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Jewish World Review
August 9, 2006
/ 15 Menachem-Av, 5766
The Reuterization of war journalism
"What's the big deal over a little faked smoke?" That seems to be the
prevailing attitude among media pooh-bahs irked by bloggers who exposed the
crude Photoshoppery of a Reuters photographer over the weekend. The
cameraman, prolific Lebanese stringer Adnan Hajj and chronicler of
Hizballah, was fired.
But the black cloud of truth-distorting photo fakery, jihadi-sympathizing
news staging, and sloppy photo captioning in the Middle East hangs over
American journalism thicker than anything Hajj could conjure.
Charles Johnson of littlegreenfootballs.com, who was instrumental in
debunking the faked National Guard memos that disgraced CBS News and Dan
Rather during the 2004 presidential election, led an Army of Myth Busters
who exposed Hajj's digital cloning of smoke clouds over a Beirut bombing
scene. The Jawa Report (mypetjawa.mu.nu), another War on Terror blog,
dissected a second Hajj photo of cloned flare smoke in an image of an
Israeli F-16 fighter jet over the skies of Lebanon. A Reuters caption
falsely identified the manipulated flares as "missiles during an air strike
on Nabatiyeh." My video news site, HotAir.com, continues to track the latest
The Internet graphics expert brigade zeroed in on an obvious Photoshop
technique used in the billows of
Hajj's smoke known as the clone stamp tool. It's also known as the rubber
stamp tool, fitting for a news service that seems to have made its mark
rubber stamping pro-Hizballah propaganda. Indeed, the day after Reuters
'fessed up to the doctored photos, the wire service falsely blamed the
Israeli Defense Forces for bombing a funeral procession, according to Arutz
Hajj provided perhaps the lamest excuse in photojournalistic history for his
image manipulation since Dan Rather's "fake but accurate"
rationalization telling his bosses that he was quote trying to "remove dust
marks and that he made mistakes due to the bad lighting conditions he was
working under." Among his many other dubious shots: several
Hizballah-embedded images, an artfully burning Koran, and an iconic photo of
a dead child paraded around Qana by unknown handlers.
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Watch now for braying, rationalizing, and messenger-shooting from the
journalistic elite. You will hear them complain about the blood-thirsty blog
mob. You will see MSM editors rally around Reuters and dismiss this debacle
as a lone event. Adnan Hajj, the new international Jayson Blair/Mike
Barnicle/Janet Cooke/Mary Mapes/Walter Duranty, will end up with a book
contract and a job at Al Jazeera. Media veterans will hope that their
professional apathy will snuff out probing questions like baking soda on a
pan fire. After all, it's "old news" already.
In a sense, they are right. Whether from sloppiness, laziness, incompetence,
or ideological bias, American journalists have played dupes or worse to
jihadi propagandists for decades. Just a few weeks ago, a New York Times
photography editor raved over her photographer Joao Silva's image of an
al-Sadr army snipers posing in a window firing at U.S. troops. "Incredible
courage," she panted. It's not clear whether she was talking about the
photographer or the terrorist.
The Associated Press has failed to respond to
my repeated questions about one of its Iraqi stringers, Bilal Hussein, who
was detained by the U.S. military in April after being captured in a Ramadi
building with a cache of weapons, according to my sources. Hussein was part
of a Pulitzer-winning AP photography team. From the fake "massacre" in
Jenin, to the false accusations against Israel in the shooting of
Palestinian boy Mohammed al-Dura, to the dissemination of "Pallywood"
terrorist video productions, to the false labeling of executed Shiite
fishermen in a Haditha sports stadium as victims of U.S. Marines, the
Reuterization of war journalism goes far beyond Reuters.
Reuters can kill a
few pictures, but it does not kill persistent doubts about the American
media's ability to cover this war through anything but a distorted lens. The
blogosphere can help clear the bogus smoke. Only the Old Media itself can
stamp out the toxic fire.
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Comment on JWR contributor Michelle Malkin's column by clicking here.
Michelle Malkin Archives
In Unhinged: Liberals Gone Wild
adj : affected with madness or insanity; [syn: brainsick, crazy, demented, distracted, disturbed, mad, sick, unbalanced]
The American Heritage Dictionary
*** Warning: Unhinged liberals are hazardous to the nation's health.
They're slashing your tires. Burning your lawns. Heaving pies at Republican pundits. Hurling racist epithets at minority conservatives. Nursing nutty conspiracy theories. And pining publicly for the murder of President Bush.
And they call us crazy?
In In Unhinged: Liberals Gone Wild, Michelle Malkin plays conservative Margaret Mead to the alien political creatures of the American Left. With uproarious detail and rollicking reportage, Malkin chronicles the bizarre world of leftists gone mad in their natural habitats: the mainstream media, academia, Hollywood, and Washington.
Unhinged unmasks liberals who've completely abandoned rationality and reality. They're taking chainsaws and bayonets to campaign signs. Running down political opponents with their cars. Setting fire to political opponents in effigy. Defacing war memorials. Swiping yellow ribbons off cars. And supporting the fragging of American troops.
In Unhinged, you'll meet:
- The Top 10 Unhinged Leftists, Celebrities, Media Liberals, and Politicians. - The Pennsylvania Democrat who repeatedly screamed "faggot" at his Republican opponents on the Senate floor. - The Florida Democrat who tried to run down former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris with his Cadillac. - The Democrat congressman who claimed the capture of Saddam Hussein was staged by GOP operatives to help the Bush re-election campaign. - The veteran newsman who claimed that Bush advisor Karl Rove and Osama bin Laden are working hand-in-hand to help the Republican Party. - And hundreds more unhinged liberals gone wild!
With wit, wisdom, and a bullet-proof vest, Michelle Malkin ruthlessly and raucously skewers the myths of liberal tolerance, peace, and civility. Unhinged shows how conservatives are driving their opponents mad. The good news for liberals? Self-help starts here.
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