Disgraced Reuters freelance photographer Adnan Hajj was dismissed by the wire service for altering a photograph of a Lebanese skyline to make the damage caused by Israel look worse (big hat tip to Charles Johnston at Little Green Footballs, who first uncovered the fake photo). More photos by Hajj are being scrutinized, and at least one other photo has been proven to have been digitally altered.
In the ongoing investigation of a Lebanese photographer that has been caught with his hand in the Photoshop jar as reported by NewsBusters here and here, Reuters has made the following announcement:
Reuters withdrew all 920 photographs by a freelance Lebanese photographer from its database on Monday after an urgent review of his work showed he had altered two images from the conflict between Israel and the armed group Hizbollah.
Global Picture Editor Tom Szlukovenyi called the measure precautionary but said the fact that two of the images by photographer Adnan Hajj had been manipulated undermined trust in his entire body of work.
Apparently, Reuters is taking this very seriously:
This one is pretty amazing (hat tip to Drudge). At 8:29AM ET Monday, Reuters reported that 40 people were killed in a Lebanese village by Israeli air strikes. Less than three hours later, the Associated Press reported that the number of casualties had been dropped to one. Here’s the first report:
"An hour ago, a horrific massacre took place in Houla village as a result of the intentional Israeli bombardment that resulted in more than 40 martyrs," Prime Minister Fouad Siniora told an emergency Arab foreign ministers meeting in Beirut.
Residents of Houla said they feared up to 60 people, including many children, had been killed. They said most of the people were shepherds who had refused to flee the fighting.
The hot story in the blog world today is the story of Adnan Hajj, a photographer for the Reuters news service who has been exposed as faking shots in his work, most famously, a photograph of a suburb of Beirut, Lebanon in which he inserted fake smoke into the picture to make it look as though Israel was targeting civilians.
Use this thread to post relevant information about the story from blogs and elsewhere. Note to NB contribs: Email me if you want to get in on editing this thread so you won't have to post updates as comments.
Fox News’s Neal Gabler was on quite a roll on Saturday's "Fox News Watch." Apart from taking on Mel Gibson as reported by NewsBuster Mark Finkelstein, he also went after conservative columnist Michelle Malkin referring to her as an "opinion monger" (video to follow).
The discussion centered on how the media have been reporting on the Hezbollah-Israeli conflict, and, in particular, the event in Qana. Gabler, almost foaming at the mouth, went on quite a rant which included going after a Fox News contributor. Pay particular attention to Gabler's intentionally exaggerated display of disgust as he said Malkin's name:
UPDATE: As commenter "Sua Sponte 75" noted, Reuters has issued a "Picture Kill Advisory" (link is to Michelle Malkin, as original PKA appears to have been moved) and has admitted altering the photo. Drudge is currently linking to the story at the very top of his page. To the extent that an organization like Reuters cares about such things, it appears that it has been humiliated.
Commenter "Ten7s" asks a reasonable question -- "Makes me wonder how much deft photo manipulation gets printed in the media." Indeed. _________________________________
Every once in a while you want to tell yourself that media bias is accidental and not deliberate, a sort of "they can't help themselves" phenomenon.
This is NOT one of those times.
Here is a photo published by Reuters that is captioned, "Smoke billows from burning buildings destroyed during an overnight Israeli air raid on Beirut's suburbs August 5, 2006. Many buildings were flattened during the attack. (Adnan Hajj/Reuters)":
Numerous bloggers and others have pointed out that the image has been heavily photoshopped. Some of them include:
The New York Times has done it again. In their latest soft selling of the terror organization, Hezbullah, The Times is revealing the kinder, gentler side of the outlaw group to help us all better understand how wonderful they really are. Even the title almost seems nice...
But wait! Apparently The New York Times thought even that title was too harsh. They later changed the name of the piece to "Charity Wins Deep Loyalty for Hezbollah". Best to get that nasty "gun" word out of there, I suppose. Why, we can't expect people in America to come to love Hezbullah like the TImes does if people think they are somehow connected to guns after all!
At CNN, the moral relativism never ends. In the wake of shootings by a Muslim at a Seattle Jewish center that left one person dead and others injured, CNN somehow managed to equate the fears of American Jews that there could be other such incidents . . . with the fears of American supporters of Hezbollah.
The focus of the 'Safe at Home?' segment narrated by CNN's Kelli Arena on today's Saturday Morning show was indeed the aftermath of that Seattle shooting, and how Jewish groups around the country are expressing fears and taking precautions.
But you could almost hear the CNN producer's gears grinding: "Wait! We can't have a segment that focuses exclusively on Jewish fears. Quick: get me some balance!" What CNN came up with was an interview with Rami Nuseir, an Arab-American activist.
CNN's Arena started the relativistic slide by claiming that the FBI's program of reaching out to Arab-American leaders for help in identifying potential threats has 'backfired': "Arab-Americans feel as though they are constantly under suspicion."
If the Israeli "massacre" at Qana turns out to be yet another fraud, you can count on the media to quietly let the story slip away, a contrast from the media fireworks that were present when the story was announced. A simple "we were wrong" is is much more embarrassing than hoping everyone will forget the original hype.
As the world watches events unfold in the Middle East from the comfort of their living rooms, evidence is mounting that Hezbollah is using the media in a fashion that would make Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels extremely proud. Such an assertion has far reaching implications to be sure, as it points an accusatory finger at the behavior of the American press as well.
Supporting this contention is a paper written in 1948 by Yale psychology professor Leonard W. Doob entitled “Goebbels’ Principles of Propaganda.” In it, Doob enunciated the famed Nazi’s nineteen-point plan for the effective use of the media to advance Germany’s goals.
Fifty-eight years later, a Haaretz article published Thursday outlined the power of the Hezbollah propaganda machine. So coordinated are these efforts that it is easy to imagine the terrorist organization using Goebbels’ principles as a virtual playbook while it molds events and news reports to impact international opinion. The article began:
For Fox News fans who like Alan Colmes almost as much as they like Eleanor Clift or Helen Thomas, Wednesday night’s “Hannity and Colmes” was a blessed event (hat tip to Expose the Left with a video link to follow).
In a special Wednesday night edition of our ongoing “Friday Night Fights” series, in the left corner, Alan “I’m only here to disagree with everything my more intelligent partner says” Colmes. In the right corner, Mark “The Great One” Levin. Let’s get ready to rrrrrrrummmmmbbbble.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz did a report Thursday (hat tip to Drudge) on the Hezbollah propaganda machine. As one reads the revelations about how this terrorist group uses the media to affect opinion in Lebanon, Israel, and across the globe, it is difficult not to wonder what impact similar efforts by liberal press representatives in America is having on the war in Iraq as well as the war on terrorism.
If Hezbollah-run media are to be believed, then 35 Israel Defense Forces soldiers were killed or wounded in Aita Shaab, militants downed an Israeli helicopter and destroyed a house in which IDF soldiers were hiding, and IDF troops are always hit in the back because they are running away.
Appearing on FNC's The O'Reilly Factor Wednesday, former CBS News anchor Dan Rather conceded there's a "problem" with America's media in its treatment of Hezbollah and Israel with "moral equivalence," even including himself as part of the problem. As host Bill O'Reilly brought up the topic, stating his criticism that "Some networks give moral equivalency to Hezbollah in the reporting of this war," Rather voiced agreement and went on to acknowledge the media's reluctance to label Hezbollah as a "terrorist organization." Rather: "It's a problem that those of us in journalism have been reluctant to address -- I do not exclude myself from this criticism -- reluctant to address that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization. It's committed to the destruction of Israel. It isn't committed to trying to just gain territory. It's committed to its destruction." (Transcript follows)
The Financial Times, as posted by MSNBC.com, has unilaterally promoted Hezbollah to a state and re-introduced Syria into Lebanese affairs. On a piece describing the ongoing cease-fire negotiations at the UN, FT said this:
Any agreement between Washington and Paris, as well as London, would
also need approval from other Security Council members such as Russia,
buy-in from Israel, Lebanon and Hizbollah, and the acquiescence of
Hizbollah is a militia. It's not a state, it's not treated like a state, and it doesn't have negotiating power. I suppose ever since the UN let Arafat carry a pistol onto the floor of the General Assembly, and created a special status for the PLO, this line - like much of the UN's vision - has been a little blurry. Still, when there's an existing resolution, 1559, calling for the dismantlement of this militia, saying that a Security Council resolution has to go to Bint Jubeil or Baalbek for approval is making some rather astonishing leaps.
The Jerusalem Post reports today that the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is investigating arguments, first raised by bloggers, that Hamas may have staged the alleged "atrocity" that occurred when building collapsed in the Lebanese city of Qana.
As reported by NewsBusters and elsewhere, significant doubts are being raised as to whether the building's collapse was caused by Israeli bombs or was deliberately destroyed by Hamas to gin up anti-Israeli sentiment.
Mentioned prominently in the article is NewsBuster Bob Owens's blog, Confederate Yankee, which in the fine MSM tradition of accuracy, is called "Conservative Yankee" by the Post. (See Bob's response post here.)
An excerpt from the JP article is after the jump...
A wave of New Testament fever seems to be gripping liberal media types. As reported here, during a recent Good Morning America, Chris Cuomo stated that the Gospel of John identifies Qana as the place where Jesus turned water into wine. Who would have imagined that Adam Shatz - of the far-left Nation magazine - would be a New Testament maven? But, saints alive, he leads his op-ed in today's LA Times with the very same story.
What could account for this new-found interest in the New Testament? You don't suppose it could have anything to do with a desire to add fuel to the anti-Israel fire in the wake of its bombing of Qana, do you?
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Tuesday night targeted "comedian" Rush Limbaugh as his “Worst Person in the World” for “suggesting that civilian deaths in Lebanon are necessary to stop terror.” Employing a mockingly braggadocios voice to try to impersonate Limbaugh, Olbermann read a sentence from Limbaugh and then asserted that Limbaugh had echoed “something another commentator said nine years ago,” namely Osama bin Laden. Olbermann read the bin Laden quote, without any mocking impersonation, and then concluded the August 1 Countdown segment: “Rush Limbaugh, following the logic and ethics of Osama bin Laden, today's Worst Person in the World!" (Transcript follows)
Israel Insider says the Qana incident shows all the classic signs of a staged Israeli "massacre." There is even a term for such fiction, "Pallywood," as NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard reported today.
In the Qana incident, the media reports that a building collapsed and the Israeli Air Force is to blame for dozens of civilian deaths. Israel Insider, a daily Israeli newsmagazine, says they've seen this all before.
The setting was also perfect: Kana was again being used as a primary site for launching rockets against Israeli cities. The IDF reported that more than 150 rockets had been launched from Qana and its vicinity at Israeli civilians, wreaking destruction in Kiryat Shmona, Maalot, Nahariya and Haifa. It was only a matter of time before the Israeli Air Force would come for a visit, using pinpoint targeting of the sites used to launch rockets, Hezbollah logistical centers and weapon storage facilities.
On the morning of July 30, according to the IDF, the air force came in three waves. In the first, between midnight and one in the morning, there was a strike at or near the building that eventually collapsed.
In 1938, the leaders of Europe got together in Munich to, for all intents and purposes, give Czechoslovakia to Germany in exchange for peace in the region. Given the recent events in the Middle East, it quite appears that Israel – though well-intentioned – has performed the same act of appeasement with its enemies, and sadly with the same results.
Take for example the following revelation from an Associated Press article published on July 23:
Syria said it will press for a cease-fire to end the fighting but only in the framework of a broader Middle East peace initiative that would include the return of the Golan Heights.
Middle East-based reporter Neil MacFarquhar appeared on the Charlie Rose show Monday night and made anti-Bush comments regarding Israel’s war against the terrorist group Hezbollah. (All quotes courtesy of Nexis).
When Rose asks MacFarquhar if the Israel-Hezbollah war had increased hatred of the United States among Arabs, MacFarquhar became disconsolate, regretting the U.S. was expediting its supplying of weaponry to Israel and longing for the innocent milkmen of the Kennedy years:
In light of recent revelations of possible media manipulation in Qana, Lebanon, as reported by NewsBusters Monday, a 2005 video has been circulating throughout the Internet (hat tip to Ms. Underestimated with extraordinary video link to follow). In reality, this is an almost unbelievable look at how film footage from Israel that made national news after the Second Intifada began in September 2000 (including CBS’s “60 Minutes”) appears to have been staged, choreographed, and produced rather than real events that transpired in front of video cameras.
The film's producer, Dr. Richard Landes, teaches history at Boston University, and is the co-founder and Director of the Center for Millennial Studies. He also is the proprietor of The Second Draft, a website “devoted to exploring some of the problems and issues that plague modern journalism”:
Tim Russert used his Today show appearance this morning to paint a bleak tour d'horizon of Bush foreign policy, expressing the fond wish - in guise of a question - that the American people might come to their senses and throw the bums out at the mid-term elections.
Interviewed by co-host Campbell Brown, Russert first asked: "What's the end game? The concern among Republicans I've talked to is how are the American people viewing this? Is this blind allegiance to Israel or is this standing by the only ally we have in the region? They don't know how much longer there will be patience with the American people."
Russert later made the electoral connection, after casting matters in their darkest light. Rather than speaking of nascent democracies in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the current opportunity to defang Hezbollah, Russert portrayed things this way:
When the Allies faced fascist foes in WWII, they called for unconditional surrender. Confronted today by the new face of facism, the Boston Globe calls for 'unconditional, immediate cease-fire.'
By its editorial of this morning, the Globe would reward Hezbollah for its barbarous use of human shields. On the one hand, it acknowledges that the terror group 'has placed its rocket-launchers . . . unconscionably close to settled areas.' But since the result are the very civilian casualties that Hezbollah was looking to provoke, the Globe criticizes the Bush administration for its 'failure to restrain Israel.'
You’d hardly know that all of Israel is under siege. The networks would rather you stay tuned to their pictures from Lebanon. According to ABC-TV, CNN and other “Friends of Hezbollah”, never mind who started this, and forget the million and a half Israelis who’ve been made homeless.
As usual, NPR Radio is serving as propaganda minister for terror and, also as usual, Israel is at war with the press.
Or rather, the press is at war with Israel.
Any mention of the 200 bombs falling on Israel from day to night? Hardly. What about the thousands of Israelis wounded in flesh and in spirit – meaning shell-shocked today and perhaps for the rest of their lives? No, there’s no time for this. Forget Haifa’s Rambam Hospital. The pictures from Lebanon are better, much better than pictures from Meron, Israel, where seven-year-old Omer Pesachov was murdered along with his grandmother as the result of Hezbollah missiles.
Fresh from his most recent trip to the Middle East, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman returned to offer his latest rationale for Bush hatred. Appearing on yesterday's Meet the Press Friedman theorized: "What this administration has done, is actually stolen something from people. Whether it's an African or a European or an Arab or Israeli, it's that idea of an optimistic America out there. People really need that idea, and the, the sort of dark nature of the Cheneys and the Bushes and the Rices, this, this sort of relentless pessimism about the world, this exporting of fear, not hope, has really left people feeling that the idea of America has been stolen from them."
Just a week ago Friedman, right before his departure to the Mideast, sat down with NBC's Russert to espouse the miraculous benefits of a gas tax. Friedman returned just in time, to the still warm seat across from Russert, to the following welcome from the Meet the Press host:
NBC reporter Richard Engel sure has some severely selective sources. On the one hand, he's overflowing with information reinforcing the image of Hezbollah as a kindly humanitarian organization that was providing "supplies and relief" to the residents of Qana. On the other hand, he has "no evidence" that Hezbollah was using Qana residents as human shields for purposes of launching rockets.
Engel reported live from Tyre in southern Lebanon during this afternoon's 'The Most' on MSNBC, with host Alison Stewart. Speaking of events in Qana, Engel claimed:
"I got no indication [the people of Qana] were being held against their will. Just the opposite, it seemed Hezbollah was helping these people, providing them with food and water. These were some of the [poorest] people in the town, those with money had already left. They were staying in this section of town because there was food and water. Hezbollah were giving them supplies and relief."
Since the inception of NewsBusters, there have been many posts dealing with photographers that appear to be “posing” the individuals that are their subjects. On Monday, a British blog named EU Referendum posted a series of pictures and captions taken by various photographers at the devastation in Qana, Lebanon (hat tip to Rush Limbaugh).
What becomes apparent is that the same “rescue worker” is in all of these pictures, and that it appears he is involved in “posing” victims of this unfortunate incident. Furthermore, it is possible that this same individual has been doing this for some years, as a picture is shown of the same man involved in similar activities back in 1996.
As this is all too complicated to chronicle accurately without just copying this blogger’s entire post, I recommend interested readers go here and here. However, please be advised that these pictures are graphic in nature. Furthermore, this post is in no way designed to diminish the horror of this unfortunate event, but, instead, bring attention to the possibility that someone – maybe even an operative of Hezbollah – might be assisting photographers in this region to more graphically depict what is occurring.
When the Washington Post tries to condemn other newspapers as tabloid journalists, there’s always today’s paper for rebuttal. Reporter Anthony Shadid’s front-page story on the deaths of women and children at Qana carried this emotionally manipulative headline, quoting Khalil Burji, a man watching recovery efforts, after the jump on page A8, all across the page:
‘The Child Who Choked to Death, What Was His Sin?’