Last week, I documented here the way CNN leaned over backwards for balance in a story. In the wake of the Seattle Jewish Center shooting, it equated the fear of Jewish-Americans of similar incidents . . . with the fear of Hezbollah supporters of being unfairly accused.

Although it wasn't nearly so egregious, Fox News Channel's Anita Vogel [seen here in a file photo] just engaged in some over-reaching herself in the name of balance. She narrated an otherwise solid segment on 'fauxtography' and other ways in which the media and Hezbollah supporters manipulate the news. The segment included an interview with star blogger Charles Johnson, founder of Little Green Footballs, who played a key role in outing the smoky Beirut-skyline bit of fauxtography.

But then, searching for balance where there really is little or none to be had, Vogel claimed that the Israeli government also manipulates the news:

"But we need to keep in mind, there are other ways foreign governments control the media. The Israeli government exercises control over the media during wartime, like prohibiting them from reporting on real-time rocket strikes and places in northern Israel where officials are visiting due to safety concerns."



This is just surreal:

staged

The caption reads:



QANA, 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.



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.



Angelo Frammartino came to Israel to help with a camp for Palestinian children and got a knife in the back instead. Wire service and Italian news accounts depict an idealistic young pacifist, martyred in the cause of peace. United Press International reports:
JERUSALEM, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- An Italian law student, visiting Israel to help with a camp for Palestinian children, was stabbed to death in Jerusalem in what police call a terror attack.
And, in Ansa.it, Frammartino is eulogized:
"In a world with hate running through it, a voice that firmly believed in dialogue and solidarity has been silenced," Marrazzo added. "We want to use his own words to talk about him: Make love with non-violence to give birth to peace from the womb of society'," de Palma said .
But Australian blogger Israelly Cool discovered some more details about Frammartino's pacifist philosophy.


It doesn't take much to offend liberals' exquisite sensitivities. The latest? Referring to Islamofascists as . . . Islamofascists. Chris Matthews got the ball rolling on this evening's Hardball. But Charlie Rangel upped the ante to the max, managing to impugn Christians and Jews in the bargain. Fortunately, GOP Congressman Dan Lungren had the guts to call Rangel on it.

Matthews got things started by challenging Lungren: "Would you include Hezbollah in that group [of Islamofascists]? Would you include Hamas, they are they enemies of Israel. Are they also enemies of ours? Are they also fascists because they have a dispute with Israel? Anybody who is against us is a fascist now."

Rangel sent things to the moon a bit later with this line: "You take Islamic and you call them fascists, you call them radical. You never called Hitler a Christian fascist. This is insulting to an entire religion."



"Okay, for this next shot, we're going to need you over here."

"Good use of ketchup on that corpse."



Putting aside more conspiratorially-minded critics of the mainstream media, genuine practical concerns and mounting evidence suggest Western media has been co-opted by Hezbollah in Lebanon to a significant agree. So much so, in fact, that it may be unable to paint an accurate picture of the current conflict.

The two year old image at right is from a Reuters video of Palestinian terrorists escaping from an action in Israel with the aid of a UN van. Video here. The decision by America's MSM not to publish it at the time may represent press bias, or that its concern for American's right to know is somewhat selective. However, it also serves to make another important point.

Service organizations like the UN and the Red Cross often rely on local individuals to flesh out their staffs. Obviously, there are areas of the world where it's difficult to tell the good guys from the bad and sometimes the bad guys may represent the majority of the local population. Such may be the case in Southern Lebanon and it invites the kind of co-optation witnessed above.

With the MSM having decided to rely heavily on local stringers in covering the Israeli Hezbollah conflict in Southern Lebanon, their coverage appears to have fallen prey to manipulation by a terrorist group, or at least its propaganda machine.



Quick Take: Reuters' initial reaction to the UK airliner bomb plot arrests was to tie it to Tony Blair and Israel's actions in Lebanon. A later story, perhaps in response to blog criticism of the original, added the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as "reasons." Nowhere is the idea that Islamic Jihadism, independent of day-to-day events in the Middle East, is involved. More important, and worse -- Articles containing speculation gone wild are allowed to go out disguised as "objective" news pieces.
________________________________________

Here, from The Washington Post at 2:13 AM (article saved to my hard drive to guard against the "memory-hole effect) are three paragraphs from a Reuters story on the UK airliner bomb plot arrests (paras 9, 10, and 11):

Following the arrests, security at all British airports was increased and additional security measures put in place for all flights.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has come under strong criticism at home and abroad for following the U.S. lead and refusing to call for an immediate ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Lebanese Hizbollah guerrillas.

The security alert comes 13 months after four Islamist suicide bombers killed 52 people on London's transport network on July 7 last year.



It is certainly true that a picture is worth a thousand words when it comes to news photographs, and it’s especially true of news photographs from war zones.



Brenda Goodman follows up on her NY Times story on the loss in the Democratic primary by inflammatory Rep. Cynthia McKinney of Georgia, but lets her allies blame the Republicans in "Democrat Says G.O.P. Voters Led to Her Loss."



In a special bonus feature in our ongoing “Friday Night Fights” segment, a real barnburner took place Wednesday evening on CNN’s “Larry King Live.” In the left corner, Air America radio personality Randi Rhodes.