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Thursday, August 10 2006

Editor: Photos From Lebanon Can't Be Trusted

CameraIn a damnng commentary, Jules Crittenden, an editor at the Boston Herald, says news photos coming out of Lebanon can’t be considered reliable anymore:

Rank or perhaps willful ignorance of the realities of warfare is also demonstrated by photos such as a car allegedly hit by an Israeli airstrike that looks like it’s been in a bad fender bender, with no sign of the kind of blast damage a car hit by a missile or bomb would have sustained. You’d think after handling three years of war photos out of Iraq, not to mention the many wars of preceding decades, photo editors might be more conversant with the particulars of the subject.

The question is, why would photo editors who presumeably are looking at a chronological series of photos from any given scene, fall for tricks that have been uncovered by amateurs?

Because people see what they want to see. Magicians and scammers have known this since the time of the pharoahs. Psychological studies have confirmed it is true.

In Lebanon, where Hezbollah has made widespread use of human shields, firing missiles on Israel from positions dug in next to UN observer posts and within inhabited villages, what the international press has wanted to see and has reported is evidence of Israeli war crimes. Until now, Hezbollah and photographers like Hajj have been able to ensure that they will.

Everyone in the news business gets taken for a ride sooner or later. It’s an occupational hazard. What is surprising is the scale of it in Lebanon. And what is tragic about this is, as a Boston Herald photo editor noted, editors everywhere can no longer trust the pictures from Lebanon. The public cannot know what is staged and what is real. They cannot know the true scope of the devastation that Hezbollah’s aggression against Israel and its cynical tactics have brought on the Lebanese people. The con artists have shafted themselves and their own people with their cheap tricks.

Read the full commentary.



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Sadly, it won't make any difference. Most people don't read weblogs and will be unaware of the fakery. Old Media editors will continue to use staged and fake photographs that favor their politically preferred side. The con artists are succeeding.

One can only hope that enough of this leaks in to the zeitgeist over time that the American Street realizes how unreal such coverage is.

What I find extremely disturbing is the apparent anti-Israeli bias shown by most of the media outlets covering these events. While these organizations(BBC,Reuters. APTN and AFP)profess to adhering to strict objectivity, one would have to be a simpleton not to see the pro-Islamic bias exhibited. It is also obvious that no responsible parties in these same organizations are independently verifying these reports and photographs for accuracy, ultimately undermining any reputation for honest reporting they may have accrued in the past. It is time the public was made aware that Hamas and Hezbollah have the International press wrapped around their little fingers and are orchestrating how and what the public knows about this conflict. My confidence in the accurate, objective reporting by the international press has been destroyed by numerous revelations in the last month or two by bloggers, not the media, regarding faked and staged photographs and APTN's cozy (and lucrative) business dealings with Arab states to provide their version of news events. If it weren't for bloggers like we would still be ignorant of the manipulation of public perception by the media.

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