It's unquestionable that something bad happened in Qana, Lebanon recently. Was it a massacre of innocent civilians, collateral damage, or a Hezbollah set-up?

It's starting to seem as though it was a combination of all three. The Washington Post's Jefferson Morley, Aziz P, and Ace are some of the bloggers beginning to raise this point. I've excerpted some of their arguments below. If you see any counter-arguments, post them as a comment or email them to me so I can include all sides.

UPDATE 14:25. Dan Riehl theorizes on how Hezbollah might have staged the casualties. Read on past the jump for an excerpt.

UPDATE 14:48. Power Line argues further that Arab stringers for MSM organizations are staging photos.

UPDATE 15:17. Ace has more possibly staged pix, including a mannequin improbably standing upright sporting a wedding dress.

Bring back Katie! OK, perhaps that's not the solution, but the sycophantish display that Ann Curry put on for Queen Noor and her anti-Israel/pro-Hezbollah views was enough to make you pound the TV screen in frustration.

Noor is a Princeton-educated Arab-American who is the widow of the late King Hussein of Jordan. Curry's opening set the tone. Rather than asking a probing question, Ann invited Noor to lecture America: "what insights might you offer America about what Hezbollah wants and what it's willing to do to get it?"

Noor blamed the Jews and lauded Hezbollah: "Hezbollah was created as was Hamas in the Palestinian territories during a period of Israeli occupation which is on-going in the Palestinian territories and in Lebanon. Hezbollah was largely responsible and credited by the Lebanese for having creating the pressure for having Israel withdraw from Lebanese territory."

Curry took Noor's notion a grotesque step further: "So it's almost seen as a savior."

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann opened his August 7 Countdown show fretting about President Bush's unwillingness to delay his vacation, in contrast with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, during the current fighting in the Middle East, mocking Bush during the teaser by twice uttering the words: "He's on vacation." He even drew a negative parallel from history as he recounted that the Nazi invasion of Europe received a boost while infamous British

The following certainly qualifies as one of the most absurd statements that I’ve heard from a member of the media lately, and as someone that often spends 18 hours a day watching and reading press reports, that’s saying something (hat tip to Hot Air with video available here).

On Sunday’s “Reliable Sources” on CNN, the Washington Post’s Thomas Ricks actually stated with a straight face that Israel is intentionally not destroying all of Hezbollah’s rockets so that some can continue to rain down on Israel killing innocent civilians. This, in Ricks’ view, “helps you with the moral high ground problem, because you know your operations in Lebanon are going to be killing civilians as well.” I kid you not.

Host Howard Kurtz was rather shocked by Ricks’ assertion, and responded almost incredulously:

Disgraced Reuters freelance photographer Adnan Hajj was dismissed by the wire service for altering a photograph of a Lebanese skyline to make the damage caused by Israel look worse (big hat tip to Charles Johnston at Little

In the ongoing investigation of a Lebanese photographer that has been caught with his hand in the Photoshop jar as reported by NewsBusters here and here, Reuters has made the following announcement:

Reuters withdrew all 920 photographs by a freelance Lebanese photographer from its database on Monday after an urgent review of his work showed he had altered two images from the conflict between Israel and the armed group Hizbollah.

Global Picture Editor Tom Szlukovenyi called the measure precautionary but said the fact that two of the images by photographer Adnan Hajj had been manipulated undermined trust in his entire body of work.

Apparently, Reuters is taking this very seriously:

There he goes again.

This one is pretty amazing (hat tip to Drudge). At 8:29AM ET Monday, Reuters reported that 40 people were killed in a Lebanese village by Israeli air strikes. Less than three hours later, the Associated Press reported that the number of casualties had been dropped to one. Here’s the first report:

"An hour ago, a horrific massacre took place in Houla village as a result of the intentional Israeli bombardment that resulted in more than 40 martyrs," Prime Minister Fouad Siniora told an emergency Arab foreign ministers meeting in Beirut.

Residents of Houla said they feared up to 60 people, including many children, had been killed. They said most of the people were shepherds who had refused to flee the fighting.

Here’s the second:

The hot story in the blog world today is the story of Adnan Hajj, a photographer for the Reuters news service who has been exposed as faking shots in his work, most famously, a photograph of a suburb of Beirut, Lebanon in which he inserted fake smoke into the picture to make it look as though Israel was targeting civilians.

Use this thread to post relevant information about the story from blogs and elsewhere. Note to NB contribs: Email me if you want to get in on editing this thread so you won't have to post updates as comments.

UPDATE: Go to Matt Sheffield's open thread for current developments.


Last night's report by Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs that a "Beirut burning" photo that was clearly and clumsily doctored with Photoshop editing tools had made it way onto the wires from Reuters has morphed into what must be considered a full-blown scandal that should, by rights, shake the news service and other "Mainstream" Media outlets to their very foundations, and force them to reexamine how they conduct and control their photojournalistic efforts around the world.

Consider just some of what has happened in the 24 hours or so since my NewsBusters post very early Sunday morning:

  • Reuters has "dropped" the freelance Lebanese journalist after the image in question was shown to be doctored:

  • The wire service offered perhaps the lamest excuse ever offered in the history of photojournalism for Adnan Hajj, the photographer involved --

Fox News’s Neal Gabler was on quite a roll on Saturday's "Fox News Watch." Apart from taking on Mel Gibson as reported by NewsBuster Mark Finkelstein, he also went after conservative columnist Michelle Malkin referring to her as an "opinion monger" (video to follow).

UPDATE: As commenter "Sua Sponte 75" noted, Reuters has issued a "Picture Kill Advisory" (link is to Michelle Malkin, as original PKA appears to have been moved) and has admitted altering the photo. Drudge is currently linking to the story at the very top of his page. To the extent that an organization like Reuters cares about such things, it appears that it has been humiliated.

Commenter "Ten7s" asks a reasonable question -- "Makes me wonder how much deft photo manipulation gets printed in the media." Indeed.

Every once in a while you want to tell yourself that media bias is accidental and not deliberate, a sort of "they can't help themselves" phenomenon.

This is NOT one of those times.

Here is a photo published by Reuters that is captioned, "Smoke billows from burning buildings destroyed during an overnight Israeli air raid on Beirut's suburbs August 5, 2006. Many buildings were flattened during the attack. (Adnan Hajj/Reuters)":

Numerous bloggers and others have pointed out that the image has been heavily photoshopped. Some of them include: