The Reuterization Of War Journalism
"What`s the big deal
over a little faked smoke?" That seems to be the
prevailing attitude among media pooh-bahs irked by
bloggers who exposed the crude Photoshoppery of a
Reuters photographer over the weekend. The cameraman,
prolific Lebanese stringer and chronicler of Hizballah
Adnan Hajj, was fired.
But the black cloud of
truth-distorting photo fakery, jihadi-sympathizing news
staging and sloppy photo captioning in the Middle East
hangs over American journalism thicker than anything
Hajj could conjure.
Charles Johnson of
littlegreenfootballs.com, who was instrumental in
debunking the faked National Guard memos that
disgraced CBS News and Dan Rather during the 2004
led an Army of Myth Busters who exposed Hajj`s
digital cloning of smoke clouds over a Beirut bombing
scene. The Jawa Report (mypetjawa.mu.nu),
another War on Terror blog,
dissected a second Hajj photo of cloned flare smoke
in an image of an Israeli F-16 fighter jet over the
skies of Lebanon. A Reuters caption
falsely identified the manipulated flares as
"missiles during an air strike on Nabatiyeh." My
video news site,
HotAir.com, continues to
track the latest developments.
The Internet graphics
expert brigade zeroed in on an obvious Photoshop
technique used in the billows of Hajj`s smoke known as
the clone stamp tool. It`s also known as the rubber
stamp tool, fitting for a news service that seems to
have made its mark rubber stamping pro-Hizballah
propaganda. Indeed, the day after Reuters `fessed up to
the doctored photos, the wire service falsely blamed the
Israeli Defense Forces for bombing a funeral procession,
according to Arutz Sheva.
Hajj provided perhaps the
lamest excuse in photojournalistic history for his image
manipulation since Dan Rather`s "fake but accurate"
rationalization — telling his bosses that he was quote
"remove dust marks and that he made mistakes due to the
bad lighting conditions he was working under."
Among his many other dubious shots: several Hizballah-embedded
artfully burning Koran and an iconic photo of a dead
child paraded around Qana by unknown handlers.
Watch now for braying,
rationalizing and messenger-shooting from the
journalistic elite. You will hear them complain about
the bloodthirsty blog mob. You will see MSM editors
rally around Reuters and dismiss this debacle as a lone
event. Adnan Hajj, the new international
Duranty, will end up with a book contract and a job
at Al Jazeera. Media veterans will hope that their
professional apathy will snuff out probing questions
like baking soda on a pan fire. After all, it`s "old
In a sense, they are
right. Whether from sloppiness, laziness, incompetence
or ideological bias, American journalists have played
dupes or worse to jihadi propagandists for decades. Just
a few weeks ago, a New York Times photography editor
raved over her photographer Joao Silva`s image of an al-Sadr
army sniper posing in a window firing at U.S. troops.
"Incredible courage," she panted. It`s not clear
whether she was talking about the photographer or the
terrorist. The Associated Press has failed to respond to
my repeated questions about one of its Iraqi stringers,
Bilal Hussein, who was detained by the U.S. military in
April after being captured in a Ramadi building with a
cache of weapons, according to my sources. Hussein was
part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning AP photography team.
From the fake
"massacre" in Jenin, to the false accusations
against Israel in the shooting of Palestinian boy
Mohammed al-Dura, to the dissemination of "Pallywood"
terrorist video productions, to the false labeling of
executed Shiite fishermen in a Haditha sports stadium as
victims of U.S. Marines, the Reuterization of war
journalism goes far beyond Reuters.
Reuters can kill a few
pictures, but it does not kill persistent doubts about
the American media`s ability to cover this war through
anything but a distorted lens. The blogosphere can help
clear the bogus smoke. Only the Old Media itself can
stamp out the toxic fire.
Michelle Malkin [email
her] is author of
Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists,
Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores.
here for Peter Brimelow`s review. Click
here for Michelle Malkin`s website.
Michelle Malkin`s latest book is "Unhinged:
Exposing Liberals Gone Wild."
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