Fauxtography on Parade

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 msheffield@gmail.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.

To get up to speed, check out Riehl World View, Hot Air, the Jawa Report, and Zombie. Little Green Footballs is also very much up on the story. To see previous NewsBusters coverage of phony photos, click the relevant categories below this posting.

See below for updates...

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 "green helmet guy," 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.

UPDATE 7:32. Jeff Harrell at Shape of Days posts on why all this matters.

UPDATE 8:18. This comment by "naserq" at the Youtube vid above is classic: "what you saying,you forgot the little kid,ask why this person might do that,to reach you,to get some of you human conscious ,in case....regardless his green helmet,he is diong some thing to show humans ,but he cant give you eyes."

It seems Mr. Naser has taken it upon himself to serve the cause by spamming YouTube. As of now, 3 of the 10 comments on the clip are his mindless incantations.

UPDATE 8:44. LGF catches Adnan Hajj in some more dishonesty, pretending that a building had been recently destroyed when it had been damaged nearly a month previously.

UPDATE 9:19. EU Referendum says Red Cross employees are also part of the media manipulation plan. He also finds another sighting of Green Helmet Guy. As usual, he's surrounded by a bevy of "independent" photojournalists.

UPDATE 9:32. Fellow Newsbuster Mark Finklestein wonders if NBC's "Today" show's usage of footage of a bombed ambulance may be illegitimate.

UPDATE 9:46. Allahpundit looks at another Hajj photo editing allegation. He's more doubtful of this one.

UPDATE 9:53. Patterico notes that the L.A. Times has yet to run a story about any of the false photos.

UPDATE 10:52. Ace wonders about the seeming placement of fresh, clean children's toys at damage sites.

UPDATE 11:22. For completeness, here's Allahpundit's discovery that US News and World report put a picture of a Hezbollah terrorist pretending to be pointing his gun at a battle scene which, in reality was a mass of burning tires.

UPDATE 11:33. While there certainly are some reporters and photographers who are Hamas and Hezbollah supporters, it's worth noting that a lot of the shoddy journalism we're getting from the Levant is the product of journalists too ignorant and uninformed to realize that they're being manipulated. I also agree with Captain Ed that another reason so much of the reporting is false is the Western media's reluctance to recruit Western journalists, instead relying on local stringers who often are less objective than Dan Rather or Mary Mapes.

UPDATE 11:41. NB reader Larry emails:

Watch for video fakes too. I saw one about a year ago that was an obvious fake. I never heard any report of it on the blogs.

Briefly it was a video of a small town that Israel was supposed to have bombed. The video of the town and the surrounding area had been taken with a hand held camera. There was smoke rising from behind the largest building but the smoke had been recorded with a mounted camera. The effect was that the town and surroundings were 'vibrating' but the smoke wasn't.

Consider expanding your search. If the video I saw hadn't been done so poorly I wouldn't have known. I wonder how many other videos are fakes and if there's a way to tell?

Anyone up for this?

UPDATE 11:55. Fred Fry looks at more missile pix.

UPDATE 11:59. Time's condemnation of unethical photogs rings false, Dread Pundit Bluto disposes of it here.

UPDATE 12:20. More reader email:

Read the stuff on the photo scandal and figure the following -- if they're being dishonest about their photos then what about their news reports. I mean where do you draw the line. were the photos just the tip of the iceberg for a cesspool of biased reporting from Lebanon.
Just a couple of quick examples but bet other bloggers find more.

From Sunday July 30 on the Qana bombing.

In all its coverage that day including an article entitled “Corpses Pulled From Rubble in Qana”, Reuters wrote: “The raid killed at least 54 Lebanese civilians, including 37 children, Lebanese police said -- the bloodiest single attack during Israel's 19-day-old war on Hizbollah.”

I've noticed that usually news organizations attribute these tolls to someone – rescue workers, Lebanese officials whatever. But Reuters was so confident that they wrote it as a statement of FACT.

A few days later human rights groups and Lebanese officials admitted that only 28 bodies had been recovered. The Associated Press and other news agencies quickly changed their articles to say that 28 people were killed in Qana.

Here’s part of one Associated Press report: “

One of the worst attacks was a July 30 air raid on the southern village of Qana that killed 28 people, many of them children. That airstrike sparked international criticism of Israel, and a 48-hour lull in airstrikes."

What about Reuters? Well, this is what they wrote: “Lebanon says at least 54 people were killed, many of them children. A Human Rights Watch investigation said the toll appeared lower.”

Now since, accuracy and objectivity are important, shouldn’t Reuters have recalled those earlier articles and apologized for putting out false and unattributed death tolls.

No instead they try to cover up by muddying the waters with claim and counterclaim on death tolls.

You have to ask also whether the 54 dead or 28 dead were included in the Reuters official death. Did they revise their death toll. I don't know because I emailed them and nobody bothere to reply. Perhaps you'll have better luck.

I'm sure that if other bloggers ttrawled through their article one would find many other glaring examples.

UPDATE 12:58. Musing Minds has links to a lot of the TV interviews bloggers like Ace and Charles Johnson of LGF have been doing in recent days.

UPDATE 2:02. Responding to Warner Todd Huston's earlier post about a funeral supposedly bombed by Israel, reader David asks the following:

Has everyone watched this tape with a lazy eye? The funeral procession was moving along when suddenly a bomb (or something) exploded nearby, then folks started to drop their litters that supposedly held the bodies of dead loved ones. The two men carrying a litter high over their shoulders in the center of the picture clearly shows them dropping the litter then quickly picking it back up as if it only weighed 5-10 pounds. Not exactly the weight of a body in my view. Also, if you look at the litter as it hits the ground absolutely nothing shifts on the litter. Sure the supposed body could have been strapped in, but..... there would still have been some movement. Alas there is none!

More staging perhaps?

UPDATE 14:30. For those who missed it, CNN may have been the first prominent Western media outlet exposed for collaborating (intentionally or not) with anti-Israel propagandists. Back in July, the network's Nic Robertson failed to disclose to viewers that he was being led around by Hezbollah press agents. After we and other blogs called him on it, he subsequently admitted. Later, his colleague, Anderson Cooper detailed some of the various machinations Hezbollah and other groups use to manipulate media coverage.

Also from the on-the-record department, I'm linking to NB's Alexandra von Maltzan's post on an NYT photo of a dead Lebanese man who was said by the paper to have died in an Israeli attack. Turns out, he died of other causes. The Times corrected the caption after being called on it

UPDATE 14:45. "Reutered" is under review at the Urban Dictionary.

UPDATE 16:19. The AP retracts a caption of a man holding a dead girl. Previously it had claimed IDF strikes had killed her. Turns out, she died in an accident (at a terrorist training camp?) Snapped Shot has the details.

UPDATE 08/11 0:55. A reader of Solomonia talks about our green helmeted friend and his news management skills. Balance the Media catches him posing as a Red Cross worker. EU Referendum links to a profile of our hero.

Somewhat related: Robin Boyd notes that the Code Pink hotties are touring Lebanon. Kate Werk has some fun with photogs' obsession with Arab children's toys.

That's it for this roundup, folks! See the NewsBusters front page for future updates. For ones specifically about this topic, see our Photo Manipulation category. Keep sending your tips, though. We can always use them.

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013