Bold Distortions and Outright Lies

The conflict between Israel and the Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah has produced some of the most distorted and biased reporting we have seen in years. Despite evidence that Israel is taking unprecedented steps to avoid civilian casualties, some in the media have accused the IDF of using disproportionate force against a harmless civilian population. With little evidence to back up this claim, some are even resorting to outright fraud as in the following case.

LITTLE GREEN FOOTBALLS EXPOSES REUTERS’ LIE

Little Green Footballs is a blog run by Charles Johnson that has frequently been the first to expose media distortions and other breaking news from the Middle East. Knowing just how far dishonest journalists will go when attacking Israel,  Johnson was immediately suspicious when he noticed the following Reuters photograph that was sent to media outlets worldwide.

Writing in LGF, Johnson claimed:

“This Reuters photograph shows blatant evidence of manipulation. Notice the repeating patterns in the smoke; this is almost certainly caused by using the Photoshop “clone” tool to add more smoke to the image.

Smoke simply does not contain repeating symmetrical patterns like this, and you can see the repetition in both plumes of smoke. There’s really no question about it. It’s not only the plumes of smoke that were ‘enhanced.’ There are also cloned buildings.”

Faced with an onslaught of bloggers taking up the case and demonstrating how clearly the picture had been doctored, Reuters finally came clean and admitted that the picture was a lie. Attempting to stop the worldwide distribution, Reuters issued a “photo kill” and explained to news outlets:

PICTURE KILL FOR LBN20 TRANSMITTED AT APPROXIMATELY 1408GMT ON AUGUST 5, 2006. PHOTO EDITING SOFTWARE WAS IMPROPERLY USED ON THIS IMAGE. A CORRECTED VERSION WILL IMMEDIATELY FOLLOW THIS ADVISORY. PLEASE REMOVE THE IMAGE FROM YOUR SYSTEMS. WE ARE SORRY FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE.

Reuters needs to explain clearly to the public several critical issues:

  1. Why did a Reuters photographer manipulate the images to make the damage look more severe than it was;
  2. How could Reuters editors not catch the fraud when a blogger and a group of amateur photographers noticed it easily;
  3. What steps is Reuters taking to punish those involved in the creation and distribution of this forgery and what Reuters is doing to prevent these hoaxes in the future.

You can contact Reuters at a number of e-mail addresses listed here.

TOM GROSS EXPOSES MORE MEDIA MANIPULATION

Journalist Tom Gross has published an article in the National Review entitled “The Media Aims Its Missiles.” Here is a selection from that article that we find very revealing about the extent the media is being manipulated.

A CNN MAN LETS SLIP

“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 Hizbullah. He revealed that his story was heavily influenced by Hizbullah’s “press officer” and that Hizbullah have “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 Hizbullah militants had instructed the CNN camera team where and what to film. Hizbullah “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.”

Robertson added that Hizbullah has “very, very good control over its areas in the south of Beirut. They deny journalists access into those areas. You don’t get in there without their permission. We didn’t have enough time to see if perhaps there was somebody there who was, you know, a taxi driver by day, and a Hizbullah fighter by night.”

Yet “Reliable Sources,” presented by Washington Post writer Howard Kurtz, is broadcast only on the American version of CNN. So CNN International viewers around the world will not have had the opportunity to learn from CNN’s “Senior international correspondent” that the pictures they saw from Beirut were carefully selected for them by Hizbullah.

Another journalist let the cat out of the bag last week. Writing on his blog while reporting from southern Lebanon, Time magazine contributor Christopher Allbritton, casually mentioned in the middle of a posting: “To the south, along the curve of the coast, Hezbollah is launching Katyushas, but I’m loathe to say too much about them. The Party of God has a copy of every journalist’s passport, and they’ve already hassled a number of us and threatened one.”

Robertson is not the only foreign journalist to have misled viewers with selected footage from Beirut. NBC’s Richard Engel, CBS’s Elizabeth Palmer, and a host of European and other networks, were also taken around the damaged areas by Hizbullah minders. Palmer commented on her report that “Hizbullah is also determined that outsiders will only see what it wants them to see.”

Palmer’s honesty is helpful. But it doesn’t prevent the damage being done by organizations such as the BBC. First the BBC gave the impression that Israel had flattened the greater part of Beirut. Then to follow up its lop-sided coverage, its website helpfully carried full details of the assembly points for an anti-Israel march due to take place in London, but did not give any details for a rally in support of Israel also held in London a short time later.

OBSESSION SCREENINGS IN NEW YORK

There will be two screenings of the movie Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West in New York City this Monday and Tuesday.

Due to the incredible volume of coverage, not all instances of media bias can be specifically highlighted by HonestReporting. We call on our subscribers to go the extra mile and respond to the media where necessary. Click here to find contact details for major international media outlets.

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