. The effect strengthens our convictions on many issues, but closes us off to alternative viewpoints.

It even happens on sites with no agenda other than to sell us things we like, such as Amazon.com. The site personalizes its services by storing information about their visitors and creating individualized recommendations. As such, people see more of what they have purchased before, and less of everything else.

In the book, The Wisdom of Crowds, published in 2004, a few years before sites like Facebook and Twitter had even been created, James Surowiecki warned about the need for diversity in groups.

Homogenized groups become cohesive more easily than diverse groups, and as they become more cohesive they also become more dependent on the group, more insulated from outside opinions, and therefore more convinced that the group’s judgment on important issues must be right. These kinds of groups share an illusion of invulnerability, a willingness to rationalize possible counterarguments to the group’s position, and a conviction that dissent is not useful.

The current trends on the Internet, however, make diversity within groups more difficult. On the other hand, the Internet also provides a smorgasbord of opinions from the widest possible spectrum. All that’s needed is a willingness to look for it.

Previously in Alex's series: Google Earth and the Rise of "Neogeography"

 

Friday, August 6 2010

Dead Photojournalist Waiting To Happen

Imagine you're a soldier facing sniper fire from across the border. In the heat of combat, you see someone with equipment that is either a gun or a camera. You have only moments to determine if the figure is hostile, and make life and death decisions.

Despite all that, imagine the outrage if Karamallah Daher -- the Reuters photographer who snapped this picture -- had been shot.

Karamallah_daher
An Israeli soldier takes position at the Lebanese-Israeli border during a tree-pruning mission near Adaisseh village, southern Lebanon, August 4, 2010. The Israeli army moved a crane back into a tense frontier zone with Lebanon on Wednesday to complete the tree-pruning mission that led to the deadliest violence along the border since a 2006 war. REUTERS/Karamallah Daher

What do you suppose was going through this soldier's mind as he looked at Daher through those binoculars?

Related reading: Digital Scope Looks Like Lethal Weapon

 

Thursday, August 5 2010

Border Clash: A Case Study in Reuters Photography

Reuters_Logo The sheer number of photos involved makes this post both daunting and necessary.

Daunting, because 25 is a lot of images (and captions) to look over and post. Necessary, because this is the only way to demonstrate how far over the top Reuters photographers went in covering Tuesday's clash along the Israeli-Lebanese border. The images also raise some very troubling questions.

The Issues

1. Five photographers, (in addition to an unknown number of stringers) from one news service covering what was supposed to be routine IDF border maintenance work is astounding.

The Reuters photographers identified with photo credits are Ali Hashisho, Hamad Almakt, Kamel Jaber, Baz Ratner, and Karamallah Daher (not to be confused with AP photographer Ronith Daher who also covered the border skirmish). Ratner and Almakt worked on the Israeli side of the border. The rest of the images are from the Lebanese side.

2. Reuters' coverage and access to so many positions along the border makes us wonder if some or all of these photographers expected to "only" cover IDF gardening or the start of the next Lebanon war.

Reuters' photos simply blew away the other news agencies. Had the skirmish escalated, the wire service would have been well-poised to produce lots of gory images of dead and injured Lebanese soldiers and civilians.

3. It's reasonable to assume Reuters' picture desk staff and editors knew what was going on. There's no way the picture desk could have been flooded with these kinds of images without higher ups wondering how so many photographers were able to share the same scoop.

4. Some images of Israeli soldiers taken from the Lebanese side of the border are so close, it's a miracle that more journalists weren't killed or injured by IDF fire. In the heat of battle, it's very easy to confuse large camera equipment, like a zoom lens, with a weapon.

As it was, Assaf Abu Rahhal of the pro-Syrian paper, al-Akhbar was killed, while Ali Chouaib of Hezbollah's Al-Manar was injured.

5. Seven of the 25 pictures (28 percent) have an unidentified "stringer" photo credit; this is very suspicious and leaves a lot of unanswered questions as to who the photographers are.

Common practice is for stringers -- local free-lance photographers not employed by the news service -- to be credited by name, followed by the word "Stringer" or "STR" to indicate the photographer's status. None of the seven stringer photo credits identified anyone by name.

6. One photographer deserving closer scrutiny is Ali Hashisho. Judging from his especially close access and captions, it's worth asking if Hashisho also serves in the Lebanese Army, UNIFIL, or some other position that might be a conflict of interest with his work for Reuters.

7. We linked to the images on DayLife for further documentation.

8. HonestReporting obtained six unpublished graphic photos which we are including in this post. Despite their graphic nature, we are including those images because they further demonstrate the unrestricted access the Reuters photographers enjoyed. All are branded with Reuters watermarks.

9. It should be noted that Reuters wasn't the only agency with photographers on scene. AP, for example, had its own photographic issues which we blogged Tuesday night. However, for the reasons listed above, we're singling out Reuters for special attention.


The Photographs


Reuters01

Israeli soldiers hold weapons at a look out point in Kibbutz Misgav Am near the border with Lebanon August 3, 2010. Israeli and Lebanese troops fought a rare cross-border skirmish on Tuesday that killed four Lebanese and an Israeli officer in the most serious violence along the frontier since a 2006 war. REUTERS/Hamad Almakt


Reuters02


The body of Assaf Abu Rahhal, a reporter and photographer, and correspondent for al-Akhbar newspaper, is seen after he was killed during clashes between Lebanese and Israeli soldiers at Adaisseh village, southern Lebanon August 3, 2010. Israeli and Lebanese troops fought a rare cross-border skirmish on Tuesday that killed four Lebanese and an Israeli officer in the most serious violence along the frontier since a 2006 war. Reuters/Ali Hashisho


Reuters03

An Israeli soldier holds a machine gun atop an armoured jeep near the border with Lebanon August 3, 2010. Israeli and Lebanese troops fought a rare cross-border skirmish on Tuesday that killed four Lebanese and an Israeli officer in the most serious violence along the frontier since a 2006 war. Reuters/Baz Ratner

Reuters04

An United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) employee walks past a burnt field after clashes between Lebanese and Israeli soldiers at Adaisseh village, southern Lebanon August 3, 2010. Israeli and Lebanese troops fought a rare cross-border skirmish on Tuesday that killed four Lebanese and an Israeli officer in the most serious violence along the frontier since a 2006 war. REUTERS/Ali Hashisho


Reuters05

Assaf Abu Rahhal, a reporter and photographer, and correspondent for al-Akhbar newspaper, who died during clashes between Lebanese and Israeli soldiers at Adaisseh village, southern Lebanon is seen in this undated handout obtained August 3, 2010. Rahhal was one of four Lebanese killed in a rare cross-border skirmish on Tuesday between Israeli and Lebanese troops. An Israeli officer was also killed in the most serious violence along the frontier since a 2006 war. REUTERS/ Handout


Reuters06

Lebanese soldiers take up position as U.N peacekeepers (in blue berets) gesture towards Israeli soldiers at the Lebanese-Israeli border in Adaisseh village, southern Lebanon August 3, 2010. REUTERS/ STR


 

Reuters07

Zahiya Hamoushi, a villager, reacts during clashes between Lebanese and Israeli soldiers at Adaisseh village, southern Lebanon August 3, 2010. Israeli and Lebanese troops fought a rare cross-border skirmish on Tuesday that killed four Lebanese and an Israeli officer in the most serious violence along the frontier since a 2006 war. REUTERS/Ali Hashisho


Reuters08

U.N peacekeepers in armoured vehicles inspect the area where clashes between Lebanese and Israeli soldiers took place at Adaisseh village, southern Lebanon August 3, 2010. Israeli and Lebanese troops fought a rare cross-border skirmish on Tuesday that killed four Lebanese and an Israeli officer in the most serious violence along the frontier since a 2006 war. Reuters/Ali Hashisho


Reuters09

Remains of a dead Lebanese soldier are seen scattered on a street at a checkpoint for the Lebanese army at Adaisseh village, southern Lebanon August 3, 2010. Israeli and Lebanese troops fought a rare cross-border skirmish on Tuesday that killed four Lebanese and an Israeli officer in the most serious violence along the frontier since a 2006 war.  REUTERS/Ali Hashisho


Reuters10

A rifle lies on the boot and part of a dead Lebanese soldier's leg at Adaisseh village, southern Lebanon August 3, 2010. An Israeli helicopter on Tuesday fired two missiles at a Lebanese army post near the southern border village of Adaisseh, destroying an armoured personnel carrier, a security source said. A Lebanese journalist and three Lebanese soldiers died after the Israeli and Lebanese armies exchanged fire in the border area, a security source said. REUTERS/Ali Hashisho


 

Reuters11

A dead Lebanese soldier lies on a street at Adaisseh village, southern Lebanon August 3, 2010. An Israeli helicopter on Tuesday fired two missiles at a Lebanese army post near the southern border village of Adaisseh, destroying an armoured personnel carrier, a security source said. A Lebanese journalist and three Lebanese soldiers died after the Israeli and Lebanese armies exchanged fire in the border area, a security source said.REUTERS/Ali Hashisho


 

Reuters12

A dead Lebanese soldier lies on a street at Adaisseh village, southern Lebanon August 3, 2010. An Israeli helicopter on Tuesday fired two missiles at a Lebanese army post near the southern border village of Adaisseh, destroying an armoured personnel carrier, a security source said. A Lebanese journalist and three Lebanese soldiers died after the Israeli and Lebanese armies exchanged fire in the border area, a security source said. REUTERS/ Ali Hashisho


Reuters13

Lebanese medics and soldiers lift a Lebanese soldier wounded by an Israeli tank, onto a stretcher at Adaisseh village, village southern Lebanon August 3, 2010. An Israeli helicopter on Tuesday fired two missiles at a Lebanese army post near the southern border village of Adaisseh, destroying an armoured personnel carrier, a security source said. A Lebanese journalist and three Lebanese soldiers died after the Israeli and Lebanese armies exchanged fire in the border area, a security source said. REUTERS/Ali Hashisho


Reuters14

A Lebanese soldier wounded by an Israeli tank, lies on a street at Adaisseh village, southern Lebanon August 3, 2010. An Israeli helicopter on Tuesday fired two missiles at a Lebanese army post near the southern border village of Adaisseh, destroying an armoured personnel carrier, a security source said. A Lebanese journalist and three Lebanese soldiers died after the Israeli and Lebanese armies exchanged fire in the border area, a security source said. Reuters/Ali Hashisho


Reuters15

Civilians help a wounded Lebanese soldier at Adaisseh village, southern Lebanon August 3, 2010. An Israeli helicopter on Tuesday fired two missiles at a Lebanese army post near the southern border village of Adaisseh, destroying an armoured personnel carrier, a security source said. A Lebanese journalist and three Lebanese soldiers died after the Israeli and Lebanese armies exchanged fire in the border area, a security source said. Reuters/Kamel Jaber


Reuters16

A Lebanese soldier helps a wounded soldier at Adaisseh village, southern Lebanon August 3, 2010. An Israeli helicopter on Tuesday fired two missiles ata Lebanese army post near the southern border village of Adaisseh, destroying an armoured personnel carrier, a security source said. A Lebanese journalist and three Lebanese soldiers died after the Israeli and Lebanese armies exchanged fire in the border area, a security source said. REUTERS/Ali Hashisho

 

Reuters17

An U.N. peacekeeper waves a United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) flag at Israeli soldiers on the Lebanese-Israeli border at Adaisseh village,southern Lebanon August 3, 2010. An Israeli helicopter on Tuesday fired two missiles at a Lebanese army post near the southern border village of Adaisseh, destroying an armoured personnel carrier, a security source said. A Lebanese journalist and three Lebanese soldiers died after the Israeli and Lebanese armies exchanged fire in the border area, a security source said. REUTERS/STR


Reuters18

Lebanese soldiers and U.N. peacekeepers (L and 3rd L) stand at the Lebanese-Israeli border in Adaisseh village, southern Lebanon August 3, 2010. An Israelihelicopter on Tuesday fired two missiles at a Lebanese army post near the southern border village of Adaisseh, destroying an armoured personnel carrier, a security source said. A Lebanese journalist and three Lebanese soldiers died after the Israeli and Lebanese armies exchanged fire in the border area, a security source said. REUTERS/STR


Reuters19

Lebanese soldiers take up position as U.N peacekeepers (in blue berets) gesture towards Israeli soldiers at the Lebanese-Israeli border in Adaisseh village,southern Lebanon August 3, 2010. An Israeli helicopter on Tuesday fired two missiles at a Lebanese army post near the southern border village of Adaisseh, destroying an armoured personnel carrier, a security source said. A Lebanese journalist and three Lebanese soldiers died after the Israeli and Lebanese armies exchanged fire in the border area, a security source said. REUTERS/STR


Reuters20

An Israeli soldier is seen on a crane on the Lebanese side of the Lebanese-Israeli border near Adaisseh village, southern Lebanon August 3, 2010. Israeliartillery shelled the Lebanese village on Tuesday, wounding two people, after Lebanese Army troops fired warning shots at Israeli soldiers along the usually quiet but tense frontier, witnesses said. REUTERS/STR


Reuters21

Israeli soldiers take up position near the border with Lebanon August 3, 2010. Israeli artillery shelled a Lebanese village on Tuesday, wounding two people,after Lebanese Army troops fired warning shots at Israeli soldiers along the usually quiet but tense frontier, witnesses said. REUTERS/Hamad Almakt


Reuters22

An Israeli soldier is seen on a crane on the Lebanese side on the Lebanese-Israeli borders near Adaisseh village, southern Lebanon, August 3, 2010. Israeli artillery shelled a Lebanese village Tuesday, wounding two people, after Lebanese Army troops fired warning shots at Israeli soldiers along the usually quiet but tense frontier, witnesses said. REUTERS/Stringer


Reuters23

U.N. peacekeepers gesture and shout at Israeli soldiers on the Lebanese-Israeli borders near Adaisseh village, southern Lebanon, August 3, 2010. Israeli artillery shelled a Lebanese village Tuesday, wounding two people, after Lebanese Army troops fired warning shots at Israeli soldiers along the usually quiet but tense frontier, witnesses said. REUTERS/STR


Reuters24

Lebanese soldiers and U.N peacekeepers patrol the area near Adaisseh village, southern Lebanon August 3, 2010. Israeli artillery shelled the Lebanese village Tuesday, wounding two people, after Lebanese Army troops fired warning shots at Israeli soldiers along the usually quiet but tense frontier, witnesses said. REUTERS/ Karmallah Daher


Reuters25

U.N peacekeepers on their armoured vehicles patrol Adaisseh village, southern Lebanon August 3, 2010. Israeli artillery shelled the Lebanese village onTuesday, wounding two people, after Lebanese Army troops fired warning shots at Israeli soldiers along the usually quiet but tense frontier, witnesses said. REUTERS/ Karamallah Daher

 

Troubling Questions

The pattern we see in these 25 images raises serious questions about Reuters.

1. How were five photographers encouraged to cover routine IDF maintenance work -- which is simply non-news? Who tipped them off, and why?

2. How did Reuters photographers get such wide, unrestricted access to the combat zone?

3. Who are the unidentified stringers? Do they, or any of the five identified photographers, have any conflicts of interest requiring disclosure, in the interests of ethical journalism? Why did Reuters break with journalistic norms and not credit seven images with the photographer's name? 

4. Is it fair to say that the Lebanese source who tipped off journalists to be in the Adaisseh area of the border bears responibility for the death of Assaf Abu Rahhal?

5. Did any higher ups in the Reuters chain of command raise any questions?

 
Canadian Media Bark Up the Wrong Tree In Lebanon Ambush

A special analysis of the Canadian media's coverage of recent skirmishes between Israel and Lebanon.

See HonestReporting Canada's latest report: Canadian Media Bark up the Wrong Tree in Lebanon Ambush

 

Wednesday, August 4 2010

News You Might Have Missed

With all the sturm und drang over yesterday's border clash, here are some other developments you might have missed.

Watch: PA Raids Ma'an's Nablus Station
PA raid caught on video and posted on YouTube.

UN-Listed "Terror Front' Group Leads Flood Relief in Pakistan
If only Palestinian charity groups got the same scrutiny . . .

Netanyahu Hopes to Save Face In UN Raid Inquiry
Will five separate inquiries into the flotilla affair be enough to satisfy world opinion?

 
A Pre-Arranged Spontaneous Border War?

UNIFIL_and_LAF Tim Marshall of Sky News hits the nail on the head:

The small southern Lebanese village of Adeesa is not known as a place journalists hang out in in case something happens. So it's curious that several Lebanese reporters, cameramen and photographers were there with the Lebanon Army before Tuesday's shooting match with Israel.

The Israelis often cut down/trim the trees at that location of the border as it is high ground and gives them a clear line of sight down into the Lebanese villages. On Tuesday, the IDF Tree Surgeons Brigade, or whatever it is called, as is usual, informed the UN of plans to clear trees on their side. This was at 0600 and the job would begin at 0900. The UN requested a delay to prepare their monitoring force, told the Lebanese Army of the timings, and the clearing began at 11.00.

The United Nations has made clear that the Israelis were operating on their own side of the border, and frequently conduct brush clearing and tree felling. This has always been watched by the Lebanese Army, usually without incident.

The Israeli media were either unaware of Tuesday routine plans or didn't deem them newsworthy - 'IDF cuts down tree again shock!' would have been trimmed by the editor.

But, across the border by 11.00 the Lebanese media had gathered to film this routine event. Which begs the question; Why? One of them paid with his life,killed by Israeli fire, another was shot in the leg. At least 3 Lebanese soldiers died as did a senior Israeli officer.

There is no proof that someone on the Lebanese side tipped the media off that a routine operation was about to turn into a major incident which someone wanted to be filmed. But it's quite a coincidence.

Related reading: A Deadly Game in Lebanon
 
Photo Bias Rampant In the Media

Do news photos reveal the truth or distort reality? Yarden Frankl and I discuss newspapers use images to promote their own narrative about the Middle East conflict.

 
Border Clash: Confirmations on the Day After

The Lebanese army admits it opened fire first in yesterday's clash.

UNIFIL admits the tree in question was in Israeli territory.

Will Robert Fisk admit that the IDF has been doing border maintenance for years without any incident?

 
Special Alert: Media Collusion In Lebanon Ambush
What were photographers and journalists doing at the scene of the incident before a deadly exchange of fire between Lebanese and Israeli forces?

See HonestReporting's Special Alert: Media Collusion in Lebanon Ambush

 


HR Links


HR Social Media


Featured Blogs


Featured Links

 
Media Backspin