This is just surreal:

staged

The caption reads:



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.



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

"Good use of ketchup on that corpse."



It's important to remember that photographs don't necessarily have to be modified to be propaganda. Consider this one, sent out by the Associated Press from their coverage of the London protests. Notice how the photograph was taken from a low angle? The photographer clearly intended to present a "David vs. Goliath" scenario, with the United States predictably being shoe-horned into Goliath's role. (It's comforting to see that ANSWER has already modified their protest to be against the "US/Israeli war.") Who fills the shoes of the righteous David? Why, of course—Hezbullah does! I have a feeling we'll be seeing more of this photo, as it's much more "emotion-filled" than the one taken moments before. I look forward to continuing with my hunt for photographic propaganda.


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.



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.



The fauxtography scandal is blowing out of control as proof after proof rolls in how much of the self-described photojournalism coming out of Lebanon is illegitimate. If you're a blogger (or are reading some) covering the story, drop me an email at msheffield@gmail.com and I'll include a link in this roundup. And of course, you can link in the comments as well. Comments are now open to unregistered users.

To get up to speed, check out Riehl World View, Hot Air, the Jawa Report, and Zombie. Little Green Footballs is also very much up on the story. To see previous NewsBusters coverage of phony photos, click the relevant categories below this posting.

See below for updates...

UPDATE 6:25. After an overnight hardware failure, NB is back up and running. The links will begin momentarily.

UPDATE 6:38. Snapped Shot is another blog worth checking out. Keep those links coming, folks!

UPDATE 7:05. Via NB reader Geepers comes this link to a German TV news show proving that the infamous Salam Daher, aka "green helmet guy," is a stage manager for Hezbollah. The video shows him rehearsing the removal of a body from an ambulance and giving directions to the camera operator.



That truth is the first casualty of war has been borne home by the proliferating 'fauxtography' scandal of photographs of the current Middle East crisis doctored or staged so as to portray Israel in the worst possible light. At this point, can we look at any image from the area without a good dose of doubt?

Take this morning's report on the Today show. NBC's Richard Engel, in Tyre, Lebanon, reported that:

"The fighting has made humanitarian relief efforts almost impossible. Israel has cut roads and attacked vehicles, isolating Hezbollah and everyone else."

This was followed by a clip of the unidentified individual pictured here. Judging by his words and accent, he might have been a Red Cross official. He asserted:

"Lots of people have died because they just couldn't make it to a hospital in time. Ambulances clearly marked with the Red Cross were hit right in the middle of the roof of the car. The Red Cross stands for protection and neutrality. This should not have happened."



It seems some in the legacy media are entering into that next phase of narrative manipulation—a redefining of terms in order to 1) provide revisionary cover for its ideological fellow travelers, and 2) to fabricate and then facilitate a bandwagon effect. For instance, The New York Times this morning editorializes on the Lamont victory this way:

The rebellion against Mr. Lieberman was actually an uprising by that rare phenomenon, irate moderates. They are the voters who have been unnerved



Bloggers—and to a much lesser extent some media outlets—have paid considerable attention to specific examples of media manipulation in the war being fought between Hezbollah and the IDF in Lebanon and Israel, but we seem be under-covering the overall framing of the media's coverage, particularly when it comes to the subject matter chosen for coverage.

This comes into sharp relief when contrasted against the coverage we've become used to from the war in Iraq, particularly as it relates to the media coverage allowed and provided by two different insurgencies in Lebanon's Hezbollah and Iraq's predominately Sunni insurgency.

In Iraq, we’ve become somewhat used to embedded reporters reporting from both sides of the conflict with a fairly wide latitude to operate. Stringers, both print media and photographers, have occasionally embedded within the insurgency, providing coverage from ambushes and sniper's nests alike. The insurgents themselves often seem to be media hungry, filming operations themselves and often releasing the tapes to the media or producing them on DVDs for public consumption in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.

By and large, the vast majority of video reporting allowed and encouraged by the Iraqi insurgency is combat-related. IED ambushes are particularly popular, often released as montages set to Islamist music as propaganda videos. The Iraqi insurgents have often seemed intent on portraying themselves as rebel forces actively waging a war for the people, whether or not the people would always agree.

Hezbollah, however, seems to be fighting a different kind of media war.



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.