Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A "Picture Kill" Is Worth A Thousand Lies.

For those too lazy (or frightened) to click around yesterday's posts to various Al Retuers photo frauds, kick back for five and watch this wrapup from Vent.

It's too bad that Hot Air is managed by a hypocritical bully boy because Malkin's pieces are usually good and she's still cute, though her willingness to let Allahpundit squelch speech is disappointing.

If you're still in the mood to read, hit this Investor's Business Daily column about Al Reuters:

Need a little anti-war, anti-Semitic buck-up? Try some Reuters coverage. The British news outlet will be only too happy to oblige.

The photo, an image of the aftermath of an Israeli airstrike in Beirut, had apparently been altered to give the effect that the smoke was thicker and the damage worse than it was. The doctored version, credited to Adnan Hajj, a freelance Lebanese photographer, shows two heavy plumes of smoke where there was in fact but one.

Reuters' explanation? "Photo editing software was improperly used on this image. . . . We are sorry for any inconvenience."

An apology to clients is nice. But what about an apology to Israel for employing staff members who are trying to inflame world opinion against a nation that is already globally hated?

For his effort in pointing out the phoniness of the photograph, [Charles Johnson of the Little Green Footballs blog] got a warm message from a Reuters account that said: "I look forward to the day when you pigs get your throats cut." The so-far-unidentified person used "zionistpig" as his or her e-mail address.

Another anti-Semitic misstep and another Reuters statement. This time the news service confirmed that, yes, "an employee has been suspended pending further investigation." The person "was not an employee of Reuters' news division," for whatever that's worth.

Just one episode, some might say. Means nothing. But there's a pattern:

• Thanks to the Powerline blog, we know that Reuters is either sloppy or has purposely used unaltered (we presume) photos to try, yet again, to cripple Israel's self-defense initiative by exaggerating the damage.

On July 24 Reuters issued a photo of a damaged area in Beirut with the explanation that it was the result of "Israeli attacks on a Hezbollah stronghold." Less than two weeks later, a photo dated Aug. 5 from the same damaged area but from a different angle shows a woman walking "past a building flattened during an overnight Israeli air raid on Beirut's suburbs August 5, 2006."

The photographer? Adnan Hajj, whose entire catalog of Reuters photos has been pulled by the news outlet. The agency also said it has "ended its relationship with Hajj."

• Reuters has not admitted to any doctoring of photos regarding the site of Israel's late July attack on Hezbollah in the Lebanese village of Qana. But the blogosphere is hot with charges that Reuters and others were duped by — or cooperated with — Hezbollah to stage the rescue and recovery of the Qana victims to stir up scorn for Israel.

The Reuters photographer this time? Hajj.

• Reuters has admitted that Hajj changed an image of an Israeli F-16 flying over Lebanon to make it appear the jet fighter dropped three flares rather than one.

• Fearing it will violate its commitment to accuracy and impartiality — which clearly are in question — Reuters refuses, as company policy, to use the word "terrorist" in news reports. Executives prefer that "individuals, organizations and governments . . . make their own decisions based on the facts." But when Reuters provides the facts, reaching a reasoned conclusion becomes a difficult task.

Is Reuters a patsy or collaborator? Either way, it is helping the cause of terrorism and undermining civilization.

Unless it wants to become just another branch of Al-Jazeera, it had better make meaningful institutional changes soon.
Yeah, that'll happen.

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