A photo used by Reuters of bombing damage done by Israel in Beirut is being identified as a fraud by photo experts. Most telling is the pattern of smoke rising over the city; it seems to have been doctored — cloned, is the term being used — by Photoshop (a program that permits editing of photos) so that the billowing smoke appears far more excessive than it really was. I’m no photo expert and even I can see it. Please, to see for yourself, take a look at:
You’ll be able to see the cloning — the repeating pattern in the smoke; smoke simply does not billow this way. What is more the photo clones buildings that were destroyed as well.
To make matters more interesting, the photographer of this photo, one Adnan Hajj, also took pictures at Qana, where Israel ostensibly bombed civilians — he photographed one man who was seen repeatedly holding dead bodies (looking suspiciously like rigor mortis had set in).
So precisely what is going on? Did Reuters dummy the picture?
Not according to one blog observer —http://ace.mu.nu/archives/189452.php — who says, the problem is the main stream media’s “credulously taking every report or picture submitted by a foreign stringer with likely political biases, unknown loyalties, and dubious ethics, and splashing them on the front pages as if they’d all been carefully scrutinized and vetted.”
The media has a lot of explaining to do, he insists, “But they will do no explaining, and ask no questions…because they cannot admit that they have cut foreign budgets to such a degree they now rely almost entirely on local stringers of questionable objectivity and integrity for the bulk of their foreign reportage.
“…They’d more or less have to simply say ‘Almost all of our international coverage is highly suspect due to our unwillingness to send credentialed journalists into these areas.'”
And there’s more. Take a look at: http://dfrankfurter.livejournal.com/77833.html and you will see a photo that ran on the front page of The Washington Post on July 31, showing a row of the “dead” from Qana. Click on the photo. Then click again on the last body in the row, which will enlarge it. Guess what? This “body” didn’t realize he was still on camera and he is sitting up under his sheet. But that didn’t prevent the Post from running the photo.
And as if this isn’t bad enough, Tom Gross, writing in The Jerusalem Post on August 2, said that “CNN ‘senior international correspondent’ Nic Robertson admitted that his anti-Israel report from Beirut on July 18 about civilian casualties in Lebanon, was stage-managed from start to finish by Hezbollah. He revealed that his story was heavily influenced by Hezbollah’s ‘press officer’ and that Hezbollah has ‘very, very sophisticated and slick media operations.’
“When pressed a few days later about his reporting on the CNN program ‘Reliable Sources,’ Robertson acknowledged that Hezbollah militants had instructed the CNN camera team where and what to film. Hezbollah ‘had control of the situation,’ Robertson said. ‘They designated the places that we went to, and we certainly didn’t have time to go into the houses or lift up the rubble to see what was underneath.'”
So we are facing a PR problem of huge dimensions and vast implications. Media sources (CNN and BBC being especially culpable) must be held accountable for their biases and their slipshod journalism.
Written August 6, 2006