The declassification of parts of the National Intelligence Estimate spells out the ramifications of a major triumph in the War on Terror: the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (the report was finalized in April, before Zarqawi's death). The NIE states:
Al-Qa’ida, now merged with Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi’s network, is exploiting the situation in Iraq to attract new recruits and donors and to maintain its leadership role. • The loss of key leaders, particularly Usama Bin Ladin, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and al-Zarqawi, in rapid succession, probably would cause the group to fracture into smaller groups. Although like-minded individuals would endeavor to carry on the mission, the loss of these key leaders would exacerbate strains and disagreements.
How pathetic is it for a candidate to announce his intention to run for the presidency and the few who have heard about it greet the announcement with almost universal derision? Not quite as pathetic as a newspaper reporter who stretches a not-quite announcement into a full blown story about that candidate running for president. Such was the case with Dean Treftz of the University of Iowa student newspaper, the Daily Iowan.
In a bid to make news where none really existed, the Treftz story begins with this bold headline: "Biden says he's going to run." The story itself, like the headline, starts out boldly enough:
Remember the Reuters news vehicle that was fired upon, but not directly hit by an Israeli helicopter gunship while acting suspiciously near Israeli positions in Gaza?
The Israeli Government Press Office is now stating that they believe
armored vehicles licensed to news agencies, such as the Reuters vehicle
attacked, might be being used by terrorist groups to launch attacks against Israel:
Armored vehicles that were given to foreign news agencies operating in
the country with the authorization of the State of Israel, may be used
by hostile groups to carry out terror attacks against Israel, Director
of the Government Press Office Danny Seaman warned in a letter
addressed to Shin Bet Head Yuval Diskin.
On August 27 an Israel Defense Forces helicopter hit an armored
vehicle that belonged to the Reuters news agency in Gaza. According to
Seaman, the incident illustrated the failures in overseeing the use of
armored vehicles granted to the foreign media agencies with the
permission of the State.
The vehicle's presence in Gaza in itself constituted a violation of its
license terms, and moreover, the jeep was carrying only Palestinians –
one with links to Hamas who was not a Reuters employee.
Editor's note: Dan Riehl has uncovered some more apparent photo staging by AP photographer Bilal Hussein. Due to the graphic nature of the photos involved, we aren't posting the photos to the front page. Click the "read more" link to follow the story...
This story about a Vietnamese man who was a spy for the communists during the war as well as a reporter for Reuters and Time magazine is nothing short of an outrage. It also makes you wonder how many agents for totalitarianism are working in the press today. An's assertions of impartiality are all too familar as well. (An old MRC MediaWatch item on him is here.)
HANOI, Vietnam - Pham Xuan An, who led a remarkable and perilous double life as a communist spy and a respected reporter for Western news organizations during the Vietnam War, died Wednesday at age 79. [...]
In the history of wartime espionage, few were as successful as An. He straddled two worlds for most of the 15-year war in Indochina as an undercover communist agent while also working as a journalist, first for Reuters news service and later for 10 years as Time magazine's chief Vietnamese reporter — a role that gave him access to military bases and background briefings.
He was so well-known for his sources and insight that many Americans who knew him suspected he worked for the CIA.
Before Saigon fell to the communists, An worked to help friends escape, including South Vietnam's former security chief who feared death if he was found by northern forces. An later revealed his true identity as a Viet Cong commander, but said he never reported any false information or communist propaganda while in his role as a journalist.
AP Photographer Flees Fallujah Witnesses US Helicopter Kill Fleeing Family of 5
by Katarina Kratovac
BAGHDAD, Iraq - In the weeks before the crushing military assault on his hometown, Bilal Hussein sent his parents and brother away from Fallujah to stay with relatives.
The 33-year-old Associated Press photographer stayed behind to capture insider images during the siege of the former insurgent stronghold.
Thrilled, because along with several mil blogs, I followed the Fallujah battle intensely, including with maps. See here and over a dozen links at bottom. But to the point. Here's Bilal's dramatic account of his escape from Fallujah. Jolan, his neighborhood was a hotbed of terrorists, they were being killed there in large groups the very day he fled.
Austin Bay has a new term to describe the technique used by the media and Muslim activists to manipulate fake events in order to inflame Muslim outrage: "CBS ambush."
The ambush technique coordinates blood-spilling violence with sensational imagery and rhetoric using a dispersed network of media operatives, guerrillas and terrorists. Networked, Coordinated Blood-spilling plus Sensationalism -- hence the technique's acronym: the CBS ambush.
The media hyped Muslim outrage during the first Gulf War.
Remember the "Arab street," that riot-in-the-road featuring flammable Israeli flags, Saddam Hussein posters, clenched fists and chants threatening "Death to America"? The street may have lacked pavement and a fire hydrant, but it had beaucoup television cameras.
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Last month, bloggers
(including NB's Bob
Owens), caught the BBC flat-out admitting its complicity in a
staged photo shoot with a Lebanese boy posing next to what the
broadcast said was an "Israeli bomb lying unexploded" in someone's
Admitting to participating in news manipulation was bad enough and
doing it while endangering a child was even worse. Further compounding
things, though, was that in an accompanying photo essay, the Beeb
breathlessly identified another Israeli munition left behind in a
Lebanese house as an anti-personnel mine. Trouble is, it wasn't:
SUSANNA BRANDON, copy editor, USA Today: BBC correspondent Martin
Asser, reporting Aug. 21 from Southern Lebanon, caused something of a
photo-staging and child-endangerment stir when he informed readers:
"The shell is huge, bigger than the young boy pushed forward to stand
reluctantly next to it while we get our cameras out and record the
scene for posterity."
But deeper into the accompanying photo
essay, titled Lebanese Villagers Return Home, was something equally
amiss: a device breathlessly identified in photo No. 9 as an
anti-personnel mine. One is led to assume that the mine was left behind
by the Israelis to maim these innocent civilians returning home.
At a recent journalists convention in Israel, the assembled representatives of the world's elite media realized that press's coverage of the recent war in Lebanon has been flawed. And that it was Israel's fault. See NRO's Media blog for details, then read the rest of this article (h/t LGF):
In short, much of the most incendiary
media coverage of this war seems to have been either staged or
fabricated. The big question is why the western media would perpetrate
such institutionalised mendacity. Many ancillary reasons come to mind.
There is the reliance upon corrupted news and picture agencies which
employ Arab propagandists as stringers and cameramen. There is the herd
mentality of the media which decides collectively what the story is.
There is the journalists’ fear for their personal safety if they report
the truth about terrorist outfits. There is the difficulty of
discovering the truth from undemocratic regimes and terrorist
organisations. There is the language barrier; there is professional
laziness; there is the naïve inability to acknowledge the depths of
human evil and depravity; there is the moral inversion of the left
which believes that western truth-tellers automatically tell lies,
while third world liars automatically tell the truth.
But the big answer is that the western media transmit the lies of
Hezbollah because they want to believe them. And that’s because the Big
Lie these media tell — and have themselves been told — about Israel and
its place in history and in the world today has achieved the status of
unchallengeable truth. The plain fact is that western journalists were
sent to cover the war being waged against Israel from Lebanon as a war
being waged by Israel against Lebanon. And that’s because that’s how
editors think of the Middle East: that the whole ghastly mess is driven
by Israel’s actions, and that therefore it is only Israel’s aggression
which is the story to be covered.
There has been quite a bit of debate in the blogosphere surrounding this story (note: link has been deactivated) of several days ago:
An Israeli air strike hit a Reuters vehicle in Gaza City on Saturday,
wounding two journalists as they covered a military incursion, doctors
and residents said.
One of the Palestinian journalists, who worked for a local media
organization, was seriously wounded. A cameraman working for Reuters
was knocked unconscious in the air strike, one of several in the area.
Writing at TCS Daily, Glenn Reynolds wonders about the net effect of the exposure of the fact that fake news is more common than previously supposed:
In a democratic polity -- or even one that's driven by things like "world opinion" -- faked news poses a real threat to decent decision-making. Worse yet, the likely outcome of widespread fakery will be a tendency on the part of people to simply dismiss news that they don't want to hear. (And we already see enough of that phenomenon as it is). [...]
Once again, as I've said in previous columns, it boils down to whom you can trust. And although it seems that Big Media outfits, which want to make money and be around for the long term, would have a sufficient investment in their credibility not to fake news themselves, or to pass along fake news except in extraordinary circumstances, the evidence of recent weeks is that journalism is rife with fakery, and that we're seeing more of it now mostly because it's easier to spot now that lots of people can examine the evidence and compare notes. [...]
Context is key. And one of the lessons of these various affairs is that neither the photo, nor the purveyor of the photo, should be given unquestioned authority. Instead, we have to think for ourselves, and make up our own minds. Because it turns out that we can't trust, well, much of anyone.
He's right, of course. But realizing the need to think critically is only
part of the solution. Despite the fact that a
great many interactive web participants (bloggers, blog readers, and forum
users) realize the value of not buying into everything you see, many do not.
A still larger group aren't even reading blogs or forums, which presents a
bit of a problem.
Will Thoretz is the company spokesman for VNU Media, the company that owns Editor & Publisher and employs Editor Greg Mitchell, a man that has something of a "truth problem" according to Michael Silence, and seems to be on the wrong side of an example of "journalistic malpractice" according to Stephen Spruiell.
Mary Katharine Ham of Townhall.com attempted to contact Mitchell at Editor & Publisher for comment several times yesterday, but Mitchell has thus far decline to respond. Ham also tried to contact Will Thoretz of Editor & Publisher's parent company, VNU Media, and while she was able to speak to his assistant, Thoretz has not responded to Ham to date.
Color me skeptical, but evidence indicating that one of your editors
has severe ethical issues should demand an immediate response of some
sort, unless, of course, the decision has been made to stonewall the
story and hope it goes away.
Faking news photos isn't just for Islamic propagandists any more.
A TVNewser reader has caught CBS in the act, altering a photo to make new anchor Katie Couric's waistline appear slimmer than it really is.
Question: Is CBS doing better now that it's only faking news to make its anchor look skinny, or is it doing worse now that it's making phony pictures instead of relying on nutjobs to do it?
UPDATE 11:21. Commenter 1sttofight correctly points out that Couric's face is also slimmer. It seems her arms are, too.
UPDATE 08:30 by Mark Finkelstein: CBS has now admitted that it "retouched" Katie's photo, but claims it was done "without the knowledge of Katie Couric or CBS news management," and Couric is quoted as claiming "she prefers the original photo 'because there's more of me to love.'"
Elsewhere on the fake Middle Eastern news front, the Second Draft has two must-see videos (HT: Instapundit) that look at a famous "news" item from 2000 in which a young Palestinian boy is reportedly shot by Israeli soldiers while crouching behind a barrel. The footage was filmed by a Palestinian cameraman working for a French television station. Upon further examination, like many pictures from that part of the world, the video appears to not be what actually happened.
The documentary looks at other video shot by cameramen sitting behind the boy and his father, right in the line of Israeli fire who did not sustain any injuries, leading to the conclusion that the boy was not killed by Israelis but by Palestinians. Follow the link above for the second video. Both are downloadable on the Second Draft site for those unable to view Flash.
Reuters claims this armored car was hit by two missiles from an Israeli helicopter.
As you can see, Isreal's new missiles are quite different than the
standard Hellfire and TOW ATGMs of the past, both of which, designed
for tanks, would have minced an armored car such as this one. Ths
armored car is said to have been hit not once, but twice by missiles, and the only apparent damage is a hole that seems to be surrounded by rust. Corrosion, or explosion?
I think it is fairly obvious that if the Israelis did fire two
missiles at this armor car, that the car did not take a direct hit.
Tanks can't survive the ATGMs Israel uses on their helicopters, and
armored cars have much thinner armor than tanks. It would have cut
through one side, detonated, and left a shattered, burning hulk. There
was no explosion, and even a dud would have completely punched through
the vehicle, exiting the other side with a noticable hole. The photo
below shows no such penetration on the opposite side.
In this photograph, we're told that Iranian President Ahadmadinejad inists that, "Iran is no threat to Israel."
No threat to Israel? That's a relief. I could've sworn that the Prez didn't like those evil Zionists. In fact, I could've sworn he said,
[E]stablishment of the Zionist regime was a move by the world hegemonic system and arrogant powers against the world of Islam... Ahmadinejad pointed to the meeting dubbed "A World Without Zionism" and criticized those sowing the seed of disappointment in materializing such a goal and attempting to undermine the world of Islam.
So, would a world without Zionism include Israel?
He added that a world without the US and Israel would be possible.
One of the worst aspects of journalism is that its bias of access. Few journalists ever tell readers what they do to get a story or a picture. As we've learned during the ongoing fauxtography scandal, the Western press has often been complicit or worse in the attempts of terrorist organizations to manipulate the news.
Writing in the New Republic (hat tip: LGF), free lancer Annia Ciezadlo exposes more of Hezbollah's news manufacturing apparatus. The disturbing thing is that until bloggers blew the story open, we heard more complaints about the Bush Administration staging news events than we did about terrorists doing so. We're at the point here where even moral equivalence would be desirable:
Who says Lebanon's tourism
industry is dead? Come to Beirut these days and you can take a guided
tour of Hell, with Hezbollah as your escort. Every day, the Party of
God welcomes visitors to Haret Hreik, in the heart of the city's mostly
Shia southern suburbs. Once home to Hezbollah's headquarters and
Beirut's most densely populated neighborhood, Haret Hreik is now a
smoking swath of wreckage. For the thousands of families who used to
live here, the devastation is almost unimaginable. But, for Hezbollah,
the ruins of this once-bustling neighborhood have become a tourist
attraction--and an invaluable propaganda tool.
Greg Mitchell, the editor of the influential news trade publication Editor and Publisher has recently raised a spiriteddefense
against questions and allegations that news may have been staged in
some instances in the recent Israeli/Hezbollah war in Lebanon, may
sound particularly defensive because of his own guilty history of staging news:
Since the press seems to be in full-disclosure mode these days, I want
to finally come clean. Back when I worked for the Niagara Falls (N.Y.)
Gazette (now the Niagara Gazette), our city editor asked me to find out
what tourists thought about an amazing local event: Engineers had
literally "turned off" the famous cataracts, diverting water so they
could shore up the crumbling rock face. Were visitors disappointed to
find a trickle rather than a roar? Or thrilled about witnessing this
First published as a weekly in 1884 as The Journalist, Editor & Publisher (E&P) is a monthly journal covering the North American newspaper industry.
Since 2002, Greg Mitchell has been the Editor of E&P, and
he writes both an online and print column. While I've never read the
print version, I have occasionally read Mitchell's online Pressing Issues column, and have actually written about what he has had to say twice in the past.
Click. Print. Bang. was a reaction to the mind of Mitchell, as in his column he advocated that the media should attempt to actively undermine (subscriber-only) the current U.S. President:
No matter which party they generally favor or political stripes they
wear, newspapers and other media outlets need to confront the fact that
America faces a crisis almost without equal in recent decades.
Our president, in a time of war, terrorism and nuclear intrigue,
will likely remain in office for another 33 months, with crushingly low
approval ratings that are still inching lower. Facing a similar
problem, voters had a chance to quickly toss Jimmy Carter out of
office, and did so. With a similar lengthy period left on his White
House lease, Richard Nixon quit, facing impeachment. Neither outcome is
at hand this time.
It seems that the Lebanese army is starting to inspect and neutralize all of the unexploded artillery and other ordinance that Shamnesty is so worried about. This photograph is rather odd, though. It's extremely grainy, due to high levels of jpeg compression, but it purports to be two members of the Lebanese Army inspecting an unexploded missile. What's odd is that the object they're studying doesn't readily appear to be a missile to me—Could it be an external fuel tank? Some other piece of artillery? Humpback whale? Beats me. As usual, if you have exceptional eyesight and vast stores of military knowledge, be sure to chime in and let me know what you think. I'm also looking to analyze some of the other pictures as well, so if you're up on your weapons identification skills, be sure to check it out!
Amnesty International seems to have missed the obvious. And, in other news, the sun rose in the East today.
Read the report here. Then, when you're done, read about how Hezbullah hidesbehindcivilians. Amnesty International, as usual, shows itself to be as reputable as Kofi Annan.
I'm working on skimming through the report to pick out the most rediculous quotes.
Wow! It would seem that our original story is taking off in more directions than we'd ever imagined! For starting with a mere, "Hezbullah has been known for counterfeiting," and seeing the context of the discussion evolve into such a detailed analysis of the photographic evidence is awe-inspiring, to say the least. Once again, this proves to me that investigative journalism isn't dead:—it lives on in cyberspace, even if it's been dead in the mainstream media for a decade.
Editor and Publisher magazine sees one of its duties as protecting the reputation of the journalism profession, even if it means bringing up flimsy evidence against the famous WWII Iwo Jima flag-raising picture, saying that photo faced "the same charges heard today, concerning 'staging.'"
But the E&P staff admit that the evidence is "flimsy" and mere "speculation." So why bring up such charges against one the most memorable events from the war? To score a point: "But as with most of the allegations today, the theories about the Rosenthal photo were based on flimsy evidence or speculation."
Let's be clear: The press does not want you to think about current events. They want you to "feel" them. By doing so, they control your entire thought process on what you're reading, and what you're seeing.
This series of photographs, to me, is one of the basest examples of propaganda I've ever seen. There's no logical reason for a photograph like this—it contains no information, but merely reduces the entire argument over the war to base emotions. And, as we all have learned over time, information transmitted by raw emotion can only be referred to as one word:—Propaganda!
Check out some of the latest examples of raw, context-free emotion. If anyone can come up with a reasonable explanation for this kind of photograph, that excludes the possibility of the wires merely distributing propaganda, please be sure to let me know or leave a comment!
Caption:... Hezbollah members began distributing US$12,000 in crisp cash bills Friday to those who lost their homes in the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla) Now that Hezbullah has suddenly morphed into a philanthropic organization, we learn from this photograph that they are distributing approximately US$12,000 to the needy in areas destroyed by Israel. Of course, what is our intrepid photographer obviously not curious enough to know? Well, that Hezbullah has alreadybeendinged for counterfeiting U.S. currency:
One of the most prominent and influential members of the Hizballah terrorist organization, along with two of his companies, was designated by the Treasury Department today under Executive Order 13224. Assad Ahmad Barakat has close ties with Hizballah leadership and has worked closely with numerous Islamic extremists and suspected Hizballah associates in South America's tri-border area (TBA), made up of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. . . .
Once again, it's left to theBlogosphere to ask the questions the media isn't interested in asking.
UPDATE 11:59 EST: I've collected some photographs of what's proving to be the world's newest charity. They are quite amusing.
UPDATE 13:35 EST: Ok, just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, we're now being introduced to Hezbullah Engineering, presumably the only company in the world that can deal with those nasty Zionist craters. The transparency of the anti-American, anti-Israeli press is really starting to shine.
UPDATE 19-AUG-2006 11:50 EST: MechEng has pointed out that $100 bills should have a security seal embedded in them roughly where the Treasury seal is on the front, yet on the wires, we see the silhouette of a bill that does not appear to have such a thread. While not 100% conclusive, I'd say it definitely raises the possibility that these are, quote, "Phonier than a New York politician!"