From BOB LAURENCE, TV critic, San Diego Union-Tribune: I'd like to offer a couple of possible reasons for the lack of attention given to the kidnapping of the two guys from Fox:
One is that, sadly, they are far from the first to be kidnapped, injured or killed. They are, alas, only the most recent two of many. The kidnapping or targeting of journalists in Iraq isn't the story it once was.
Who would have thought journalists already have a preestablished mold on how news stories should look? Some business stories are now being written by a computer program after key information is entered in. The program then fits that information into a preestablished mold of how a news story should look. This is meant to free up time for reporters to do more complicated stories.
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.
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."
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."
Is the more than 100-year-old profession of photojournalism going to be destroyed in just a few short weeks?
David D. Perlmutter, journalism professor and author of "Visions of War, Photojournalism and Foreign Policy," writes in Editor and Publisher that he is alarmed by what is happening to his beloved profession.
In twenty years of researching and teaching about the art and trade and doing photo-documentary work, I have never witnessed or heard of such a wave of attacks on the people who take news pictures and on the basic premise that nonfiction news photo- and videography is possible.
Perlmutter doesn't exactly know what's happening.
I'm not sure, however, if the craft I love is being murdered, committing suicide, or both.
Here at NewsBusters, we often bring you irrational rants from paranoid lefties who are certain that Chimpy Bush McHitler is trying to become dictator of America, enslave anyone to the left of Pat Robertson, and personally assasinate Pinch Sulzberger.
Now, for a change of pace, here's Val Prieto on some real journalists who actually are living in a totalitarian government. Here's an excerpt but the entire piece is very well worth reading:
Right now there remain at least two dozen independent journalists incarcerated in Cuba simply because they dared speak the truth. Some have been locked away since 2003, still in the infancy of their 15 or 20 year sentences. Truth has made them suffer beatings, torture and malnutrition. Truth has mocked, ridiculed, and subjected them to abject horrors and indignity.
All because they bear witness to the world around them and dare describe it nakedly and without their government’s official veil.
There are many journalists from around the world in Havana. CNN is there. Reuters, the AP. They live comfortably in hotel rooms and work in comfortable in air-conditioned offices full of amenities. They have the copy machine. They have the faxes and computers and printers and scanners. They have staff and editors. What they don’t have is the security to report the truth.
CNN is so exceptional with its shows and journalists, so there must be some other reason why Fox News is ahead. Thus writes Jon Friedman in his "Media Web" commentary at MarketWatch.com.
Friedman rattles off a whole litany of reasons why CNN is exceptional.
CNN, a unit of Time Warner, has invested a lot of its parent's dough to assemble a first-rate global reporting and production staff. It features such reliable and charismatic on-air stars as Nic Robertson and Christiane Amanpour abroad. Peter Bergen is rapidly becoming the most compelling voice when it comes to analyzing the ongoing worldwide terrorism story.
In the U.S., CNN has a very deep bench, too. John King, its long-time top White House reporter (and now a senior national correspondent), stands out in what I've regarded for many years to be television's finest Washington bureau.
Fortune's Andy Serwer, who appears regularly on CNN's breakfast-hour show, is the most analytical business-news commentator around -- and the same goes for the New Yorker writer Jeffrey Toobin, when the topic turns to legal matters.
Further, the lively "Reliable Sources," anchored by Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz, is an hour-long look at journalism's weekly hits and (mostly) misses. The show stands out for its consistent excellence even though it faces stiff competition on Sunday mornings.
Hezbollah has pledged that its fighters south of the Litani will disarm.
Not only is that utterly untrue, one can check thousands of wire stories to confirm the obviously false nature of the statement; though Hezbollah might want the world to believe it. Below is only one example. Pick one for yourself ... and consider informing CNN while you're at it. Evidently their web editors haven't read around very much regarding current events in the Middle East.
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.
After reading something like a recent story in the L.A. Times, one is struck with how little "news" or analysis is often included in the "news" paper, and how much evocative, emotive, fluff has replaced any attempt at informing the reader of what is really going on.
In the story titled, "His Heart Was Full for Lebanon and U.S.", writer ... or maybe I should say "story teller" as that seems more descriptive... Sam Quinones, gave us what amounts to a one sided, propagandistic account of the life of a man killed in Lebanon who so "loved" both the USA and Lebanon.
The subtitle pretty much tells the reader the direction of the story.
Covering a speech by Lebanese political leader Saad Hariri, son of Rafik Hariri, whose assassination launched the Cedar Revolution resulting in the withdrawal of Syria from Lebanon, the Guardian Unlimited goes so far as to list Israel first as a target of Hariri's condemnation. Their story highlights Hariri's words about Israel, placing them on a par with his attack on Syria:
Hariri's son condemns Israel and Syria The son of Lebanon's assassinated former prime minister and leader of the largest faction in the Lebanese parliament today condemned the involvement of both Israel and Syria in the country's month-long war.
The Guardian finally mentions, in the eleventh paragraph, that Hariri's criticism of Israel was in response to a speech by Syrian leader Bashar Assad, in which he accused anti-Syrian factions of aligning themselves with Israel.
KOLKATA, India - A group of Indian television
journalists gave a man matches and diesel to help him commit suicide in
order to get dramatic footage which was later broadcast on the news,
police said on Thursday.
man died from severe burns to his body in hospital in Gaya town in the
eastern state of Bihar on Aug. 15, India's Independence Day.
of the man, screaming and writhing in pain as he ran with his back on
fire, was aired on several television channels. Police identified the
man as Manoj Mishra.
"We have seized footage clearly showing a
group of journalists handing over matches and some inflammable
substance -- which we later verified to be diesel -- to the victim,"
acting Gaya police chief P.K. Sinha told Reuters by telephone.
who worked as a delivery man, was upset over what he said was a large
sum of money owed to him by a state-run dairy farm whose milk he
transported to customers, police said.
Libanoscopie, a Lebanese Christian website, quotes a military expert to dismiss Hezbollah's claims of victory over Israel (this is the site that accused Hizballah of putting handicapped children in the building at Qana, then drawing Israeli fire by firing rockets from the roof).
The site is published in French. I've translated below:
Hezbollah's Fictional Victory in Lebanon
After 34 days of fighting, Hezbollah's secretary general [Hasan Nasrallah] is claiming victory, his supporters strolling to their hearts' content on the still smoking ruins of what were, a month ago, a hamlet, a village, a city; now a district where multi-story buildings have been reduced to powder, devastated by a wind that destroyed the major part of its existence.
On the Chicago Tribune's front page today is the story of an illegal immigrant who's taken refuge in a Chicago church to avoid deportation. The headline is "Act of faith, defiance" and the article includes a color photo of the woman and her son.
Yesterday's Tribune coverage on the event noted: "The church's pastor, the Rev. Walter Coleman, said his congregation decided to offer Arellano refuge after praying about her plight.. . . 'She represents the voice of the undocumented, and we think it's our obligation, our responsibility, to make a stage for that voice to be heard,' he said."
Walter Coleman? Could that be Walter "Slim" Coleman, a longtime left wing activist? Yes, it is.
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.
One of the interesting evidences of bias in the mainstream press is the way that all political discussions tend to be written from the point-of-view of "what do the Democrats need to do to win?" This New York Times "analysis" is just the latest example. All of the factors that you'd expect to see from a PR firm trying to help Democrats get elected are present.
Introductory paragraph framing the issue from the Democrats' perspective? Check.
After being outmaneuvered in the politics of national security in the last two elections, Democrats say they are determined not to cede the issue this year and are working to cast President Bush as having diminished the nation’s safety.
"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.
For the second time in four days, the Los Angeles Times has reported about the illicit and invalid "ordination" of women who call themselves Catholic. The latest effort is by Times staffer Robin Fields, "Female Priest Defies the Catholic Church" (Monday, August 14, 2006). Fields profiled Jane Via, of San Diego, one of several bogus "priests" who have been falsely "ordained" and recently presided over a "Mass." Far from being a balanced piece, the article directly quoted four vocal supporters of Via (including Via herself) and not one dissenting voice of her actions. Balanced reporting at the Times? Not even close.
According to the AP, two Fox employees, one being reporter Steve Centanni, were kidnapped by Palestinians in Gaza earlier today. Fox is barely speaking about this at all, and I'm tending to think it's to keep it out of the spotlight while negotiations are on-going. Only Jennifer Griffin would mention this as she was interviewed from Kiryat Shmona (video link by MsUnderestimated) this afternoon. God speed and I hope for a quick release of these hostages. My prayers are with the entire Fox family now, even though the lunatics over at DU are voicing their "wishes" about who they wanted it to have been.
Well, we have the MSM's drum beat slogan firmly established. It is increasingly being used time and again since the British uncovered their terror plot last week. Republicans are merely "using" this whole terror thing as a tactic to get votes.
It couldn't be that we REALLY face terrorism, that is is something to be worried about and discussed seriously, right?
The annual Harris poll of the trust garnered by each profession is out. As usual, journalism nears the bottom of the list, 16 out of 22, lower than the president and lower than another target they like to attack, business leaders.
"Would you generally trust each of the following types of people to tell the truth, or not?"
Doctors Teachers Scientists Police officers Professors Clergymen or priests Military officers Judges
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!'
Were New York Times columnists Paul Krugman and Bob Herbert hangin' in the Hamptons this weekend? Exchanging ideas at a chic cocktail party with ocean views? You might think so, judging by their columns this morning in which they sound such similar themes.
Compare Krugman: "The Bush administration and its allies in Congress saw the terrorist threat not as a problem to be solved, but as a political opportunity to be exploited."
With Herbert: "Will [Americans] continue to fall for the political exploitation of their fears of terrorism?"
Other annotated excerpts, first from Herbert's column, Aiding Our Enemies [subscription required. Note to readers: despite my reluctance to patronize the NY Times, I broke down and subscribed over the weekends. I subscribe, read and report back, so you don't have to!]
"The catastrophic war in Iraq, which has caused the deaths of tens of thousands, was a strategic mistake of the highest magnitude. It diverted our focus, energy and resources from the real enemy, Al Qaeda and its offshoots."
Last week, in this NewsBusters post, we took issue with the anti-Catholicism in an August 5, 2006, column from Los Angeles Times media critic Tim Rutten. In an especially ugly and vitriolic piece, Rutten capitalized on the arrest of Mel Gibson to imply that orthodox Christians and supporters of Gibson's The Passion of the Christ film were anti-Semitic. Rutten's column builds the case that anti-Christian and anti-Catholic prejudice is alive and well at the Los Angeles Times.
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.
If Davie Rossie's ramblings were simply those of one more angry liberal pundit, they'd hardly merit comment. What makes his utterances noteworthy is that when Rossie isn't churning out his once-a-week column, he is editing the news for the Gannett chain. Rossie is Associate Editor of Gannett's Binghamton paper, the Press & Sun Bulletin.
In today's column, 'Once There Were Giants in Television News', Rossie laments that they aren't making TV newsmen like Edward R. Murrow any more. With what might be condemned as sexism, nay, misogyny, had it been suggested by a conservative critic, Rossie grumps that "it's mostly ex-fashion models and Playboy Playmates pretending to understand the news they read to us on cable TV."