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Those Resolute, Incorruptable Journalists?:

Kathleen Carroll, senior Vice President of AP: "I also know from 30 years of experience in this business that you can't get competitive journalists [note that she doesn't limit herself to AP photographers] to participate in the kind of (staging) experience that is being described."

Anderson Cooper of CNN, via The Corner:

While on the Hezbollah side, it's really interesting — I was in Beirut, and they took me on this sort of guided tour of the Hezbollah- controlled territories in southern Lebanon that were heavily bombed. They are much cruder, obviously. They don't have the experience in this kind of thing. But they clearly want the story of civilian casualties out. That is their — what they're heavily pushing, to the point where on this tour I was on, they were just making stuff up. They had six ambulances lined up in a row and said, OK, you know, they brought reporters there, they said you can talk to the ambulance drives. And then one by one, they told the ambulances to turn on their sirens and to zoom off, and people taking that picture would be reporting, I guess, the idea that these ambulances were zooming off to treat civilian casualties, when in fact, these ambulances were literally going back and forth down the street just for people to take pictures of them.

Looks to me like "competitive journalists" were participating in staging. [UPDATE: And if you look around the blogosphere, many bloggers are examining varioius Lebanon photos that show signs of staging.] I wonder if any news outlet actually ran these shots?

Now that the fraudulent photos at Reuters have been exposed, I hope Carroll and others take their heads of the sand, and not just regarding the Lebanon situation. From what I've read, a major problem seems to be reliance on local stringers who may sympathize with one side of a conflict, and who may face personal or familial consequences if they report something the local authorities don't like. Local stringers also seem to have little supervision, while at the same time needing to get good "shots" and stories if they want to get paid, which creates incentives for cheating.

UPDATE: Strong evidence that "Green Helmet" staged photos for the media at Qana here. Via EU Referendum, Stern magazine credulously indentifies "Green Helmet" as an innocent rescue worker name Salam Daher. But he called himself "Abdel Qader" on Arabic t.v., and the footage linked above hardly suggests a typical rescue worker. The mystery deepens.

cirby (mail):
...or put pyrotechnic devices into gas tanks for a pretty piece of video, or put someone in a canoe in six inches of water, or use a "document" that was so badly forged that it was debunked in less than six hours from the time of the broadcast...
8.10.2006 1:00am
Jeek:
From what I've read, a major problem seems to be reliance on local stringers who may sympathize with one side of a conflict, and who may face personal or familial consequences if they report something the local authorities don't like.

This assumes that the Reuters editorial staff is so spectacularly incompetent that they cannot spot an obvious fraud or the most clumsy photoshopping. Hard to believe.
8.10.2006 1:08am
Allen Asch (mail) (www):
I still think Fox News was trying to "stage" anger among the Lebanese at Hezbollah for the Israeli bombing of Lebanon in the YouTube video here: Fox News Tries to Make the News in Lebanon
8.10.2006 1:11am
DonBoy (mail) (www):
Note Anderson's "people taking that picture would be reporting..." -- that is, Anderson says that Hezbollah offered a staging, but doesn't necessarily say that anyone went for it, let alone filed it, or (as DB questions) that it got into print.
8.10.2006 1:55am
Tito:
Anderson Cooper is not a credible source for anything.
8.10.2006 1:55am
DavidBernstein (mail):
I think it's strongly implied that the photographers did at least take the pictures. I think if someone came up with some published photos from this event, it would be quite damning. But either way, it certainly shows the very real danger of photographers and reporters being tempted to report staged events as real--if that's all Hez is letting you get, how else will you sell your stuff to your employer--and just saying that "professionals" would never do such a thing ignores the incentive problems noted above. Also, for anyone who's interested, Malkin and LGF, among others, have been reporting on other photos that seem staged.
8.10.2006 2:16am
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8.10.2006 3:43am
AM (mail):
I have a question for other readers of Volokh.

Is anyone else tired of Professor Bernstein's pro-Israel propaganda on Volokh? In my opinion it is really getting ridiculous. You don't advance a position by obsessively flooding a law blog with transparently one-sided posts.

Does Eugene Volokh promote Mr. Bernstein's posts? If not, I would recommend the following for Professor Volokh: (1) Get an anti-Zionist blogger to help balance Professor Bernstein's point of view. (2) Move all Israel related posts to a subsection of the blog, where they can be accessed by those who want to read them, without suffocating the rest of the blog.

Just a thought.
8.10.2006 8:15am
Federal Dog:
AM--

How many times are you going to repost this whine? Don't read his posts if you don't like them.

Problem solved.
8.10.2006 8:39am
JG:
I believe it is unecessary to stage anything because the situation is tragic enough without staged propaganda. All staging does is provide the other side with a topic to distract from the real horrors that are occurring. I do find it difficult to be put off by "staging" where it involves true casualties or war. If a child is killed by a bomb and someone poses it in front of a camera it is nothing more than heartless silliness to complain that the dead body is being staged for a better picture.

I don't doubt horrors are occuring on all sides. I also don't doubt that absolute certainty in one's views is ultimately what results in these types of conflicts, unresolvable and unending. I also don't doubt that I am at a loss when I try to imagine any potential long term resolution. It truly is among the most painful and sorrowful situations today.
8.10.2006 9:19am
RainerK:
So AM, you think that exposing Hezbollah propaganda amounts to pro-Israel propaganda. Now that is an interesting logic.
And you know, there are certain topics that don't require "balancing". What do you think an "anti-Zionist" blogger would have to contribute?
8.10.2006 10:02am
Falafalafocus (mail):
JG,

I completely agree with you. After all, dead bodies are still dead regardless of whether they died in a single bomb or a dresden like firestorm. While on that subject, an Israeli is still a murdering monster of evil. If we have to digitally remove the baby that that dirty Jew pulled out of the rubble from a hezbollah missile attack and then cut and paste the head of a Lebonese woman (to add to the horror, why not have that really unlucky woman's head used in the final shot?), is that really immoral? After all, its still true that Israel is engaged in an illegal and unjustifiable assault on a peaceful and freedom loving nation. If we have to improvise the "truth" to be more honest, is that really something that we should worry about? And while we do it, let's blame the Zionists for their single minded focus on the "truth" of the message.
8.10.2006 10:29am
Humble Law Student (mail):
Great video over at powerlineblog.com from a German TV show. It provides direct proof of how "Green Helmet" would stage manage the video cameras.
8.10.2006 10:47am
o' connuh j.:
lol "AM". Bernstein-derangement syndrome?

If you don't like it don't read it and quit whining.
8.10.2006 10:50am
A.S.:
I don't have the time to do it now, but I'm sure someone could find out when Anderson Cooper was in Beirut, and then look for photographs of ambulances by Reuters, AP, etc. taken during that time period. That wouldn't prove that the ambulance pictures (if any) were taken on the excursion Cooper mentions, but it would be suggestive at least.

(Note for AM: I like David Bernstein's postings a lot, but if you are so offended by someone sticking up for Israel, there is a very simple way to read the VC and exclude his posts - go to the "Select-A-Blogger" link on the sidebar to find out how.)
8.10.2006 10:53am
dearieme:
The British journalist Matthew Parris has a useful rule, based on his years in TV. Television lies, always.
8.10.2006 12:20pm
Tyrone Slothrop (mail) (www):
Local stringers also seem to have little supervision, while at the same time needing to get good "shots" and stories if they want to get paid, which creates incentives for cheating.

It's too bad that it took a war in the Middle East to get so many right-wing bloggers attuned to the idea that market incentives affect the way news is reported to us. What would be truly exciting is to see this basic insight replicated in some context other than the current war.

For example, is it possible that U.S. coverage of the war in Iraq has been influenced by what viewers want to hear? Of course, but I expect that I'll be reading a lot more posts about Hezbollah propaganda instead.
8.10.2006 12:31pm
Michael B (mail):
"I also know from 30 years of experience in this business that you can't get competitive journalists [note that she doesn't limit herself to AP photographers] to participate in the kind of (staging) experience that is being described." Kathleen Carroll, senior Vice President of AP

Good grief, and, amazingly, this type of self-righteous, self-exculpatory, self-dignifying harrumph! is proffered in earnest.

It reminds of some of the most caricatured, self-important buffoons in the movies. For example the instance in His Girl Friday (Grant and Russell!) where the mayor walks into the room, possessed of an over-abundance of self-importance, and immediately intones about "my fellow citizens" or some other, similar hooey. Or think of 3-Stooges episodes, where superficially dignified society types are, unknowingly, awaiting their well-deserved cream pie in the face. Harrumph.

These types of profferings invite a certain cynicism, and that's not good; nonetheless they are deserving of little more than that.
8.10.2006 2:00pm
te (mail):
Staged photos? You mean like when W landed on the deck of the aircraft carrier with the Mission Accomplished banner?

It seems that photo was calculated to make it onto the front page of the newspaper.

Maybe it is a problem of definition. What is "staged"? Mr. Bernstein has not yet gone over the edge and stated that the entire Qana incident was fabricated (unlike some of his brethern in the nutty far-right blogosphere.) So I guess that is not the contention.

Let us suppose - there was in fact a bombing of a building in Qana that contained civilians, including children.

If you are rescue worker and you pull a mangled child's body from the wreckage and you are carrying it over to a makeshift morgue area - are you staging a photo? What if you see a gaggle of photographers standing off to one side and you turn and pause so they can photograph you and the mangled body - staging? What if you do this on the spur on the moment because you are outraged and you want the world to know what has happend?

What if instead you are a hezbollah PR flack and you hear of the bombing and you race off to get to the scene in your green helment with the intention of making sure that you (or someone else) is seen carrying a mangled body out of the destroyed building? Staged?

It seems that the latter is what Bernstein and others imply what happened based, it seems, on nothing other than the fact that the same guy in the green helmet was seen in photographs at another bombing site previously.
8.10.2006 2:06pm
Michael B (mail):
"Staged photos? You mean like when W landed on the deck of the aircraft carrier with the Mission Accomplished banner?" te

The speech in question, it contains statements such as the following:

"We have difficult work to do in Iraq. We're bringing order to parts of that country that remain dangerous."

Also, "The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time, but it is worth every effort."

You can choose to argue against either the substance (of the speech) or the simplifying, reductionist caricature. You chose the latter.
8.10.2006 2:24pm
te (mail):

simplifying, reductionist caricature.

I'd guess you are about one of 4 or 5 people in America who remembers anything from his W's speech that day.

That is because images are so much more powerful than words. That is why the White House dressed Bush up in that ridiculous flight suit, why they erected that huge banner, why they had the hundreds of personnel stand on the deck to make a nice background for the speech. You are right that it was a caricature of the military and honor and professionalism, but I didn't stage it.

But to return this more to the point, I think that Mr. Bernstein has posted 5 or 6 things about images and staging, etc. I am sure that there have been many press releases and speeches by Hezbullah, but those words just don't have the same punch, do they?
8.10.2006 2:35pm
Michael B (mail):
Evasive, soporifically dull and laden with a contemptuous dismissiveness. Here's some Hezbollah images, from Beirut and Lebanon in general, from Michael Totten who is, or recently was, in Lebanon. Concerning "the same punch"? It's a combination of the two, not an either/or, it's also to be considered in terms of what it more considerably, more substantially, represents. Note, for example, the images (on billboards no less) in Hezbollah controlled territory in Lebanon, various, but in particular the ones featuring the severed heads. Real substance, real meaning, real content, and none of that superficial "staging" involved.
8.10.2006 3:11pm
common_cents (mail):
You need to call carol until she replies. What you have preformed here is great but is somewhat meaningless until she is forced to reply to your destruction.
8.10.2006 3:27pm
Typoman:
The Carroll link at the top of the post is broken. Needs an "h" in "http"
8.10.2006 4:08pm
te (mail):

Evasive, soporifically dull and laden with a contemptuous dismissiveness.

I agree - I don't think that the president or anyone else should treat our troops as mere props.
8.10.2006 4:10pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

Is anyone else tired of Professor Bernstein's pro-Israel propaganda on Volokh?


Probably, but I'm not one of them. It seems to me a useful balance.


In my opinion it is really getting ridiculous.


I don't recall anyone asking for your opinion.
8.10.2006 4:21pm
noahpraetorius (mail):
Video clip making the rounds clearly shows "Green Helmut" supervising filming the loading of a dead child into an ambulance. The body was then unloaded and then filmed being loaded again.

But some weirdos on this thread who no doubt are childless themselves see no problem. ok...whatever, but you would not be welcome in my house.
8.10.2006 4:31pm
nekko:
Bush Derangement Syndrome strikes another OT thread. Because everything is all about Bush 24/7. Local traffic light out? Symptomatic of Bush's ill stewardship. China oppressing farmers? Bush is doing the same thing our Muslim population. Belgium arresting people on hate speech and ill thought? Bush is tapping our phones in the first steps to fascism.

So your not allowed to talk about the culpability of your local DOT, or China, or Belgium. Because that is not "even-handed". Because nothing can be discussed if you can't blame Bush.

But don't you dare call them obsessed or kooky.
8.10.2006 4:40pm
noahpraetorius (mail):
Wretchard at the Belmont Club made an interesting comment about the "moral equivalence operator" that seems to have infected much of our thinking. Makes any two operands equal it seems. An excellent example would be a poster upthread seizing the "Mission Accomplished" operand. As Al Gore might have said "no controlling moral authority".
8.10.2006 4:42pm
Cornellian (mail):
Since we're relying here on a CNN anchor, are we going to get any admissions here that the MSM isn't always wrong, or duped, or acting in bad faith, even when reporting on Israel and the Middle East?
8.10.2006 4:47pm
MnZ (mail):
te,

Are you saying that Bush's landing on the aircraft carrier was staged? Gee...I thought he was just flying around on a helicopter one day, saw an aircraft carrier, and landed to the cheers of all the sailors.

On the other hand, when I see people digging through rubble for bodies and loading ambulances, I naturally assume that it is staged.
8.10.2006 4:51pm
noahpraetorius (mail):
Cornellian, if you really need reassurance, you got it buddy.
8.10.2006 5:00pm
amliebsch:
That is because images are so much more powerful than words. That is why the White House dressed Bush up in that ridiculous flight suit, why they erected that huge banner, why they had the hundreds of personnel stand on the deck to make a nice background for the speech.

What a stupid argument. First of all, the banner was put up by the Navy for the sailors, whose particular mission was in fact accomplished. Second of all, just as many people would remember the banner as the text of the speech if not for the fact that people like yourself made it the story of the century. To make such a huge deal over it, and constantly reference it, then complain that everybody is familiar with it...it's mind-boggling.
8.10.2006 5:25pm
harumpfh:
Who will get the Pulitzer Prize for Fauxtojournalism? Although the competition is intense between Reuters, AP and the NY Times, Reuters is surely in the lead. When they win they should thank Dan Rather.
8.10.2006 5:30pm
te (mail):

First of all, the banner was put up by the Navy for the sailors,

I believe that is factually incorrect. I recall that the sign was either provided or specified by the White House. I am open to correction that.

And, I don't think it is "people like me" who "made it the story of the century". I dont' recall any other time when a president has dressed up in a flight suit and landed on the deck of an aircraft carrier. The White House was trying to stage a spectacular photo op. They succeeded.
8.10.2006 6:00pm
te (mail):

"We took care of the production of it," McClellan said. "We have people to do those things. But the Navy actually put it up."

At least that is what McClennan supposedly said in a story on CNN here
But we all know that you can't trust the Mainstream Media anymore . . .
8.10.2006 6:03pm
clazy (mail):
Although I'm pleased to find Anderson Cooper bestowing some of his visibility on Hezbollah's media manipulation, I'm not impressed. To my mind, he's either an opportunist trying to stay ahead of the curve, or a fool. I find it hard to believe that Hezbollah's media practices are a revelation to him. By sharing what he's known with the public in the way that he did, he implies that CNN is innocent of colluding with them in numberless previous staged events. "Look what I just discovered!" Don't you find it odd that this comes just as the critique of press coverage of this war begins to reach a crescendo? Sounds like damage control from the network that lied to us for years about its deal with Saddam Hussein.
8.10.2006 7:22pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Some have said there is a picture of Green Helmet whispering in Sianoras ear at a meeting.

I have not seen the picture.
8.10.2006 7:53pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
te,

As I recall it was the ship that accomplished the mission. Bush did not ask for the sign. He obviously didn't object either.

He needs to do a better job of managing the news.
8.10.2006 7:57pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Green Helmet at Lebanese Cabinent Meeting

Remember the guy from all those shots of Qana holding the bodies appearing to pose before the camera? There was a lot of speculation that he was a Hizbullah operative. Well, on Fox News this morning, they were showing a Lebanese cabinet meeting, and right next to the Prime Minister was a man who leaned over to whisper to him, and he looked awfully familiar. It was Green-Helmet guy!! And considering that there are Hizbullah members in the Lebanese governement, it is a distinct possibility that he is a member. And if he is not, then it shows the government's colllaboration with Hizbollah and not their claims of being the innocent vicitm.
8.10.2006 8:00pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

And, I don't think it is "people like me" who "made it the story of the century". I dont' recall any other time when a president has dressed up in a flight suit and landed on the deck of an aircraft carrier. The White House was trying to stage a spectacular photo op. They succeeded.


No, te, but it is people like you who have made a repetetive lie about what was said and done there into the "common knowledge". just like the supposed "plastic turkey".
8.10.2006 8:02pm
Assistant Village Idiot (mail) (www):
noahpraetorius. I have four sons. Your accusation is despicable. Trying to commandeer the high moral ground by suggesting that you really care about children and we don't.

If I take you reasoning correctly, then one picture of a dead baby trumps everything. You can do any heinous thing you wish, but if you can produce one clip of someone holding a dead baby that you can plausibly attribute to the enemy, then you win the PR war and the case is closed. Apologies aren't enough, the extenuating circumstances of why the baby was there is irrelevant, the number of unphotographed babies on the other side (Israel does not print pictures of their killed out of respect for the dead) count for zip. The guys without the dead baby just have to pack up shop and go home.

I hear there are hungry kitties in the alleys of Tel Aviv, too.

You might google "Pallywood," BTW.
8.10.2006 9:20pm
noahpraetorius (mail):
AVI...my comment wasn't addressed to you and your comment is otherwise incomprehensible...try speaking to others on this thread that basically excused using children's bodies to make propaganda points...fake but accurate in spades. I will say it again...people possessed of that kind of moral obtuseness will never be welcome in my home.
8.10.2006 10:11pm
Kevin O'Brien (www):
Amusing to see Kathleen Carroll of AP snobbnily dismissive of stories of staging.

An AP Television News crew participated with foreknowledge in the ambush and murder of four contractors in Fallujah in 2004. After AP's insurgent pals withdrew from the scene, the APTN crew and AFP stringers also present induced the mob (mostly kids) to mutilate and string up the bodies.

An AP photo stringer participated with foreknowledge in the murder of Iraqi election workers, for which the despicable Carroll and other AP execs accepted a Pulitzer Prize.

AP photo stringer Bilal Hussein has been exposed (more than once) as a participant in and propagandist for the insurgency. That is exactly why Carroll has him on her team -- or will have him, whenever he gets out of Iraqi prison.

You can tell a contemptible creature like Carroll is lying. Her lips move.
8.11.2006 12:54am