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 --
The headline had me laughing before I even read the article:
"Michael Moore says gets lots of Republican hugs"
I'm thinking it must be a slow news day. But then I read the article and realize that the entire article reads like a press release for Moore, himself.
Michael Moore -- gadfly filmmaker, liberal activist and political lightning rod -- says he finds himself being hugged by a lot of Republicans these days.
So who are these Republicans he speaks of? Does the article identify any?
...the Oscar-winning director says he is approached all the time by conservatives ready to make peace.
Ok, so who are they? Names? Descriptions? Anything....?
Some in solidly Republican northern Michigan and elsewhere now believe that they made a "colossal mistake" in initially supporting the war in Iraq, Moore said, and they have let him know it in chance encounters on the streets of Traverse City, a resort town where he has relocated from New York.
Guess we folks at NewsBusters and at our parent organization, Media Research Center, can go home. Our work is done. Not only is the media not controlled by liberals, it's actually . . . dominated by the right wing. For that matter, it has been for decades! If only we had known, we could have saved ourselves all this trouble.
How did I learn this? From Arshad Hasan, of Democracy for America, the group Howard Dean founded at the end of his candidacy, and that has as its stated goal "to rebuild the Democratic Party." Dean's brother Jim serves at its chair.
Arshad was nice enough to send me an email this morning [OK, I signed up for their list], informing me of the exciting news that DFA is working "to take back our media" and that for such purposes will be conducting online 'DFA Night School' sessions to cover the following subjects:
With Mexicans going to the polls today to elect a new president, Reuters leaves little doubt as to whom it's pulling for: Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, of the Democratic Revolution Party The headline tells you all you need to know, but here are a few choice excerpts to flesh out the picture of an heroic 'leftist' bringing hope to the little people, versus the other major candidate, Felipe Calderon, who is given the shortest of shrift, merely being described once, and then only as a 'conservative.' Nuff said!
"When the air reeks of sewage, rain makes your street look like a ploughed field and month-long water shortages mean even bucket baths are sometimes a luxury, a flushing toilet can be a dream worth voting for. A two hour commute from downtown Mexico City on the putrid periphery of a vast urban sprawl, many in this town of housemaids and security guards will vote for a leftist in Sunday's presidential election, hoping he will change their lives." [Intead of a chicken in every pot, a potty in every house?]
"Lopez Obrador gave cash handouts to elderly and disabled people and single-parent families as Mexico City mayor. He has promised to spread those programs throughout Mexico while boosting incomes through welfare payments and fuel price cuts." [Nothing like handouts and more welfare to get an economy going!]
Unlike the 53-state commission, where members were nominated by regional blocs, the council's 47 members were elected by the U.N. General Assembly, a change which proponents say makes it more difficult for rights violators to win a seat.
Sounds better than the previous UN Human Rights watchdog, right?
Unfortunately, the story doesn't mention the fact that several members of this "new" Council are some of the worst human rights abusers in the world today.
We're all a little tired of the parade of Pat Robertson gaffes that the press seems to enjoy -- the latest one being the leg-press-a-ton boasting. But Catholic blogger Mark Shea reports the latest from gay bishop Gene Robinson, an outrageous gaffe that the secular media will predictably ignore:
It's been reported that Karl Rove will not be indicted for the Valerie Plame case. But that doesn't mean Reuters doesn't wish the opposite would have occurred. The organization resurrected a picture from last month and ran it this month after news that Karl Rove was off the hook.
The headline reads 'US probe of Ishaqi killings no surprise for Iraqis.' You might have thought the headline and accompanying article were from Al-Jazeera. But no, it's Reuters that wrote the headline that, dripping with skepticism, suggests that the US military inquiry that cleared American soldiers from wrongdoing in connection with the killing of civilians at Ishaqi was a whitewash. That same cynicism persists throughout the article. Consider these excerpts:
"Isa Khalaf doesn't want cash from the U.S. troops he says massacred his relatives in a March raid. He wants an explanation he may never get now that a U.S. probe has cleared them of any wrongdoing."
"The U.S. investigation that cleared soldiers of any misconduct in Ishaqi may have allowed the soldiers to move on with their lives. But the farming town will be haunted by memories of the bloodshed."
Off the wires from Marketwatch (registration may be required; bolds are mine):
May Chicago PMI rises to highest level since October
Business activity expanded in the Chicago region for the 37th consecutive month in May, the National Association of Purchasing Managers-Chicago said Wednesday. The Chicago purchasing managers' index rose to 61.5% from 57.2% in April, much stronger than the expected decline to 56.2%. It was the highest level since October. Anything over 50% indicates growth. The prices paid index fell to 76.9% from 77.2%. The new orders index rose to 69.6% from 60.8%.
Early yesterday morning at about 3:00 am on the West Coast, someone in Britain connected to the Internet and browsed over to this article at the Guardian by Inayat Bunglawala, media secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain: This code could open doors.
Bunglawala’s piece (about the Da Vinci Code) is in the section of the Guardian site where readers can comment, and someone posted a link to LGF as a rebuttal to Bunglawala. Our Swedish British visitor clicked that link, leading him/her/it to this post: Swedish Muslims Demand Shari’a.
Imagine you're a newswire editor writing the headline for a story in which former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has accused Pres. Bush of 'religious absolutism.' What would be a fair headline? Something like:
Albright Accuses Bush of 'Religious Absolutism'
Now consider Reuters' actual headline:
Albright Critical of Bush's Religious Absolutism
Note the not-so-subtle difference. We've moved from Albright accusing Bush of religious absolutism, to Reuters effectively reporting Bush's absolutism as a fact, of which Albright is simply critical. Not even a set of quotation remarks around 'religious absolutism' to clarify that the words are Albright's, and not unquestioned fact.
In April I wrote about the opening of the Democrats' Election 2008 Talking Points Tour. It kicked off with Barack Obama preaching the certainty of fossil fuels heating up our planet while conveniently neglecting to mention what is heating up Mars and Jupiter.
The media has turned the tour up a notch with a twisted fascination over Al Gore, coverage excuse provided by his new movie on global warming that is certain man is heating the planet with SUV usage while conveniently neglecting to mention what is heating up Mars and Jupiter. Al ensures full media coverage by bringing the war into it.
"I also believe that after 9/11 if, in addition to rallying the country and wisely invading Afghanistan to pursue Osama bin Laden, that if the president of the United States had said 'Let's become independent of oil and coal', that people would have responded to that."
Yeah, we responded to that in the 70's. It would have been nice if he had done something about it when he was sipping iced tea with the Red Chinese. But Bill Clinton can't run for President again so he comes right out and says what other Democrats won't:
"Climate change is more remote than terror but a more profound threat to the future of the children and the grandchildren and the great-grandchildren I hope all of you have...
News story, or Gore 2008 press release? At first glance it was hard to tell, but . . . wait! Yup, there it is: (Reuters). So yes, this is cold, hard reporting of just-the-facts, ma'am. Then again, consider the opening paragraphs:
Al Gore brushes aside talk of another run for the U.S. presidency and wages a new campaign to protect the Earth that he says must be won.
The former Democratic vice president sounds the alarm as a citizen activist armed with his old slide show turned into a Hollywood movie about the threat of global warming.
It's not enough for "DaVinci Code" star Ian McKellen to make cracks about Bible disclaimers. MRC's Michael Chapman passed along that in an interview with Reuters, he took his wisecracks directly to the Catholic Church:
“When I put the book down I thought, ’what a load of potential codswallop .That’s still going on in my mind. But I’m very happy to believe that Jesus was married.”
Sir Ian, who came out as gay in 1988 during a Radio 4 discussion programme, continued: “I know that the Catholic church has problems with gay people and I thought that this was absolute truth that Jesus was not gay.”
I'm sorry, but this really makes me furious. Reuters, after five years and Osama Bin Laden's videotaped admission, still uses locutions like this to decribe the 9/11 attacks:
U.S. authorities have said five al Qaeda hijackers seized control of American Airlines Flight 77, a flight from Washington Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia bound for Los Angeles, and flew it into the Pentagon.
Reuters reported a startling scientific find on Wednesday that certainly brings into question the current hysteria surrounding global warming (hat tip to Drudge): “Climate shifts were probably responsible for the extinction of the mammoth and other species more than 10,000 years ago, not over-hunting by humans, according to new research published on Wednesday.”
How does this fit into the global warming debate? Well, according to Dr. Dale Guthrie of the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, “‘The new patterns of dates indicate a radical ecological sorting during a uniquely forage-rich transitional period, affecting all large mammals, including humans.’"
And what happened during this "ecological sorting":
In this AP article is an ironic twist of Sophoclean proportions. An Israeli company has cut off - get this - gasoline supplies to the Iranian-funded Palestinian territories for non-payment of bills:
An end to fuel supplies could cripple hospitals, halt food deliveries and keep people home from work - a devastating scenario for an economy already ravaged by Israeli and international sanctions.
Right. The "economy" has been "ravaged" by Israeli sanctions. It's nothing whatever to do with the fact that Arafat and his friends - and that includes the current President, the Holocaust-denying, walking Hamas assassination target, Mahmoud Abbas - have spent the last fifteen years shipping everything that's not nailed down (and if they can pry it loose, it's not nailed down) out of the country. Which, as of the last AP report, was the reason that Hamas got elected in the first place, not their hostility to Israel, if you remember.
Reuters reports that in a survey of ten countries, citizens of the U.S. and England have a low regard for the media.
Britain may have a sophisticated media industry but it also has some of the most sceptical consumers, with nearly two-thirds (64 percent) believing the media does not report all sides of the story.
A 10-country opinion poll for Reuters, the BBC and the Media Centre found British and U.S. consumers out on a limb when it comes to public levels of trust in the media.
Overall trust in the media in Britain has bounced back over the past four years, from a low of 29 percent trusting in 2002 to 47 percent today. But this is still below the 10-country average of 63 percent.
Reuters organized a panel discussion between a blogger, journalists, and a U.S. military spokesman. They couldn't agree on much, except that the coverage of Iraq is either too positive or too negative.
U.S. media coverage of Iraq is too polarized between "good news" and "bad news" and all sides are missing out on a complete picture, participants in a panel discussion organized by Reuters said on Wednesday.
That was one of the few points of agreement between journalists, a professional blogger and a U.S. military spokesman gathered in New York to discuss media in Iraq.
"If you write a 'good news' story from Iraq you are immediately identified as an apologist for the administration ... and if you write something critical then you're in the other camp," said Roger Cohen, a columnist for the International Herald Tribune who was recently in Iraq.
Today's starters: Keeping with its tradition of political fairness and neutrality, Middle Tennessee State University is continuing its journalism conference (conference called: Self-Inflicted Wounds — Fact and Fiction in Journalism: Fabrication, Plagiarism and Confidential Sources)--kicked off earlier this week by an address from that paragon of objectivity Al Gore--with a panel discussion featuring Mary Mapes. The session is entitled "Rush to Judgment? The CBS Crisis." Any NB readers in the area?
The big media story of the day, as reported earlier by NB's Mark Finkelstein, is that Katie Couric is headed over to CBS. The NYT and LAT both have good good stories the deal and its implications. Why does Couric's leaving warrant attention, asks one blogger. Another says she won't watch "Today" if it hires "View" co-host Meredith Viera.
President Bush spoke at a Naturalization Ceremony Monday and renewed his call for immigration reform. The transcript of the speech is 5 pages long. The Associated Press and Reuters published less than 8 lines from the entire speech. To add insult to injury, both news organizations used the exact same quotes from the speech. The statements used were included at the end of the speech during the wrap up. They neglected to cite any statements from the speech where the President restated his stance on immigration and laid out his ideas on immigration reform.
“I believe every new citizen has an obligation to learn the customs and values that define our nation, including liberty and civic responsibility, equality under God, tolerance for others and the English language.”
“Immigration is also an emotional topic. And we need to maintain our perspective as we conduct this debate.”
How is anyone supposed to view Reuters as an unbiased and objective news agency when it publishes photos like this?
As you can see, the word "Retire" is perfectly framed behind the head of Vice President Dick Cheney. It just seems too "perfect" for this to be called an "accident." How much more evidence does one need to see that the MSM is simply downright hostile to this administration?
Reuters CEO Tom Glocer, speaking at the Online Publishers Association conference in London, said journalists need to adapt to the new media.
Reports the London Guardian: "Tom Glocer said that media organisations needed to understand their true value in order to make the most of the online world."
"I believe the world will always need editing," he said. "Just because everyone has the potential to publish their own blog, doesn't mean they're all worth reading. The role of companies like ours is to edit and filter, and provide open tools for the audience. The good stuff will float to the top.
Conservatives should be happy to see Reuters running a story headlined "Abortion rights groups say battle being lost." But reporter Carey Gillam conducts an almost perfect lesson in how not to label the opposing sides. Not only is one side "pro-choice" or "abortion rights activists," while the other side are "anti-abortion advocates," but Gillam finds "conservatives" on the pro-life side four times, but never finds an L word for the abortion-on-demand folks:
-- "The expected Senate confirmation to the Supreme Court of conservative jurist Samuel Alito, who is favored by anti-abortion advocates, is seen as a key turning point. Yet it is only the latest in a series of blows to abortion rights advocates..."
In her report yesterday on existing home sales, Reuters reporter Kristin Roberts chose to emphasize a one-month decline in December and negative anecdotal information from the Midwest, while failing to give her readers favorable big-picture data that had been handed to her on a silver platter.
Here's how the press release from the National Association of Realtors that served as the starting point for Ms. Roberts' report began:
Existing-Home Sales Down in December But 2005 Sets a Record
Existing-home sales declined in December but easily set an annual record, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
Reuters reporter Claudia Parsons writes that with the threats against American journalists, including Christian Science Monitor reporter Jill Carroll who is currently being held hostage, reporters in Iraq are unable to provide a full picture of what's going on in the country.
The dire security situation combined with unwillingness by U.S. publishers and editors to give space to in-depth reports means there are giant gaps in the picture seen by the American public, said Orville Schell, dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Berkeley.
"I don't think there's ever been such a difficult situation, with the possible exception of Moscow or Beijing during the height of the Cold War," Schell said. He added that U.S. TV news media in particular were doing an "abysmal job"....
Over at "Best of the Web," James Taranto has provided another very typical service of his, knocking the bias and inaccuracy at the Reuters wire service. (Trying to find any data on the Internet on the survey "by the Chicago-based National Qualitative Centers" reported below outside this strange Reuters article is tough, although there is this liberal delight from a public-radio station discussion board.) Reports Taranto:
Something is wrong with the arithmetic in this dispatch from Reuters:
President George W. Bush ranks as the least popular and most bellicose of the last ten U.S. presidents, according to a new survey.
There were only two subjects that concerned the media during President Bush’s December 19th news conference: Bad news on Iraq and domestic spying. Problems in Iraq accounted for six questions, while there were seven on domestic spying. (Note: Questions were counted based on their topic. Follow-ups on the same subject were not counted as separate questions.)
The assembled members of the press seemed relatively uninterested in the successful Iraqi elections. In fact, there were no questions specifically about the elections or about the improving economy.
In his article, “Iraq insurgents say election truce won’t last”, Fadel al-Badrani offers the reader a view from the insurgents’ side of the war. According to al-Badrani, “secular insurgents and Islamist militants” (AKA Islamofascists) plan to resume attacks against US troops and Iraqis that cooperate with the United States. Politicians, such as Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafair, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi and Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, are also listed as targets.
Al-Badrani, an Iraqi journalist working for Reuters, was able to obtain quotes from leaders of the insurgent groups, such as “Muhammad’s Army” and the “Islamic Army”. Leaders called the attacks part of their “holy war”. The leader of Muhammad’s Army promised that “the coming days will be tough on the Americans and their supporters in the Iraqi Army.”
The BBC has a funny view of international law - make sure the obligations fall on Israel.
Yesterday, Israel responded to a broad Hezbollah attack - including artillery-supported cross-border raids - by, well, responding:
Hizbullah launched a failed attempt to kidnap soldiers Monday in an assault on Mount Dov and the northern town of Rajar and a coordinated mortar and rocket barrage on northern Galilee towns and kibbutzim.
A fierce Israeli response killed four infiltrators and struck at Hizbullah targets in south Lebanon, but at least 12 soldiers were wounded and a house severely damaged in Metulla by Hizbullah mortar fire.