Admitting to participating in news manipulation was bad enough and doing it while endangering a child was even worse. Further compounding things, though, was that in an accompanying photo essay, the Beeb breathlessly identified another Israeli munition left behind in a Lebanese house as an anti-personnel mine. Trouble is, it wasn't:
From SUSANNA BRANDON, copy editor, USA Today: BBC correspondent Martin Asser, reporting Aug. 21 from Southern Lebanon, caused something of a photo-staging and child-endangerment stir when he informed readers: "The shell is huge, bigger than the young boy pushed forward to stand reluctantly next to it while we get our cameras out and record the scene for posterity."
But deeper into the accompanying photo essay, titled Lebanese Villagers Return Home, was something equally amiss: a device breathlessly identified in photo No. 9 as an anti-personnel mine. One is led to assume that the mine was left behind by the Israelis to maim these innocent civilians returning home.
The Israeli military was busy Tuesday evening in the Rafha refugee camp in Gaza, striking two separate vehicles driven by Hamas activists, according to the Beeb:
Three Hamas militants have been killed in two Israeli air strikes on cars in Rafah, southern Gaza, Palestinian officials said.
The first attack killed an activist from Hamas' military wing and hurt his companion. Dozens of bystanders were also hurt, Palestinian doctors said.
But a day after criticizing Israel for "disproportionate" strikes against civilians, U.N. humanitarian chief Jan Egeland accused Hezbollah of "cowardly blending" among Lebanese civilians.Thanks for pointing that out, TS. Sorry for the mistake on my part!) Figures. Cross-posted over at Snapped Shot. While you're waiting for the press to cover events in the middle east fairly, you might try seeing if you can find Li'l Kim.
Despite being taken hostage at gunpoint in Gaza by a jihadist group and held captive for 13 days, Fox News cameraman Olaf Wiig says he can't condemn his captors.
"It's really complex," Wiig said on "Good Morning America."
In short, much of the most incendiary media coverage of this war seems to have been either staged or fabricated. The big question is why the western media would perpetrate such institutionalised mendacity. Many ancillary reasons come to mind. There is the reliance upon corrupted news and picture agencies which employ Arab propagandists as stringers and cameramen. There is the herd mentality of the media which decides collectively what the story is. There is the journalists’ fear for their personal safety if they report the truth about terrorist outfits. There is the difficulty of discovering the truth from undemocratic regimes and terrorist organisations. There is the language barrier; there is professional laziness; there is the naïve inability to acknowledge the depths of human evil and depravity; there is the moral inversion of the left which believes that western truth-tellers automatically tell lies, while third world liars automatically tell the truth.
But the big answer is that the western media transmit the lies of Hezbollah because they want to believe them. And that’s because the Big Lie these media tell — and have themselves been told — about Israel and its place in history and in the world today has achieved the status of unchallengeable truth. The plain fact is that western journalists were sent to cover the war being waged against Israel from Lebanon as a war being waged by Israel against Lebanon. And that’s because that’s how editors think of the Middle East: that the whole ghastly mess is driven by Israel’s actions, and that therefore it is only Israel’s aggression which is the story to be covered.
Looking back, it all seems so predictable. The relentless criticism, the countless sneering jabs from Keith Olbermann directed at the Bush administration were building to an inexorable climax. It came tonight. Olbermann flatly accused the Bush administration of representing "a new type of fascism."
There has been quite a bit of debate in the blogosphere surrounding this story (note: link has been deactivated) of several days ago:
An Israeli air strike hit a Reuters vehicle in Gaza City on Saturday, wounding two journalists as they covered a military incursion, doctors and residents said.
Elsewhere on the fake Middle Eastern news front, the Second Draft has two must-see videos (HT: Instapundit) that look at a famous "news" item from 2000 in which a young Palestinian boy is reportedly shot by Israeli soldiers while crouching behind a barrel. The footage was filmed by a Palestinian cameraman working for a French television station. Upon further examination, like many pictures from that part of the world, the video appears to not be what actually happened.
The documentary looks at other video shot by cameramen sitting behind the boy and his father, right in the line of Israeli fire who did not sustain any injuries, leading to the conclusion that the boy was not killed by Israelis but by Palestinians. Follow the link above for the second video. Both are downloadable on the Second Draft site for those unable to view Flash.
As Dave Pierre notes, some newspapers can be proven to find Jill Carroll of the Christian Science Monitor a more newsworthy hostage than Fox News Channel's Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig. It's certainly true of the Washington Post, which never put Steve and Olaf on page one, even after they were released. On Monday, in his weekly "Critiquing the Press" online chat, Howard Kurtz disagreed with his paper's record:
One of the worst aspects of journalism is that its bias of access. Few journalists ever tell readers what they do to get a story or a picture. As we've learned during the ongoing fauxtography scandal, the Western press has often been complicit or worse in the attempts of terrorist organizations to manipulate the news.
Writing in the New Republic (hat tip: LGF), free lancer Annia Ciezadlo exposes more of Hezbollah's news manufacturing apparatus. The disturbing thing is that until bloggers blew the story open, we heard more complaints about the Bush Administration staging news events than we did about terrorists doing so. We're at the point here where even moral equivalence would be desirable:
Who says Lebanon's tourism industry is dead? Come to Beirut these days and you can take a guided tour of Hell, with Hezbollah as your escort. Every day, the Party of God welcomes visitors to Haret Hreik, in the heart of the city's mostly Shia southern suburbs. Once home to Hezbollah's headquarters and Beirut's most densely populated neighborhood, Haret Hreik is now a smoking swath of wreckage. For the thousands of families who used to live here, the devastation is almost unimaginable. But, for Hezbollah, the ruins of this once-bustling neighborhood have become a tourist attraction--and an invaluable propaganda tool.