I am beginning a new, perhaps very temporary, column as a much-needed stress-reliever from my usually ponderous research papers. Lately, I began noticing that the Associated Press is posting many articles with broken or incomplete sentences and poor grammar. After noticing Time Magazine’s April cover entitled “Drop-Out Nation,” regarding the 30% national high school dropout rate, I wondered what happened to all those undereducated victims of our socialist education system. Did they all get hired by AP? So I decided to begin posting their bloopers a la Eats Shoots & Leaves. (Please feel free to join in with your own explanation of what AP meant to say.)
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.
In a story headlined "Fascism is new buzz word among GOP," AP political writer Tom Raum demonstrates he's a little behind the linguistic curve. "President Bush in recent days has recast the global war on terror into a 'war against Islamic fascism.' Fascism, in fact, seems to be the new buzz word for Republicans in an election season dominated by an unpopular war in Iraq." While it's true that the lingo has gained currency at the White House, it's positively antique in the wider conservative and Republican world.
Clearly, what Raum is trying to say is: okay, the word's not new, but its embrace by the White House is displaying a new political tactic designed to juice up the national-security issue before the elections. After all, by paragraph seven, Raum is admitting his first paragraph isn't quite right: "Conservative commentators have long talked about 'Islamo-fascism, and Bush's phrase was a slightly toned-down variation on that theme." I'd guess his goal for the article is demonstrated by academic Stephen Wayne:
Former veep Al Gore continues to get slavishly great press (the kind
a Republican could only get by switching parties à la Jim Jeffords),
for a speech he gave in Scotland claiming that "democracy is under
attack" from media consolidation. I'm doubtful that he mentioned
similar dangers from ultrarich leftists like George Soros trying to buy
their own governments in various countries.
The first few grafs from AP reporter Jill Lawless are relatively straightforward (minus the fact that she did not ask other media thinkers to counter Gore):
is under attack," Gore told an audience at the Edinburgh International
Television Festival. "Democracy as a system for self-governance is
facing more serious challenges now than it has faced for a long time.
is a conversation, and the most important role of the media is to
facilitate that conversation of democracy. Now the conversation is more
controlled, it is more centralized."
That sounds suspiciously like the prevailing conventional mainstream media wisdom. If you read the article, however, you'll find that the general actually stated several times that this was really not the correct terminology to be describing the situation in Iraq, and stressed it repeatedly. No matter - statistics and studies have shown that few people read much farther than the headers and the first paragraph of any given news story, and the point is to implant in the reader's brain a framework before they even read the story. Mission accomplished. Click read more for the context the header doesn't provide.
Read the headline of this AP piece, "Israel Kills 3 Palestinians Near Gaza Border," and you'd be likely to think that it sounds like the typical AP account of any incident involving Israel and the Territories, right?
There is little question that the headline is meant to grab the attention of the reader by implying that Israel had killed 3 Palestinian civilians - otherwise, the copy editor would've used "militants." That headline ( Israel Kills 3 Militants Near Gaza Border ) doesn't sound as "sexy" from a news perspective since shooting terrorists is expected.
To boot, the news agency has established that they're militants, not terrorists. How sensitive of them.
Amazing what you can find with a little digging and an intense desire to find out what really happened...
Remember the AP congratulatory memo to the staff about the pictures taken at Qana? Here's a portion of that memo...
"Rumors surfaced early Sunday morning that an Israeli airstrike had flattened a house in the southern Lebanese village of Qana. The number of deaths wasn’t immediately known, but the seriousness of the incident was clear. Beirut-based photographer Hussein Malla immediately called AP photographers Nasser Nasser, Lefteris Pitarakis and stringer Mohammed Zaatari and advised them to rush to the scene."
In his 1995 memoir, "Dreams From My Father," Obama recalled his first trip to Africa, when, in his late 20s, he cried as he sat between the graves of his father and grandfather. Obama hardly knew his father. His parents divorced earlyin their marriage.
Taranto dead-panned: "That's very unusual. Although many couples get divorced nowadays, the vast majority do not do so until late in the marriage."
I first raised the question of a possible relationship between the two journalists who corroborated each others accounts of an Israeli drone attack on a civilian convoy fleeing Marjayoun in south Lebanon here. In separatestories for their respective new organizations the brothers, Lotfallah (AP) and Karamallah Daher (Reuters), corroborated each others' accounts of the attack, but neither Reuters nor AP mentioned that they are related, much less twin brothers.
AP reporter Bassem Mroue runs a personal blog, and Nathan Goulding at NRO's Media Blog found that bashing Israel is one of his extracurricular activities. In addition, one of his personal blog posts resembles a posting made on the official "AP Blog."
Following up on a reader tip, I looked into one of the AP's reporters, Bassem Mroue. Mroue has a personal blog
full of anti-Israeli sentiments including this photo providing some
insight as to what Mroue thinks Israel's goals have been in its
conflict with Hezbollah:
Yes, I'm getting just as tired of this kind of stuff as you are (my bold):
Lebanese civil defense volunteers unload a coffin from a refrigerator
outside the Hakoomy hospital in port city of Tyre, southern Lebanon,
Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2006. At least 842 people were killed in Lebanon during the 34-day campaign, most of them civilians. Israel suffered 157 dead _ including 118 soldiers.(AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)
According to the Associated Press "most" (by definition more than
half; at least 421) of those who died were civilians. Considering AP's
recent track record in Lebanon, I'm disinclined to believe their claim.
Their vague figures run in opposition to what we see here from Strategy Page:
On the ground, Hizbollah lost nearly 600 of its own personnel, and billions of dollars worth of assets and weapons.
If the Hezbollah deaths cited by StrategyPage and Ynet
are correct and the AP's overall casualty count is close to accurate,
then more than 60% of those killed were Hezbollah fighters, even as
Hezbollah attempted to hide behind old women and children.
This is a classic MSM mistreatment of the US military. That it comes in the midst of war is distressing, but not unexpected from them, unfortunately.
The AP (it sure seems that they are more busy spinning than reporting stories these days, doesn't it?) has posted a story that The New York Times placed on their news feed today about how Military recruiters have "increasingly resorted to overly aggressive tactics" to get new recruits.
But, it seems that an undue focus in the report on the rhetoric obscures the fact that there really aren't that many abuses statistically. Certainly one abuse is too much (perfunctory exclamation over), but the tenor of the story is that there is some catastrophic rise in such abuse. The numbers, however, say differently, despite the overblown rhetoric.
"Report: X-Rays Don't Detect Explosives" is the red letter entry at the Drudge Report, linking the latest Associated Press scoop from a leaked document:
X-ray machines that screen airline passengers' shoes cannot detect explosives, according to a Homeland Security Department report on aviation screening.
The headline is inaccurate. The Rapiscan x-ray machines deployed at most US airports can, in fact, allow screeners to find explosives. Screeners are trained to use x-ray machines to detect the components of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs): timing devices, detonators, switches, and the main charge - the explosive.
of the photographer's comment (it appears that Denton's original is
gone, but that another commenter reposted it within his own comment;
scroll down to "Andy Levin Fri Aug 11 09:54:08")
i have been working in lebanon since all this started,
and seeing the behavior of many of the lebanese wire service
photographers has been a bit unsettling. while hajj has garnered a lot
of attention for his doctoring of images digitally, whether guilty or
not, i have been witness to the daily practice of directed shots, one
case where a group of wire photogs were coreographing the unearthing of
bodies, directing emergency workers here and there, asking them to
position bodies just so, even remove bodies that have already been put
in graves so that they can photograph them in peoples arms. these
photographers have come away with powerful shots, that required no
manipulation digitally, but instead, manipulation on a human level, and
this itself is a bigger ethical problem.
In an article on Fidel Castro, his health, and his visit from Venezuelan Fidel fan Hugo Chavez, the Associated Press noted that "birthday articles in state-run newspapers extolled his virtues." The implication is that state-controlled papers aren't apt to be truthful, much less objective.
So what's the AP's excuse? In the very same article, AP reporter Anita Snow informs us that:
"News of Castro's illness made Cubans uneasy about the future, but a series of upbeat statements from government officials have helped calm a public facing up to the mortality of the island's longtime leader. 'What happiness I received!' exclaimed resident Margot Gomez after seeing Sunday's newspaper during a morning walk in Havana. 'Long live Fidel and long live the revolution! He knows what to do to convert setbacks into victories!'
Lebanon - Abu Shadi Jradi pulled bodies out of wreckage for hours — two
toddler girls wearing tiny gold earrings, a small boy whose pale blue
pacifier still hung from his neck. Somewhere in the middle, Jradi
slumped beneath a tree and wept.
I addressed the AP's defense of Lebanese Civilian Defense worker Salam Daher previously,
now more information is coming out. It turns out that the author of
that defense, Kathy Gannon is AP's Burea Chief in Iran. It's only
speculation, but I wonder how long she'd be effective in that
assignment if she published something negative about Iran, or Hezbollah.
And now someone is claiming to have witnessed photographers go as far as to re-use dead bodies for photo ops in Lebanon.
It is hard to overstate the importance of what Little Green Footballs' site operator Charles Johnson learned from a clearly knowledgeable person in the news business, and revealed in a post yesterday morning. Anyone who attempts to understand events in the Middle East but is unaware of what Johnson has exposed is being shortchanged, and very likely misled.
Now Johnson has expanded what began as a "narrow" photojournalism controversy into an expose of how, for decades, the news we receive from the most volatile region in the world has, in exchange for what looks an awful lot like bribery, been twisted and controlled to meet a pro-Arab, pro-terorist, anti-Israel agenda.
An AP article white washes a Lebanese
Civil Defense worker bloggers suspect of disseminating Hezbollah
propaganda. And they quote a colleague who apparently doesn't have any
concerns about sharing information with Hezbollah to back him up. From the article:
Twenty-eight bodies were recovered — more than half of them children.
Interesting, given that said Civil Defense worker evidently told the Lebanese press on July 30th:
The bodies of 37 children were among those recovered from under the rubble of dozens of a building which collapsed after the bombardment, said Salam Daher, the civil defense chief in the region.
The AP loves their hit piece reporting, don't they? Hot on the tail of the terror plot being stopped by the British, AP has let us all know of that nefarious "Bush staff" that wants to eliminate funds to develop bomb detection devices here in the USA.
In "Bush staff wanted bomb-detect cash moved," AP writer John Solomon took what was a common request for a re-direction of funds from one thing to another and turned it into an overarching plot by the Bush administration to materially harm Homeland Security. Worse, he tried to contrast this everyday Washington budget activity to the terror plot in England to leave the reader with a feeling that Bush was trying to allow terrorists to get away with the kinds of plots that the Brits uncovered.
It is interesting how the MSM covered the primaries this year.
Especially the Lieberman/Lamont fight in Connecticut, naturally. But,
looking over the coverage I saw a strange difference in how the MSM
treated the Connecticut race and one not so nationally known in
Michigan. Apparently, according to the media, a victory by a liberal counts for more than a victory by a conservative.
To illustrate my point, I will use two Associated Press reports made on the very same night, Primary night, August 9th.
We all know what happened with the Lieberman/Lamont contest, of
course. Lamont eeked by Lieberman with a spread of only 10,119 more
votes (of 283,055 cast) than the 3 term Democratic Senator giving
Lamont 52% to Lieberman's 48%. This is hardly a landslide by any honest
reckoning. Yet, the MSM played this like a groundswell for Lamont. Here
is how the AP reported it on election night...
The fauxtography scandal is blowing out of control as proof after proof rolls in how much of the self-described photojournalism coming out of Lebanon is illegitimate. If you're a blogger (or are reading some) covering the story, drop me an email at email@example.com and I'll include a link in this roundup. And of course, you can link in the comments as well. Comments are now open to unregistered users.
UPDATE 6:25. After an overnight hardware failure, NB is back up and running. The links will begin momentarily.
UPDATE 6:38. Snapped Shot is another blog worth checking out. Keep those links coming, folks!
UPDATE 7:05. Via NB reader Geepers comes this link to a German TV news show proving that the infamous Salam Daher, aka "greenhelmetguy," is a stage manager for Hezbollah. The video shows him rehearsing the removal of a body from an ambulance and giving directions to the camera operator.
That truth is the first casualty of war has been borne home by the proliferating 'fauxtography' scandal of photographs of the current Middle East crisis doctored or staged so as to portray Israel in the worst possible light. At this point, can we look at any image from the area without a good dose of doubt?
Take this morning's report on the Today show. NBC's Richard Engel, in Tyre, Lebanon, reported that:
"The fighting has made humanitarian relief efforts almost impossible. Israel has cut roads and attacked vehicles, isolating Hezbollah and everyone else."
This was followed by a clip of the unidentified individual pictured here. Judging by his words and accent, he might have been a Red Cross official. He asserted:
"Lots of people have died because they just couldn't make it to a hospital in time. Ambulances clearly marked with the Red Cross were hit right in the middle of the roof of the car. The Red Cross stands for protection and neutrality. This should not have happened."
Talk about striking for pure emotion with headlines! The AP has proclaimed that an "Israeli Strike Kills 13 Near Mourners". But, what does "near mourners" mean? Did Israel strike a funeral procession or not.
AP begins their report giving the reader the feeling that Israel attacked a funeral procession with the following:
"Mourners in a funeral procession for Israeli airstrike victims scattered in panic Tuesday as warplanes again unleashed missiles that hit buildings and killed 13 people, witnesses and officials said."
Yet their very next paragraph proves that the strike was not only NOT upon that funeral procession, but came five minutes after the procession passed the scene of the attack.
Elian Gonzalez sent a note Sunday wishing a speedy recovery to "my dear grandpa Fidel," ...Gonzalez, the Cuban boy at the center of an international custody battle with family members in Miami six years ago, published a letter in the Communist Youth newspaper Juventud Rebelde signed with "little kisses" from him and his half-siblings and cousins.
"We send you this letter to let you know that we are worried about your health," Elian, now 12, wrote. "We hope for your speedy recovery and take the opportunity to wish you a happy birthday, may you have many more."
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.
So, Cindy Sheehan is back in Crawford, and the Associated Press is continuing to act as her publicity agents. They still haven't shown any inclination to address any comments of hers that might be controversial. They still treat her as the grieving mother of a marine, rather than a leftist peace activist.
A year after her first war protest in President Bush's adopted hometown attracted thousands and reinvigorated the nation's peace movement, Cindy Sheehan resumed her vigil Sunday....
"It doesn't say my new address, but I do live here now," said Sheehan, who lives in Berkeley, Calif., and recently bought land in Crawford for war protests. "My name is Cindy and Bush killed my son."
It’s one thing when an obviously deluded shill suggests that Americans are stupid because they disagree with him as reported by NewsBusters Saturday. However, it is quite another thing when the largest wire service in the country does it.
Yet, that’s exactly what transpired when the Associated Press published a report Sunday evening entitled “Half of U.S. Still Believes Iraq Had WMD”: “Half of America apparently still thinks so, a new poll finds, and experts see a raft of reasons why: a drumbeat of voices from talk radio to die-hard bloggers to the Oval Office, a surprise headline here or there, a rallying around a partisan flag, and a growing need for people, in their own minds, to justify the war in Iraq.”
Much like CNN’s Jack Cafferty the day before, AP didn’t offer the possibility that many of these believers feel Saddam moved his weapons to Syria or elsewhere before the invasion began. Such was certainly not on the mind of AP writer Charles J. Hanley, who, instead, wanted to make the case that Americans are just deluding themselves:
Last night's report by Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs that a "Beirut burning" photo that was clearly and clumsily doctored with Photoshop editing tools had made it way onto the wires from Reuters has morphed into what must be considered a full-blown scandal that should, by rights, shake the news service and other "Mainstream" Media outlets to their very foundations, and force them to reexamine how they conduct and control their photojournalistic efforts around the world.
Consider just some of what has happened in the 24 hours or so since my NewsBusters post very early Sunday morning:
Reuters has "dropped" the freelance Lebanese journalist after the image in question was shown to be doctored:
The wire service offered perhaps the lamest excuse ever offered in the history of photojournalism for Adnan Hajj, the photographer involved --
"Most Cubans have insisted that they are sure Castro will recover and that the government will function fine until then. But others have privately expressed worries that their leader may be more sick than the world knows."