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Proof of the staging of photos of dead children by "Green Helmet"--

On August 1, Orin Kerr suggested that, if David Bernstein's claims of staged Qana photos were correct, then some evidence might show up on the video that was shot at the scene.

Now German TV (with English subtitles) has a short report being shown on YOUTUBE that shows just the sort of evidence that Orin wanted to see (tip to Malkin and LGF). The character who has been dubbed "Green Helmet" is shown directing a scene for the benefit of cameras at Qana.

First, the body of a child is put in an ambulance. Then "Green Helmet" is shown directing the video photographer to "Keep on filming!" and insisting that "better images must be shot."

Then (after an apparent splice in the tape) the body of what may or may not be the same child is removed from the ambulance, apparently so that "better images" can "be shot" of the body. Instead of covering up the face with a blanket, the "workers" pull the blanket to just under the chin of the dead child and manipulate the angle of the child's head so that the video photographer can get the right closeup shot of the dead child's face.

If this is what it appears to be, then it is just the smoking gun that skeptics asked for. It's interesting how much can be done when the blogosphere and the MSM (even the German MSM) work together.

Now that proof has surfaced, this story of Hezbollah manipulating the bodies of dead childen to get good propaganda photos should be a big one in the MSM over the next few days--but it probably won't be. It's amazing how anti-US and anti-Israeli propaganda can be run routinely by the American media, but when shocking and truthful stories undercut that propaganda, there's really no story worth covering.

UPDATE: Zombietime has a fairly thorough account of the various sorts of allegations being made against Reuters:

It's important to understand that there is not just a single fraudulent Reuters photograph, nor even only one kind of fraudulent photograph. There are in fact dozens of photographs whose authenticity has been questioned, and they fall into four distinct categories.

The four types of photographic fraud perpetrated by Reuters photographers and editors are:

1. Digitally manipulating images after the photographs have been taken.

2. Photographing scenes staged by Hezbollah and presenting the images as if they were of authentic spontaneous news events.

3. Photographers themselves staging scenes or moving objects, and presenting photos of the set-ups as if they were naturally occurring.

4. Giving false or misleading captions to otherwise real photos that were taken at a different time or place.

2D UPDATE: AP has identified "Green Helmet" as Salam Daher, the head of civil defense for the Tyre region of Lebanon. More commentary here.

3D UPDATE: Solomania details how Daher was the source for the inflated casualty claims coming out of Qana. EU Referendum is attacking the factual claims in AP's story.

steve k:
Good work, Germans. However, I think the main point here is not that someone is "directing" the photographers and other reporters, but that these supposed newsgatherers--at least some of them--are there to be directed.
8.10.2006 4:37pm
Anon1ms (mail):
Actually, I think the main point is that it is a dead baby.
8.10.2006 4:41pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
I think that the underlying story of your closing remark, Jim, is that to do so would amount to the MSM impeaching their own credibility. Thus, it will likely get some mention on Fox News Watch, and Reliable Sources, but little else.
8.10.2006 4:46pm
te (mail):
So is this what "staging" means?

Does this mean that we should count the dead child as 1/2 of a dead child now in the scorekeeping?
8.10.2006 4:49pm
te (mail):
When the US troops were being interviewed over in Qatr about the situation in Iraq, they were standing in front of a Humvee and some camo netting even though they were hundreds of miles away from the actual combat.

Is that staging?

Is it better or worse since it doesn't include a dead child?
8.10.2006 4:51pm
dimitrir:
No, te - it means you should give the same credence to a photo you see on CNN or NYT as you do to one on Al-Jazzerah or on Al-Manar. That's Hezballah TV, for those of you scoring at home.

This is not about dead babies, this is about the credibility of Western Media.
8.10.2006 4:53pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
Want to see a bunch of dead Arabs, try Mecca almost any year during the Hadj.
8.10.2006 4:57pm
ruidh (www):
So, the appearance of this vidoe proves that no babies were harmed in the bombing of Labanon? I'm relieved.
8.10.2006 4:57pm
te (mail):

No, te - it means you should give the same credence to a photo you see on CNN or NYT as you do to one on Al-Jazzerah or on Al-Manar.

Uh, maybe, but not based on this "staging" nonsense.

If there is proof that the kid was killed somewhere else and then brought to the scene - that would have something to do with credibility.

But if all this is about is that people are pulling dead kids out of buildings and, in the course of loading the child into the ambulance/hearse they pause and make sure that the images are captured on film that doesn't diminish the underlying fact that there is a dead kid there.

But, let us al congratulate Mr. Bernstein and his allies. He has made a 1/2 dozen posts about his issue and - at least in this tiny little chunk of the blogosphere - has suceeded for the most part in directing attention away from hundreds of dead bodies and onto the vastly less important question of "staging."
8.10.2006 5:01pm
alcibiades (mail) (www):
Well this one is a story about a dead child too, also entirely manipulated by Hezbollah TV and believed by the credulous AP press.

They blamed her death on Israel, since that was convenient.

Turns out someone murdered her, though their explanation is she "fell
off a swing."

But it went out to the Press and to the world as yet another child killed by Israel.
8.10.2006 5:04pm
Evan H (mail) (www):
I'm glad to see so much attention is being paid to how the pictures were made as opposed to how the kids were made dead. Both sides are going to try to get as much publicity as possible from civilian deaths.
8.10.2006 5:06pm
Falafalafocus (mail):
te,

Your posts always seem to make the same tired argument: well it may be staged, but it's a dead person so the fact that we are receiving half truths shouldn't matter. I'll accept your logic then, since it's becoming obvious that, so long as we show the horror of war, it does not matter that we have to make up some of that horror.

Te, let's you and me make up some photoshop pictures of people with Israeli uniforms dancing in the street with the heads of a Palestinian woman (to heighten the fact that we are all about the horror of war and not the truth, we'll use this woman's. In the alternative, these pictures show the absolute horror that Israel's bombing campaign has wrought.

After all, regardless of how accurate the news story or photos are, isn't it really the duty of all moral people to lie if we must to get our point accross?

And before you equivocate by citing W's flight, I posit to you that there is at least a slight difference between a photo op and prancing around with dead babies to make sure that the best angle is shot.
8.10.2006 5:07pm
Richard Bellamy (mail) (www):
While we do not for sure that the boy in the film was killed by Israel or not, we do know that children who have died in unrelated accidents are being used for propoganda purposes.

See, for example, this photo caption (linked in www link above) of a Palestinian girl who fell off her swing in the "Mideast Conflict" section of photos (WARNING: Picture of dead girl).

Certainly, children were killed in the bombings and that is always tragic. But if there is obvious staging here, why should we believe that this boy didn't die of some other cause, and then get driven to the scene?
8.10.2006 5:11pm
Brooklynite (mail) (www):
"Proof" seems like a strong word here.

We've got footage of "green helmet" approaching the camera. There's no audio, and the video is slowed down. It's impossible to directly determine what he says, so we have to rely on an English translation of a German translation.

Then we see a child's corpse taken from an ambulance and moved from one stretcher to another. We're told, but given no evidence, that there's no reason for the transfer. It's insinuated, but not argued, that the transfer is the pretext for the removal.

The blanket over the kid's face is removed, and then replaced thirty seconds later. The body is made available for photographs for about fifteen seconds before it is covered up again.

Yes, it does look like the people in the photo made the child's corpse available to photographers. But it's not demonstrated that the photo-op was the reason the body was removed from the ambulance, much less that the body was manipulated in any more sinister way.
8.10.2006 5:13pm
alkali (mail) (www):
Anon1ms writes:

Actually, I think the main point is that it is a dead baby.

To extend that thought a bit, and although I don't think the situations are necessarily equivalent, consider whether you would object if it were an Israeli holding a dead child up to the camera, or otherwise expressing grief where a camera is obviously present. (See, for example, these photographs: 1, 2, 3.) I think you're right that the "staging" of these photos crosses the line, but I think it's a closer question than you suggest.
8.10.2006 5:14pm
te (mail):

Your posts always seem to make the same tired argument: well it may be staged, but it's a dead person so the fact that we are receiving half truths shouldn't matter.

What makes this a "half-truth" exactly? Assuming that the whole she-bang isn't fabricated, then it seems to me that the "truth" is a bombed building and a dead kid.

But if there is obvious staging here, why should we believe that this boy didn't die of some other cause, and then get driven to the scene
8.10.2006 5:18pm
alkali (mail) (www):
With reference to my 4:14 comment: By "these photos" I mean the photos referenced in DB's original post, not the ones linked by me, which I think are perfectly OK.
8.10.2006 5:21pm
te (mail):
sorry for the double post -

But if there is obvious staging here, why should we believe that this boy didn't die of some other cause, and then get driven to the scene

I don't think the so called "staging" makes that any more or less probable.

Look, when you have two different sides firing rockets and missiles into civilian areas - that seems to be just about the most disgusting actions that could take place. Given such barbarism, staging photos is a trivial side issue.
8.10.2006 5:22pm
Colin (mail):
so long as we show the horror of war, it does not matter that we have to make up some of that horror.

Isn't his point rather that the horror is not made up?
8.10.2006 5:24pm
JohnAnnArbor:

Both sides are going to try to get as much publicity as possible from civilian deaths.

Show me any of that on the Israeli side. There's been coverage of a few funerals, but they're not out there with cameras eagerly waiting to direct the media to dead bodies.
8.10.2006 5:26pm
Observer (mail):
I must say, this is the most ridiculous story yet! A child is killed in a bombing. He is put in an ambulence. Then taken out for a moment so that the photographer can take a picture. This is a scandal? Are you guys nuts or something?

This is "manipulation"? So if the photographer were in a better position to shoot the picture the first time, then it would be all ok?

The agenda here seems pretty clear. Supporters of the Israeli war effort want to undermine any discussion, or any information, about the consequences of the particular type of war that Israel has chosen to wage. Drop a bomb and kill children - oh, forget that - the child was momentarily taken out of the ambulence, so the real issue is not the killing of the child, it is media manipulation!

I am shocked and appaled that normally intellegent and grown up human beings can convince themselves that this line of argumentation can be taken seriously. It is one thing to be a propagandist. It is quite another to be a stupid propagandist. Do you think us all fools?
8.10.2006 5:27pm
K Ashford (mail):
I'm not quite sure why this is a huge "find".

"Staging" events for media play is a common political tool, used by every political faction from Hezbollah to the President of the United States. And it's been that way for decades. It doesn't necessarily make the surrounding events objectively "false".

te asks: "But if there is obvious staging here, why should we believe that this boy didn't die of some other cause, and then get driven to the scene"

By that logic, I suppose we should question whether hippies who protested at the 1968 Dem convention were really anti-war, or whether the military truly supports Bush.

Enough with the sophistry. Sure it was staged. But what's the meta-point you're all trying to make?
8.10.2006 5:27pm
Brooklynite (mail) (www):
The third of alkali's linked photos above --- described by the AP as one in which...
An Israeli soldier places a stone on the grave of Staff Sgt. Yehuda Grienfeld, after his funeral at the Mt. Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem, Monday, Aug. 7, 2006.
...strikes me as most likely "staged," in that neither the camera angle nor the position of the soldier's hand suggest a candid shot.

Is it appropriate to "stage" a photograph of a ritual of mourning? Does the act of staging such a photo call the rest of the photo into question? (Should we doubt, for instance, that the hand is the hand of a soldier?)

I expect a certain amount of cooperation between subjects and photographers in this kind of shot. This doesn't strike me as much of a story, on its face.
8.10.2006 5:29pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
Want to see a bunch of dead Arabs, try Mecca almost any year during the Hadj.

I am not sure what the point of that comment is but it reaks of real race hatred.
8.10.2006 5:36pm
Falafalafocus (mail):

Supporters of the Israeli war effort want to undermine any discussion, or any information, about the consequences of the particular type of war that Israel has chosen to wage. Drop a bomb and kill children - oh, forget that - the child was momentarily taken out of the ambulence, so the real issue is not the killing of the child, it is media manipulation!

Hmm. Your argument makes perfect sense except for one small issue. Why maniupulate the photo at all? Well, for political purposes so as to present your truth in the best shade possible, even if you need to trick people in the process.
By this approach, why care about whether there are dead babies at all, isn't the fact that there is an evil regime (Israel, and by implication, the U.S. for supporting Israel) enough for us to take action against them. If you will not support such a proposition, you warmonger, I'll just draft up some photos showing you the error of your ways. And when Israel screws up and kills an innocent, I'll blare it loud and proud, showing off my death pictures like a girl looking for beads at Marti Gras. Israeli deaths? What Israeli deaths? I don't see any pictures of Israeli deaths. If I did, they are nowhere near as tragic (or front page material) as those who are martyred by the hand of evil jewish bombers.

Of course there may just be a little more going on than objectively showing the war deaths and objectively reporting on the reasons why. But that can't possibly be it. No, evil right wing pro Zionist Zealots are just out to trick us all.
8.10.2006 5:40pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
What is shocking here is that people like Malkin, LGF and Lindgren can see in this situation for what it clearly is -- the easy manipulation of a lapdog press which is unwilling to question the information being spoon-fed to them from "the government" in the area (i.e, Hizbollah is the government). Yet they are blind to this when the American press essentially does the same thing with the Bush adminstration --- eats up its spoon-fed photo-ops and presents them as real news and eats up the Bush administration's talking points. Troll warning: I am not drawing a moral equivalence between the Bush administration and Hizbollah. I am drawing an equivalence in how easy it is for today's lapdog press to be manipulated by those in power. Had the press not bought into all of the Bush administration's talking points and photo-ops, we may have avoided the disaster in Iraq. Recall how Bush's little flight and "Mission Accomplished" poses were eaten up by the press, with Chris Matthews, Tim Russert and the rest of the lapdogs not asking any critical questions of it and just accepting that the mission was accomplished and that Bush was "loved" by the troops, etc.
8.10.2006 5:42pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
Show me any of that on the Israeli side. There's been coverage of a few funerals, but they're not out there with cameras eagerly waiting to direct the media to dead bodies.

The reasons for this is -- as anyone who has spent substantial time in Israel knows -- that the Israeli press is the most aggressive press there is, and simply would not stand for such manipulation. Unfortunately, we in America do not have a press that asks questions and does not allow itself to be manipulated and used by the power structure.
8.10.2006 5:47pm
te (mail):
Mike Anderson- c'mon man, that's just not necessary.
8.10.2006 5:51pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Normally I have respect for Jim Lindgren, but this post is a good candidate for the VC's Top Ten Most Risible.
Actually, I think the main point is that it is a dead baby.
That says it all, and it's just horrible that anyone thinks that takes second place to whether the photo was "staged" or not.
8.10.2006 5:57pm
neutral:
I agree that Hezbollah is awarded undue credibility by our only too-willing press. And I applaud the bloggers working to uncover fraud and manipulations. But this one, I'm sorry, is the same moonbattery as seen on the far left. I see nothing scandalous about this situation. If your insinuation is that bodies were brought in from elsewhere - there is zero proof of this kind of fraud here. Showing dead bodies so that reporters can take best pictures is supposed to be a huge scandal? You only damage your own credibility by posting this.
8.10.2006 5:58pm
Richard Bellamy (mail):
Enough with the sophistry. Sure it was staged. But what's the meta-point you're all trying to make?

From an AP report August 1:

Three news agencies on Tuesday rejected challenges to the veracity of photographs of bodies taken in the aftermath of an Israeli airstrike in Lebanon, strongly denying that the images were staged.

Photographers from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse all covered rescue operations Sunday in Qana, where 56 Lebanese were killed. Many of their photos depicted rescue workers carrying dead children.


If the photos were stages, then all three "strong denials" were lies. Irrespective of whether you think the staging is important or not, explicitly denying it when it actually happened IS a big deal.

Meanwhile, the death toll of 56 (including 30 children) reported on August 1 in the article denying "staging" was soon revised down two days later to 28 (with 16 children).

The meta-point is very clear, and you are free to agree or disagree with it, but it goes like this:

"When the news reports 100 dead Lebanese children killed in an Israeli raid, do not believe them. By the next week, the facts will show that there were probably only 15, and 10 of them were likely shipped in from elsewhere, and the other five were put there by Hizballah for propoganda purposes. Do not give Hizballah the propoganda victory before the truth comes out. Make them prove that each claimed death is backed by a corpse, and make them prove that each corpse shown actually died from the cause claimed."

It's all about the burden of proof.
8.10.2006 6:00pm
Arkanssouri John (mail) (www):
Why do we expect anything else? Media manipulation is nothing new.

Anyone remember the bombed-out "factory" (I don't remember if it was in the first Gulf War or in Bill Clinton's attack on Sudan) where, for the benefit of the cameras, in the rubble there were these convenient little signs (remarkably clean and undamaged, I might add) that said "BABY MILK" in English?

For some people, the media and the badguys included, perception isn't just more important than reality; perception is reality.
8.10.2006 6:00pm
Chico's Bail Bonds (mail):
1. Someone killed a child.
2. Someone else gave journalist a chance to take a picture of that child.

Which of these acts do you find objectionable, 1, or 2?
8.10.2006 6:01pm
Passing By:
I don't doubt for a minute that Hizbullah will pose the dead in a manner which conveys as gruesome a message as possible for the media. That's a world apart from the lunatic conspiracy theories Prof. Bernstein has been backing - it makes no actual difference if a dead person, killed in a bombing, is photographed backwards, forwards, upside-down or sideways - they were still killed in the bombing.

Also, what does this tell us about U.S. "war porn" pictures like the photos of Hussein's dead sons? It's horrible if the dead are posed and photographed at the location where they are killed, but totally groovy to do it later at a morgue?

[Abusive comment removed by moderator.]
8.10.2006 6:04pm
te (mail):

Also, what does this tell us about U.S. "war porn" pictures like the photos of Hussein's dead sons?

I had forgotton about those.

Do you remember he tacky, tacky gold frames. I wonder who picked those out.
8.10.2006 6:06pm
Zed (mail) (www):
Er, well, specifically, it means that people are using the word "staged" here to mean something different than how it's generally used. Generally, people use that word to describe depicting an event that, you know, didn't actually happen (accusations, for instance, of shipping bodies *into* an area so they can be photographed leaving it, implying that they were killed there, represent what is generally thought of as staging). Here, it's being redefined into any event where anyone allowed a photographer a better shot.

These shots are significantly less "staged" than Bush's appearances in New Orleans, for instance, or the pulling down of Saddam's statue.

In any case, this sort of "staging" is incredibly common in journalism, true. I'm not aware of a single publication that doesn't allow it. It certainly doesn't carry any implications about the accuracy of the reports of those publications, since nothing inaccurate is being depicted.
8.10.2006 6:09pm
Steve:
Anyone remember the bombed-out "factory" (I don't remember if it was in the first Gulf War or in Bill Clinton's attack on Sudan) where, for the benefit of the cameras, in the rubble there were these convenient little signs (remarkably clean and undamaged, I might add) that said "BABY MILK" in English?

It was the first Gulf War. The footage showed men walking around a factory in white lab coats that had BABY MILK FACTORY stenciled on them. Yes, in English, in what supposedly was an ordinary Iraqi factory.

I will never forget it. Truly one of the most surreal things I have ever seen.
8.10.2006 6:10pm
neutral:
But then again, dear te and Passing By, Hezbollah saying so does not make it a fact, even though this particular Jim Lindgren's challenge is ridiculous.

As an illustration, they're quick to come up with "56 dead", only to see the number reduced in half. And this without any real scrutiny applied. Yes, I know, fog of war, etc. But the pattern in their actions reveals propaganda, not honest mistake. So I understand why reasonable people embrace "never trust a single word or image coming from HB" mantra.
8.10.2006 6:17pm
te (mail):

But then again, dear te and Passing By, Hezbollah saying so does not make it a fact,

Not exactly sure what you are referring to:

Is it

1) Israel firing missles or other weapons into civilian areas
2) Those missles or weapons striking and destroying buildings
3) Civilians being inside those buildings
4) Civilians being killed in those buildings
5) Dead civilians being removed from the rubble
6) Dead civilians being placed in ambulances or hearses.

It seems that all of this nonsense is about whether or not there is any monkeybusiness between 5) and 6).

I don't trust anything I hear from either side in a war, but from what I have read, the Israeli government readily admits to 1-4.
8.10.2006 6:23pm
Erasmussimo:
Let's make sure we distinguish clearly being falsification and staging. There's nobody here suggesting that the dead boy is really not dead. The Hezbollah PR guy ('Green Helmet') made sure that the photo-op was as clear as possible. Indeed, there's a good argument that what he's doing is making certain that the truth gets out clearly. He's not faking anything (at least not in this video).

Those of you who use the word 'credibility' should reconsider. Staging is not the same thing as falsification. The footage is credible. It is not falsified. The debate is not over whether this is true or false, the debate is over two issues:

1. Is it proper to show people killed by violence?
2. Is it proper to show emotionally charged images?

My answer to both questions is, "yes". People need to be reminded just how horrific war is. But ultimately, it's their own choice. Proponents of Israeli policy should be showing pictures of destroyed Israeli homes and the funerals of dead Israeli civilians. Opponents of Israeli policy should be showing pictures of destroyed Lebanese homes and dead Lebanese civilians. The fact that there are more of the latter is due to the fact that there are a lot more dead Lebanese than Israelis.
8.10.2006 6:33pm
Federal Dog:
"1. Is it proper to show people killed by violence?
2. Is it proper to show emotionally charged images?

My answer to both questions is, "yes". People need to be reminded just how horrific war is."


And if you don't get the shot right the first time, keep trotting those bodies out over and over again and shoot them in different poses and from different angles.


This is cheesy, ghoulish stagecraft that makes the horror of war into cheap political spectacle. The victims deserve more respect than to be used as props in low-rent agit-prop.
8.10.2006 6:47pm
Erasmussimo:
Federal Dog writes:

This is cheesy, ghoulish stagecraft that makes the horror of war into cheap political spectacle. The victims deserve more respect than to be used as props in low-rent agit-prop.

I certainly have some sympathy for this point of view. I too resent the way that the press sensationalizes everything. I especially hate it when a reporter thrusts his microphone into the face of some victim and asks, "How do you feel?" I no longer watch television news for this reason. So yes, sensationalism in all its forms is tawdry. In an ideal world, perhaps we'd have no television news at all, just pure print media presenting words only with no pictures. Then sound bites wouldn't be so important and we'd have a more intellectual debate.

But our world isn't ideal. The best we can do is the Jeffersonian approach: get it all out. All the ideas, all the images, all the sounds, all the videos should be out in the marketplace of ideas competing for attention. We should never suppress public information. Let it all hang out, and let citizens decide for themselves.
8.10.2006 6:55pm
neutral:

But then again, dear te and Passing By, Hezbollah saying so does not make it a fact,


Not exactly sure what you are referring to:

Is it

1) Israel firing missles or other weapons into civilian areas
2) ...


I'd start with 0) Hezbollah firing missiles or other weapons from civilian areas (and into civilian areas, btw, too).

But to answer your question, and clarify my point: HB saying there were N civilians killed does not mean a thing. We all know how traditionally warring parties exagerate enemy losses and diminish their own. Remember ridiculous accounts from both sides in Iraq-Iran war differing by more than an order of magnitude? Here is a different case. I have no trust in the number of civilian casualties reported by or originating with HB. And on top of shear numbers game, can we be sure that none of reported dead civilians were in fact combatants? You know, good citizen and exemplary father by day, rocket launcher by night - as seen ubiquitously in Chechnya.
8.10.2006 6:56pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
Falafalafocus:

After all, regardless of how accurate the news story or photos are, isn't it really the duty of all moral people to lie if we must to get our point accross? [sic]

I am reminded of Al Gore, who remarked, in reference to the lack of scientific objectivity in An Inconvenient Truth, that it was necessary to overstate the case, in order to motivate the people to take action.

We must keep in mind that these sort of actions are more banal than extraordinary, and temper our judgment accordingly.

ruidh:

So, the appearance of this vidoe [sic] proves that no babies were harmed in the bombing of Labanon? [sic again] I'm relieved.

Why is it that so many seemingly intelligent, articulate people on this blog exhibit such raving idiocy? No ruidh, it doesn't "prove" anything. But it does serve to impeach any claims of non-combatant death, infant or otherwise.

Have totally innocent individuals died as a result of this conflict? Well, that's quite likely. (However, not necessary this particular infant; the circumstances lead us to question whether he might have been "imported".) But, how many - who knows? However, from the stream of information we have gotten, much thanks to this blog, we can be reasonably certain that claims from Hezbollah are wildly exaggerated.
8.10.2006 7:02pm
Humble Law Student (mail):
The important issue is the use of the dead to artificially heighten the emotive elements of the narrative and to deceitfully change the issue.

In the aftermath of 9-11, did the rescue crews take out the corpses so that the photographers could get better shots or stage manage the shots of the dead for maximum affect as done here? NO

And our rescue crews had a much better and more legitimate reason to do so, if they did want to.

What happened on 9-11 was evident for all. It was beneath us to deceitfully stage the shots.

Of course, "staging" in some form always occurs. But there is a great difference between, e.g. playing for a shot with the US flag in the background vs. manhandling human corpses as props in some grotesque play.
8.10.2006 7:06pm
Brogie62:
It is the media's job to objectively show exactly what happened. If they alter it in any way, for a better, more emotional shot, they move from reporting to film making, from fact to fiction.
8.10.2006 7:10pm
SP:
Some of you aren't really getting this, are you? If the entire scene involving the dead baby is staged, who is to say the baby actually died due to Israeli actions? You seem to have a great deal of faith in people who constantly lie about casualty figures and aren't afraid of manufacturing scenes.
8.10.2006 7:13pm
te (mail):

I'd start with 0) Hezbollah firing missiles or other weapons from civilian areas (and into civilian areas, btw, too).

I'd submit that is beside the point here. This is a justification for 1) and the following steps.
8.10.2006 7:16pm
Observer (mail):
I'm a frequent reader of this blog, but not a regular reader. So it may very well be that I missed some things. Did the poster and commenters here go on extended rants / analyses over the evils of media manipulation when it came to how the media covered / transmitted the Pat Tillman story, or the Jessica Lynch story? Although not dealing specifically with photographs, these seem to have been events which included infinitly more manipulation of the truth, for PR purposes, than a rescue worker pulling a body out of an ambulence for a moment so that a better photograph could be taken.

I agree with one commenter above who argued that the green helmet guy actually helped to get the real truth of the event out. If the photographers had shown up after all the bodies had been carted away, and the only photos were of bombed buildings, would that have been a more accurate account of the event?
8.10.2006 7:17pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
Chico's Bail Bonds:

1. Someone killed a child.
2. Someone else gave journalist a chance to take a picture of that child.

Which of these acts do you find objectionable, 1, or 2?

Point #1 is invalid in this case, as we don't know the cause of the child's death. This should be obvious.

Many have complained on these threads, of late, about how they have somehow been compelled to deal with contributors with strong and monolithic points of view.

Well, I have another complaint: That, in order to participate in a comment thread adjunct to what I consider to be an engaging post, I have to deal with such a multiplicity of [abusive epithet deleted by moderator]. I am not talking about those with views contrary to mine, mind you; I am talking about people which seem exhibit some sort of flaw in a basic ability to think clearly.

It's hardly as bad, currently as either Daily Kos, or Little Green Footballs, (In the former case, one also has to deal with raving idiot contributors.) but it is getting there.
8.10.2006 7:18pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
Oh, next time I'm arrested, I guess I should remember not to call Chico's. :D
8.10.2006 7:20pm
Rex:
I am reminded of Al Gore, who remarked, in reference to the lack of scientific objectivity in An Inconvenient Truth, that it was necessary to overstate the case, in order to motivate the people to take action.
Kevin, do you have a citation for that?
8.10.2006 7:22pm
Erasmussimo:
Humble Law Student writes, The important issue is the use of the dead to artificially heighten the emotive elements of the narrative and to deceitfully change the issue.

I am curious, how does showing a dead child artificially heighten the emotive elements? Is the dead child artificial? Is his death artificial? Does the presentation of the dead child to cameramen render his death artificial? Would you require the cameraman to actually capture the instant of death in order to avoid artificiality?

Second, how does this deceitfully change the issue? What deceit is perpetrated by presenting the child's corpse to the cameramen?
8.10.2006 7:33pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
Oh, my. There's no question that the video involves a dead child, but the child isn't a "baby," and anyone referring to the child as such has obviously not viewed it. The child is four or five years old. That doesn't make him any less dead, or his death better. It merely means that the people who are arguing that this is about a dead baby haven't done even the first level of homework.
8.10.2006 7:43pm
SP:
"Second, how does this deceitfully change the issue? What deceit is perpetrated by presenting the child's corpse to the cameramen?"

Because we don't know how the child died!!!! This isn't an actual photo or a video of a child being dug out of the rubble. It is arranged after the fact. I find it incredibly amusing that, at a blog about legal issues, that some of you aren't asking, "would this hold up as evidence in court?" And the answer is no...
8.10.2006 7:45pm
cirby (mail):

Is the dead child artificial?

Not "artificial," but quite possibly (or in at least one case so far certainly) not killed by what the stagers are claiming. Or, in some cases not actually "killed" at all, just someone who died from other reasons and whose body was brought in to make things seem even more dramatic.

Odds are that the high "civilian" death rate we're hearing about now is much more along the lines of "civilian Hezbollah" fighters, with a small number of real civilians shown several times to make it look like Israel is being indiscriminate with their attacks.

What deceit is perpetrated by presenting the child's corpse to the cameramen?

In the case of the little girl who fell off the swing, the deceit is in artificially inflating the perceived number of "civilian" casualties.
8.10.2006 7:48pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
Rex:

Kevin, do you have a citation for that?

It was from an interview on C-Span's Washington Journal, Tuesday or Wednesday. I'm sorry I don't currently have the time to give you any more.

Erasmussimo:

Is the dead child artificial?

[Abusive comment deleted by MODERATOR] No, the death is likely not "artificial", but the circumstances of the death quite likely are.

[Abusive comment deleted by MODERATOR.
Kevin: you should restrain both your language and your personal attacks.]
8.10.2006 7:48pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Observer asks, 'Do you think us all fools?'

Yeah, pretty much.

Short letter to the editor in my paper this morning:

'Regardless of your feelings about the crisis . . . even if you believe there is more culpability on Israel's part . . . the following two sentences really say it all.

'If the Arabs put down their weapons today there would be no more violence.

'If the Jews put down their weapons tdoay there would be no more Israel.'

If the goal is fewer dead babies, sorry, the zero option has been closed out. No doubt in my mind that if Israel took the view of te, Observer et al, there would be a lot more dead babies.
8.10.2006 7:52pm
Davide:
To Erasmussimo, te, and similarly unperturbed individuals about blatant photo editing:

The AP ran a photo of a presumably Palestinian man holding the dead body of a little girl in his arms, clamiing she was killed by an Israeli military strike on August 9, 2006.

Today, on August 10, the AP ran this oh-so-insignificant correction:

EDS NOTE GRAPHIC CONTENT ** A Relative carries the body of Rajaa Abu Shaban, 5, into Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2006. On Thursday, doctors said that the 5-year-old Palestinian girl initially believed to have been killed by an Israeli military strike Wednesday apparently died after sustaining head injuries during a fall from a swing in the same area shortly before the strike.(AP Photo/Adel Hana)

I'm sure it's all the same to you: she's still dead, right?

I eagerly await your vociferous condemnation of Palestinian playground swings -- perhaps you can bring the matter to the UN.
8.10.2006 7:53pm
Anonymous Reader:
It's funny reading these comments. I wonder why no one has commented on the fact that we do not publish, show, etc any pictures from 9/11? Someone mentioned it above, but if we're just trying to "accurately portray what happened" why is there such a blackout on the pictures of 9/11?

Anonymous Reader
8.10.2006 7:53pm
Chico's Bail Bonds (mail):
Kevin L.,

te's post above explains the likely cause of the child's death pretty well. I won't repeat it. If you have evidence to the contrary, let's see it.

Please note: that someone pulled the child out of the ambulance and lowered the sheet over their head for someone to take a picture is not convincing evidene.
8.10.2006 7:55pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
Te --- I'm not a lawyer, but I can certainly play a doctor. There are two things about these pictures that strike me.

First, the child, who was supposedly killed proximately by a missle blast, displays rigor and lividity consitent with being 18-24 hours postmortem.

Second, he doesn't have any apparent wounds, and no bleeding from ears or nose consistent with death from concussion.

Not proof, but it sure made me suspicious.
8.10.2006 7:57pm
Erasmussimo:
cirby, it's true that we do not know the cause of this child's death from this video, although there may in fact be video showing the child being dug out of rubble -- although I'm sure that in that case, some here would suggest that he had been placed in the rubble after dying of natural causes. The fact of the matter here is that we don't know enough from this evidence to prove anything. We can't prove that the child was killed by IDF activity -- nor can we prove that this video is deceitful. It's evidence. Not enough to prove anything, but useful information nonetheless. Remember, NONE of the information we are getting about this issue can be treated as proof of anything substantial. How do really know that the Israelis invaded Lebanon? The video of Israeli military units doesn't have a big sign saying "Now entering Lebanon" -- and even then we wouldn't know if the sign was faked.

So if you want to maintain that it's all faked, I can't offer any reason why you must accept any of the evidence. I would expect some consistency in your skepticism, though; I would expect you to be just as skeptical of Israeli claims that Hezbollah is firing missiles at Israel, and just as skeptical of video of apparent Israeli casualties, and video of apparent Israeli funerals.

I, for one, am willing to accept most of this evidence at face value. When I see video of an Israeli funeral, I'm willing to believe that somebody really died, and that the tears in the eyes of the mourners are real. And I treat the videos of Lebanese funerals in the same manner.
8.10.2006 8:02pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
Here is my take:

1. fire the photographers who knowingly take "staged" pictures without disclosing that they have done so.

2. a dead child is still a tragedy. The fact that the Green Helmet PR guy pulled off his blanket, or brought out the kid's body again so someone else can take a picture, is not as bad as the tragedy itself, nor does it demonstrate that the child wasn't killed in the bombing. (What about the videos showing the children and others being removed from the rubble, in addition to the staging of the photos?)

3. these staged photos are probably not as bad, because not as deceitful, as the Kuwaiti ambassador's daughter giving phony, tearful testimony to the US Congress about atrocities she "suffered" in the PR run up to the first gulf war, which our own government engineered. (Remember that?) Here, at least, the child is dead due to the war, it is not an invented atrocity.

4.Nor is it as bad as recklessly or knowingly presenting "evidence" of weapons of mass destruction to justify a war. But, of course, no US government would do that, and the MSM, which obviously hates the US government, would quickly detect and expose such a manipulation.
8.10.2006 8:02pm
Brooklynite (mail) (www):
I am reminded of Al Gore, who remarked, in reference to the lack of scientific objectivity in An Inconvenient Truth, that it was necessary to overstate the case, in order to motivate the people to take action.
Well, no. That's not what he said:
"Nobody is interested in solutions if they don't think there's a problem. Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous [global warming] is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis."

The key passage here is "over-representation of factual presentations." Right wingers have argued that by "over-representation" Gore meant "overstatement," and by "factual representations" he meant "facts," but that's a tendentious misreading, I think.

Gore was saying that in order to get people to pay attention to solutions, they have to first be convinced that there's a problem. So while he'd prefer to spend most of his time talking about "what the solutions are," he realizes that he does have an obligation to make "factual presentations on how dangerous" the problem is.
8.10.2006 8:07pm
Erasmussimo:
Davide, we cross-posted, so here's my response to your point. You wrote,

The AP ran a photo of a presumably Palestinian man holding the dead body of a little girl in his arms, clamiing she was killed by an Israeli military strike on August 9, 2006.

Today, on August 10, the AP ran this oh-so-insignificant correction:

EDS NOTE GRAPHIC CONTENT ** A Relative carries the body of Rajaa Abu Shaban, 5, into Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2006. On Thursday, doctors said that the 5-year-old Palestinian girl initially believed to have been killed by an Israeli military strike Wednesday apparently died after sustaining head injuries during a fall from a swing in the same area shortly before the strike.(AP Photo/Adel Hana)


Actually, there was no correction to offer; the initial caption is still absolutely correct. They note that the "presumably Palestinian" man "claimed" that she had been killed by an Israeli air strike. The AP did not offer any confirmation or denial of the man's claims; they simply reported it as a claim, not a fact. Therefore, no correction was necessary. As always, the first bits of news to trickle in are often inaccurate. They followed up with further information unavailable at the time of the original story, reporting the true circumstances of the child's death. (Actually, we still don't really know the true circumstances of the child's death, but we have further information now.)

It's a different case and should be treated differently. This case doesn't prove anything about other cases and other cases don't prove anything about this one.
8.10.2006 8:10pm
Davide:
AGAIN, Erasmussimo, te, etc. etc.:

Are you at all perturbed that Arabs pretend that poor, distraught little girls were killed by military strikes, when in fact they died because they fell off of playground swings????

For the photo, please see:

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?

entry=22036_More_Death_Cult_Propaganda&only

It's quite shocking what anti-Israeli Arabs have claimed.

And don't tell me that Israeli claims should be similarly suspect: show me ONE photograph where an Israeli claimed a 5 yr old girl was killed from an Arab attack where it turned out she died from a playground accident.
8.10.2006 8:13pm
James Lindgren (mail):
I have been surprised by those who criticized my post because I was concerned about the staging of photos when the more important issue was that the child was dead.

Frankly, it is not surprising to me that people who would so cruelly and cynically use dead children's bodies would also do the far worse act of using them as human shields.

The Israeli IDF claimed that 150 missiles had been launched from Qana, which was a residential community. I hope that all of you who are more concerned about the fact that this child was killed will now denounce Hezbollah for that child's death. That "Green Helmet" was directing the filming in Qana tends to support reports that Hezbollah controlled Qana and press access to Qana.

That my post focused on MSM complicity in Hezbollah's propaganda campaign (see the UPDATE above for more) seemed to me a more interesting subject than simply pointing out that Hezbollah is targeting civilians in Israel or using Lebanese civilians as human shields. Terrorists killing innocent people is hardly news, even [though] it's ultimately more heinous.

Jim Lindgren
8.10.2006 8:16pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
Did the poster and commenters here go on extended rants / analyses over the evils of media manipulation when it came to how the media covered / transmitted the Pat Tillman story, or the Jessica Lynch story?

No, no, and no. I'd love to see Lindgren address the Tillman story in particular, and the Bush administration's blatant misuse of his death and outright lies about the circumstances thereof.

I am reminded of Al Gore, who remarked, in reference to the lack of scientific objectivity in An Inconvenient Truth, that it was necessary to overstate the case, in order to motivate the people to take action.

I am reminded that you are buying into right-wing talking points hook, line and sinker (a la the press buying into Hizbollah talking points --- kettle, meet pot). I am reminded that a good portion of the people here get their "news" from real, objective sources like Rush Limbaugh, PowerLine, Instputz, and Sean Hannity, not scum like Reuters and the AP.

These shots are significantly less "staged" than Bush's appearances in New Orleans, for instance, or the pulling down of Saddam's statue.

Ouch.
8.10.2006 8:21pm
rokemronnie (mail):
Frankly, the responsibility of that child's death lies with its parents, who could easily have walked out of Qana by foot when the Israelis told them to evacuate - per the rules of war as accepted for the past 300 years or so. There have been no reports of Israeli pilots strafing refugees on foot - in fact Lebanese have mentioned that being out in the open is the safest things true civilians can do.

If an army tells me to leave my home and I don't, I have declared myself a hostile.

In terms of morality, since Hezb-allah considers my brother and his family in Jerusalem, Israeli soldiers on the northern border, and me and my kids here in Motown, to all be equally valid military targets, why should I not regard their families as the same? They have declared themselves to be my mortal enemy, openly calling for my death (yes, Hezb-allah calls for the killing of Jews, not just "Israelis"). There will only be peace when the Arabs and Muslims know they have lost - or Israel is destroyed and all the Jews their exterminated per Achmedthenutjob's pronouncements.

Here's what a wise man said during a different war against an honor culture:

HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
IN THE FIELD, ATLANTA, GEORGIA
September 12, 1864

JAMES M. CALHOUN, Mayor, E. E. PAWSON and S. C. WELLS, representing City Council of Atlanta.

GENTLEMEN: I have your letter of the 11th, in the nature of a petition to revoke my orders removing all the inhabitants from Atlanta. I have read it carefully, and give full credit to your statements of the distress that will be occasioned, and yet shall not revoke my orders, because they were not designed to meet the humanities of the case, but to prepare for the future struggles in which millions of good people outside of Atlanta have a deep interest. We must have peace , not only at Atlanta, but in all America. To secure this, we must stop the war that now desolates our once happy and favored country. To stop war, we must defeat the rebel armies which are arrayed against the laws and Constitution that all must respect and obey. To defeat those armies, we must prepare the way to reach them in their recesses, provided with the arms and instruments which enable us to accomplish our purpose.

Now, I know the vindictive nature of our enemy, that we may have many years of military operations from this quarter; and, therefore, deem it wise and prudent to prepare in time. The use of Atlanta for warlike purposes is inconsistent with its character as a home for families. There will be no manufactures, commerce, or agriculture here, for the maintenance of families, and sooner or later want will compel the inhabitants to go. Why not go now, when all the arrangements are completed for the transfer, instead of waiting till the plunging shot of contending armies will renew the scenes of the past month? Of course, I do not apprehend any such thing at this moment, but you do not suppose this army will be here until the war is over. I cannot discuss this subject with you fairly, because I cannot impart to you what we propose to do, but I assert that our military plans make it necessary for the inhabitants to go away, and I can only renew my offer of services to make their exodus in any direction as easy and comfortable as possible.

You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I will make more sacrifices to-day than any of you to secure peace. But you cannot have peace and a division of our country. If the United States submits to a division now, it will not stop, but will go on until we reap the fate of Mexico, which is eternal war. The United States does and must assert its authority, wherever it once had power; for, if it relaxes one bit to pressure, it is gone, and I believe that such is the national feeling. This feeling assumes various shapes, but always comes back to that of Union. Once admit the Union, once more acknowledge the authority of the national Government, and, instead of devoting your houses and streets and roads to the dread uses of war, I and this army become at once your protectors and supporters, shielding you from danger, let it come from what quarter it may. I know that a few individuals cannot resist a torrent of error and passion, such as swept the South into rebellion, but you can point out, so that we may know those who desire a government, and those who insist on war and its desolation.

You might as well appeal against the thunder-storm as against these terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable, and the only way the people of Atlanta can hope once more to live in peace and quiet at home, is to stop the war, which can only be done by admitting that it began in error and is perpetuated in pride.

We don't want your negroes, or your horses, or your houses, or your lands, or any thing you have, but we do want and will have a just obedience to the laws of the United States. That we will have, and, if it involves the destruction of your improvements, we cannot help it.
You have heretofore read public sentiment in your newspapers, that live by falsehood and excitement; and the quicker you seek for truth in other quarters, the better. I repeat then that, by the original compact of Government, the United States had certain rights in Georgia, which have never been relinquished and never will be; that the South began war by seizing forts, arsenals, mints, customhouses, etc., etc., long before Mr. Lincoln was installed, and before the South had one jot or tittle of provocation. I myself have seen in Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi, hundreds and thousands of women and children fleeing from your armies and desperadoes, hungry and with bleeding feet. In Memphis, Vicksburg, and Mississippi, we fed thousands upon thousands of the families of rebel soldiers left on our hands, and whom we could not see starve.

Now that war comes home to you, you feel very different. You deprecate its horrors, but did not feel them when you sent car-loads of soldiers and ammunition, and moulded shells and shot, to carry war into Kentucky and Tennessee, to desolate the homes of hundreds and thousands of good people who only asked to live in peace at their old homes, and under the Government of their inheritance. But these comparisons are idle. I want peace, and believe it can only be reached through union and war, and I will ever conduct war with a view to perfect and early success.

But, my dear sirs, when peace does come, you may call on me for any thing. Then will I share with you the last cracker, and watch with you to shield your homes and families against danger from every quarter.

Now you must go, and take with you the old and feeble, feed and nurse them, and build for them, in more quiet places, proper habitations to shield them against the weather until the mad passions of men cool down, and allow the Union and peace once more to settle over your old homes at Atlanta.

Yours in haste,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General commanding.
8.10.2006 8:22pm
steveh2:
How is carrying a dead baby to a photographer any different from an adult with his arm blown off walking up to a photographer to show him the injury?

Or, how is it different from walking up to a reporter to be interviewed?

If the reporter or photographer does the walking, then it's okay, but if it's the other person, then it's not?

That naked Vietnamese girl -- wasn't she walking toward the photographer? Hmmmmm.
8.10.2006 8:23pm
Davide:
Erasmussimo:

I'm struck by your blase reaction to the "presumably Palestinian" man's false claim that a 5 yr old dead girl cradled in his arms was "killed" by Israelis, when in fact she died falling off of a swing.

Would you be similarly blase if I "claimed," with a picture of a dead girl in my arms, that you killed her? Would you be as nonplussed if the AP ran that photo? How about if it ran the photo, with my crying face, and the girl's body, on page 1? And what if the photo ran without even the slightest, scantiest comment that the "claim" might be false?

I would of course presume that, the "trickle" of news, that you would be fine with the AP's conduct.

Are you fine with my conduct? What about the "presumably Palestinian" man's conduct?
8.10.2006 8:23pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
The Israeli IDF . . .

Israeli Defense Force.
8.10.2006 8:28pm
SeaLawyer:

'If the Arabs put down their weapons today there would be no more violence.

'If the Jews put down their weapons today there would be no more Israel.'



The same letter was in the startribune about a week ago, and completely accurate.
8.10.2006 8:32pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
Chico's Bail Bonds:

te's post above explains the likely cause of the child's death pretty well. I won't repeat it. If you have evidence to the contrary, let's see it.

Please note: that someone pulled the child out of the ambulance and lowered the sheet over their head for someone to take a picture is not convincing evidene. [In a rush, lot's of sics. :)]

I offer a term failure to most here: Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus.

Moderator:

Kevin: you should restrain both your language and your personal attacks.

Point taken, and I shall endeavor to restrain myself in the future.

However, I must posit that my personal critiques are based upon the facts in evidence, and not ad hominem. After all, if one goes to the Farmer's Market, offering strawberries, is it wrong to call the person a strawberry farmer? Likewise, if one goes to the Free Market of Ideas, offering idiocy, what should one be called?
8.10.2006 8:43pm
Erasmussimo:
Davide, you write,
I'm struck by your blase reaction to the "presumably Palestinian" man's false claim that a 5 yr old dead girl cradled in his arms was "killed" by Israelis, when in fact she died falling off of a swing.

What is blase about my reaction? I recited the facts of the case. What in my comment justifies your use of the term "blase"?

And yes, in your hypothetical scenario, I would have no problems with the AP printing the statement, "Davide claims that Erasmussimo murdered his child." I would have a problem with you for lying, but not the AP. But in this case, we don't even know that the Palestinian man was lying. We cannot know his state of knowledge when he was carrying the child. He may have been sincerely mistaken, or merely repeating what somebody told him, or he may have been a secret member of Hamas who deliberately murdered his child in order to score propaganda points. But the AP made no error in reporting the facts as it knew them.

I'd like to respond the remarks about the difference between the Arabs putting down their weapons and the Israelis putting down their weapons. The comparison is fair -- but it leaves out an important point: if the Arabs put down their weapons today, the Palestinians would never get a homeland.
8.10.2006 8:57pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
Erasmussimo, great post (among the best I've seen from you), until this:

[I]f the Arabs put down their weapons today, the Palestinians would never get a homeland.

This disregards the simplistic fact that Israel unilaterally evacuated Gaza.

To: Moderator,

Was that civil enough for you? ;)
8.10.2006 9:04pm
NJThomas (mail):
To all of you wonderful folks concerned about the legal aspects of these pictures, let me assure you that you are being ridiculous.

My favorite quote is the following:


"would this hold up as evidence in court?"


I mean, folks, honestly, think about what you are saying. Can you imagine an American court of law ever looking to a NEWSPAPER for hard evidence? "John Doe committed the crime, your honor! It says so in last week's paper!"

The court almost never admits evidence from the mass media, because the mass media is not and has never been a source of perfect, error-free reporting. The purpose of a news story is to tell what happened. The purpose of a news photo is to show what happened.

If the news outlets behind the image of this child state there has been no staging, they mean that the photographer got a picture of the kid who was, indeed, killed in the building.

Next, my dear Kevin, for a guy who is willing to whip out the word "idiot" you sure manage to misunderstand an awful lot of your new whipping boy's point.

His argument, at least to me, seemed pretty simple. It is impossible to artificially heighten the emotionality of something as tragic as the death of a child. To that effect, in order for the emotional element of the death of a child to be artificially heightened, the death itself must be false. Thus, regardless of whether any circumstances are artificial, the death of the child in question remains equally tragic. I'm not sure how you didn't get that, but I'm going to bet that it has to do with having a strong and unbending view point.

Finally, we're talking about a war here, folks. The veracity of the modern news media at getting at the truth in any story is pretty embarrassing; why should anyone be surprised at this? Our overarching goal should remain the same. In this case, we need to figure out why noncombattant children are being killed, and we need to find out why it hasn't been halted yet.
8.10.2006 9:07pm
Dan Simon (www):
However, I think the main point here is not that someone is "directing" the photographers and other reporters, but that these supposed newsgatherers—at least some of them—are there to be directed.

Precisely. It can hardly be a shock to anyone that Hezbollah is doing its level best to spin the media. (The Israeli government obviously does the same.) What's shocking is that Western journalists are so uniformly and meekly accepting of Hezbollah's spin that the wire services are able to huff indignantly that their obviously staged photos are in fact not staged at all—confident that none of the journalists present at any of the staged scenes will call them on their flagrant lie. (The one exception—a German television reporter—pretty much proves the rule. What about all the other journalists who were invited to film the same scene? Why aren't they speaking up as well?)

If the press are toeing Hezbollah's line so completely as to unanimously present Hezbollah stagings as real-life events, then what else about the conflict are they distorting, at Hezbollah's request? The body counts? The damage? Hezbollah's popularity? Their behavior towards the local population? We can't really know, because the people we expect to tell us—the ones we'd like to trust not to give us one side's canned propaganda—have proven themselves completely untrustworthy. That should disturb even (indeed, especially) those who find the accounts of the war in the mainstream press so far to be completely plausible.
8.10.2006 9:11pm
Erasmussimo:
Dan, part of the problem here is that PR people have learned a new trick: deny press passes to those who file unflattering reports. The White House does it all the time. So do many other governments. And now it appears that Hezbollah has picked up on the trick. It's a dirty, dirty trick because it cheats the public of the truth, but there's no good counter available to us. Let's not pick on Hezbollah for learning at the feet of the masters. Let's just realize that we must be even more wary of ALL press reports that are in any way subject to the influence of governments.
8.10.2006 9:24pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
NJThomas:

His argument, at least to me, seemed pretty simple. It is impossible to artificially heighten the emotionality of something as tragic as the death of a child. To that effect, in order for the emotional element of the death of a child to be artificially heightened, the death itself must be false. Thus, regardless of whether any circumstances are artificial, the death of the child in question remains equally tragic. I'm not sure how you didn't get that, but I'm going to bet that it has to do with having a strong and unbending view point.

E-freaking-gad!!! You are positing that the circumstances of a child's (or any other) death doesn't effect its emotional impact?!?!?! Just what planet do you come from?!?!?!
8.10.2006 9:26pm
Brooklynite (mail) (www):
It's funny reading these comments. I wonder why no one has commented on the fact that we do not publish, show, etc any pictures from 9/11?
I think this poster gets at a fundamental underlying issue.

There's a common thread running through a lot of the --- for want of a better phrase --- pro-Israel posts here. I'm referring to a sense that "staged" or not, there's something unseemly, inappropriate, or worse about the eagerness of Lebanese survivors to present their dead to be photographed. A sense that someone who would offer the body of a child to a photojournalist is necessarily a ghoul --- perhaps even a barbarian --- and most likely a callous manipulator, willing to lie and deceive.

I can't speak to why Middle Eastern Muslims seem to be, in general, more willing to allow their dead to be photographed than Middle Eastern Jews, or Europeans, or Americans. I can, though, say this:

If my three-year-old daughter was killed by an airstrike, and I believed that I could get justice or vengeance for her death by publicizing it, I would parade her body in front of every photographer and journalist I could find. Put her in the ambulance, take her out of the ambulance, put her back in again --- I don't care.

So you don't make much headway with me by saying that the video shows "cheesy, ghoulish stagecraft," or that "the victims deserve more respect." As a father, I say no.
8.10.2006 9:27pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
[Post deleted by Moderator]
8.10.2006 9:36pm
orson23 (mail):
DOES NO ONE reading here know that to Jihadists, fellow Muslims are props, in principle, in their war against us?

"Let God sort them out" and "Allah knows his own" - meaning, God will send Infidels to Hell, and save True, Faithful Muslims for Paradise. Theu believe they are doing their own a positive good!

Our evil enemy are using your Christian (derived) guilt to demoralize and disarm you in their war against democractic, successful, moral state of Israel. (And even the 1.2 million Arab-Israeli's DO NOT want to join some Pale or Jordan state, by huge majoriities!)

DO YOU IDJITS not see that you are being manipulated into agreeing with a cause that wants you dead! WE ARE evil INFIDELS!

WAKE UP!
8.10.2006 9:37pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
Okay, I didn't have a moment to re-watch the video before.

I just did, and since I happen to speak German, I also followed the actual voice over, not just the overlays.

Let's just be clear what happened:

- he's there, helmet in hand, when the kid is lifted into the ambulance.

- he talks to a bystander.

- he orders the news photographer to kepp rolling

- he tells the photographer "We need better pictures here."

- the kid is taken back out of the ambulance

- GH comes back with helmet on

- the kid is transferred to a different gurney

- onlookers are cleared out

- GH kneels down, arranges the blanket several different ways while photographer keeps shooting

- GH holds the kids head, turns it for a better shot (notice here that turning the head raises the kid's whole body, including the left arm; clear, and pretty advanced rigor. Look at the purple marks on the arms and face, also: that looks like lividity.)

- then they put the body back.

This is not someone giving a moment to show a body --- this is a lengthy, extended display for photography.
8.10.2006 9:38pm
randal (mail):
Are you serious? That's the sort of "staging" you're worried about?

This post would be more accurately headlined "PROOF OF THE AUTHENTICY OF PHOTOS OF DEAD CHILDREN BY GREEN HELMET"... Jim, you clearly don't understand the definition of "staged".
8.10.2006 9:38pm
NJThomas (mail):
Seriously, Kevin, we should hang out. It would be fun to see how many thoughts you could mangle in a row.

That may get deleted. Oh well, on to the meat.

No, Kev-my-man, I was not "positing" any such thing, though I'm happy you managed to misinterpret me. I feel so vindicated now!

I was merely attempting to put Erasmus's words into a context that you might understand. While I may or may not agree with the idea that the death of a child is so tragic that any additional circumstances become essentially meaningless, I do figure there are an awful lot of people who do feel that way. Mothers, for example.

So I guess, in answer to your question (or at least to the question that you were really asking), people who might feel such a way come from Venus.

You, obviously, come from Mars.
8.10.2006 9:40pm
Brooklynite (mail) (www):
You are positing that the circumstances of a child's (or any other) death doesn't effect its emotional impact?!?!?!


I know I'm taking this out of context, but it's worth repeating:

All the video that prompted this thread purports to show is that a child's corpse was put in an ambulance, then taken out again and presented to photographers. Despite Richard Bellamy, SP, and others' insinuations, there's nothing in the video that suggests that the circumstances of the death were other than what was claimed.

Folks are, of course, free to suggest that other deceptions, or the perfidy of "green helmet," or the innate viciousness of the Arabs renders it likely that this child was killed in circumstances other than an Israeli airstrike, but the fact remains that this video provides no evidence to support that conclusion.
8.10.2006 9:42pm
Brooklynite (mail) (www):
this is a lengthy, extended display for photography.

I count about fifteen seconds from when the crowd parts to give the video camera access to when someone covers the child with the blanket.
8.10.2006 9:44pm
Lively:
Since this is a legal blog, I will point out that Hizbollah does not have separate and identifiable military bases (like Israel has)....in other words, Hizbollah doesn't follow the Geneva.

They purposely mix in with civilians hoping that civilians will get killed. Say it again: they try to get civilians killed shooting rockets off people's driveways.

They prevent civilians from leaving, after the Israelis drop leaflets telling them when and where they will bomb.
8.10.2006 9:48pm
James Lindgren (mail):
Greedy Clerk,

Why do you always gave to turn everything into an ad hominem attack?

You quoted another commenter and then commented yourself:



Did the poster and commenters here go on extended rants / analyses over the evils of media manipulation when it came to how the media covered / transmitted the Pat Tillman story, or the Jessica Lynch story?


No, no, and no. I'd love to see Lindgren address the Tillman story in particular, and the Bush administration's blatant misuse of his death and outright lies about the circumstances thereof.


I wasn't even blogging when either of those stories happened.

1. Lying on the citations for the posthumous medals for Tillman was reprehensible, and it apparently went far up in the Army's command. Tillman's father said it eloquently:


With respect to the Army's reference to 'mistakes in reporting the circumstances of [my son's] death': those 'mistakes' were deliberate, calculated, ordered (repeatedly), and disgraceful -- conduct well beneath the standard to which every soldier in the field is held.

Whether I would have blogged on it depends on whether it was being adequately covered on VC.

2. As for the Jessica Lynch story, I probably would have blogged about that, had I been a blogger at the time.
The press coverage of her homecoming was over-the-top. With so many brave soldiers coming home, I thought the extraordinary emphasis on Lynch to be extremely odd. Further, the extensive TV coverage of the home-town parade was strange because, of course, there was so little that could be said in covering it. I still don't understand how the press could have lost its judgment on that one.

One thing I noticed, however, is that Bush didn't attend the parade or have a big White House or Pentagon ceremony. I thought it nicely illustrated some of the differences between Bush's personal style and Clinton's (ie, the big public reception for Scott O'Grady, the rescued pilot).
8.10.2006 9:58pm
Dan Simon (www):
Dan, part of the problem here is that PR people have learned a new trick: deny press passes to those who file unflattering reports. The White House does it all the time. So do many other governments. And now it appears that Hezbollah has picked up on the trick. It's a dirty, dirty trick because it cheats the public of the truth, but there's no good counter available to us.

Of course there's a counter available--the press can simply refuse to go along with the game, and dare the authority in question to ban all journalists.

Let's take your analogy as an example. You appear to have a particular instance in mind of a reporter being denied a White House press pass after filing unflattering reports about the administration. I've not heard of any such case, but even if it happened, the rest of the White House press corps hardly responded by ceasing all unflattering reports about the administration. On the contrary, they continued to report as before, and of course the White House could hardly revoke all of their credentials--there'd be nobody left to relay the White House's spin in any form, even with unflattering commentary.

Likewise, self-respecting journalists working in foreign countries ought to refuse to report under conditions where their freedom to report the facts as they find them is seriously restricted. And those who bargain away that freedom for "access" (as Eason Jordan famously did to get CNN into Saddam Hussein's Iraq) deserve all the opprobrium they get. Likewise for those journalists who accept such restrictions because they sympathize with the cause of those enforcing the restrictions.

Apparently, at least one German television outlet had the integrity to report events in Lebanon as they actually saw them, not as Hezbollah wished them to be reported. We shall see what happens to them--but it's shameful that so few other journalists have similarly honored their first and most important responsibility to their audience.
8.10.2006 10:06pm
James Lindgren (mail):
Dan Simon,

Thanks for two great (and powerful) comments.

Jim Lindgren
8.10.2006 10:10pm
Michael B (mail):
A very solid, highly informative and even keeled meditation on recent phenomena in the media/MSM at Augean Stables; nicely done throughout and an ample supply of substantial, supportive links. Worth a bookmark.

h/t, the even keeled Solomonia.
8.10.2006 10:15pm
Erasmussimo:
You're right, Dan; if the press banded together and established a professional standard that any source that bans one member will be boycotted, then it could well break that bad habit. I'm a bit skeptical about the ability to establish that professional standard; for every Walter Cronkite there will always be two Geraldo Riveras. The banishment of an unfriendly journalist was, once upon a time, practiced only by totalitarian governments. Now that the practice has spread, it seems time for the journalistic profession to set a new standard in this regard.
8.10.2006 10:28pm
SG:
Erasmussimo:

A previous comment of yours stated, and your most recent one continues to imply, that the White House has pulled the press credentials of a reported to an unfriendly report. The only case of press credential revocation I'm aware of is the ex-gay prostitute (Jeff something?), but that was different (he was accused of writing firendly reports for a conservative outlet). Who is the reporter (or reporters) that have lost White House priviledges due to unfirendly reporting?
8.10.2006 10:50pm
French Trader (www):
Too bad about the kid. But the quality of today's news coverage is the more important issue.

I spent the first seven years of my career as a newspaper staff writer. I worked at a tabloid and at a "mainstream" daily.

Years ago most journalists at quality newspapers worked hard to tell the "true story." Meanwhile, the key to effective tabloid writing in those days was that a story didn't have to be true to print it -- someone just had to say it was true.

Today many in the mainstream media use tabloid tactics.

That change puts democracy at risk. The situation should worry both the political left and the political right. Voters can't make the right decisions if they have bad information. Garbage in, garbage out.
8.10.2006 11:17pm
Erasmussimo:
SG, those stories are quite old; they date back to around 2002-2003. I was unable to locate them, largely because I can't recall any useful keywords. Given my inability to substantiate that claim, I have to retract it. I'll probably remember it in the shower three days hence -- in which case I'll bring it up.
8.10.2006 11:26pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Who is the reporter (or reporters) that have lost White House priviledges due to unfirendly reporting?
In addition to Erasmussimo's failure to provide said information, there's also been a bit of false equivalency here. Hezbollah (and Hamas) do not merely threaten to (or actually) "pull press credentials." They threaten to kill reporters who don't go along with the party line.
8.10.2006 11:33pm
Erasmussimo:
Whoa, David! I think you're overstating the case here. There's a solid documented case of a Hezbollah PR guy warning some photographers that, if they filmed a missile launch site, they'd be killed. I have heard of no other threats. Stretching the first case to "They threaten to kill reporters who don't go along with the party line." is a long stretch. Unless, of course, you have a particular case you can cite that I'm not aware of.
8.10.2006 11:47pm
SG:
I'm aware of another threat.

Here's a choice quote:


It's one thing when you trot out your impotent Death to America slogans. It's another thing altogether when you threaten and bully us personally. I'm not a wire agency reporter. When you talk to me you're on the record. When you say "We know who you are, we read everything you write, and we know where you live," you're on the record.
8.11.2006 12:01am
SG:
Sorry, the link didn't make it. Here it is again.
8.11.2006 12:02am
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
NJThomas:

Seriously, Kevin, we should hang out. It would be fun to see how many thoughts you could mangle in a row.

Yawn

That may get deleted. Oh well, on to the meat.

Good, my meat is looking for a good stroking. ;)

But, in any event - 'bout time spades started bein' called spades.

No, Kev-my-man, I was not "positing" any such thing, though I'm happy you managed to misinterpret me. I feel so vindicated now!

misinterpret? How so?

I was merely attempting to put Erasmus's words into a context that you might understand.

Oh, so glad to hear. But, as you folks are so monotone, do you really think it was required?

While I may or may not agree with the idea that the death of a child is so tragic

Oh yes, some childhood deaths are really happy affairs.

that any additional circumstances become essentially meaningless,

Oh, yes, we should just let all those baby-killers go free - it was all so meaningless.

I do figure there are an awful lot of people who do feel that way. Mothers, for example.

Oh yeah, gotta' get the mothers in there - no good piece of baby-killing demagoguery is complete without the mothers.

So I guess, in answer to your question (or at least to the question that you were really asking), people who might feel such a way come from Venus. You, obviously, come from Mars.

It is only true that you are from some planet alien to the majority of us. The specifics are up for speculation.
8.11.2006 12:06am
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
Brooklynite:

I count about fifteen seconds from when the crowd parts to give the video camera access to when someone covers the child with the blanket.

Except there is at least one camera cut in there. And it's done after pulling the cadaver back out of the ambulance. And it's including some guy in a green helmet who isn't one of the rescuers, but is instead directing the photographers and posing with the body.

If you see a guy standing on a dock with a swordfish, is it less "staged" because the photo takes just a few seconds to make?

Despite Richard Bellamy, SP, and others' insinuations, there's nothing in the video that suggests that the circumstances of the death were other than what was claimed.

You didn't mention me; I'm hurt. But likely it's because I was pointing out actual evidence within the video that something --- ie, the condition of the cadaver --- didn't seem to fit the reported circumstances.

Erasmussino:

I think you're overstating the case here. There's a solid documented case of a Hezbollah PR guy warning some photographers that, if they filmed a missile launch site, they'd be killed. I have heard of no other threats. Stretching the first case to "They threaten to kill reporters who don't go along with the party line." is a long stretch. Unless, of course, you have a particular case you can cite that I'm not aware of.

You know, it might be risky, but I don't think you'd actually hurt yourself if you made the leap from a warning that if they showed something they'd be killed, and saying they threaten to kill reporters who don't go along.

In fact, I rather think you're more likely to hurt yourself executing the one-and-a-helf gainer with a twist, blindfolded, it requires to not see the connection.
8.11.2006 12:13am
John1138 (mail):
Erasm... wrote: " if the Arabs put down their weapons today, the Palestinians would never get a homeland."
This is false.

If the arabs living in "palestine" put their weapons down and initiated non-violent resistance (marches, human chains, etc.), Israel would be unwilling to use force any longer against them and Israel would likely have to go back inside the 1948 armistice lines.

If the arabs had jet bombers with precision missiles and bombs, they'd be gleefully targeting hospitals and schools while ignoring the IDF and the Geneva Convention.

When Iran gets nuclear weapons, then we'll see what culture in the ME has respect for the human worth of the "other." HINT: not the persians or arabs.
8.11.2006 12:18am
James Lindgren (mail):
Michael Totten, the blogging journalist, was threatened by Hezbollah's PR guy:


"Who do you think we are? We know who you are, we read everything you write, and we know where you live."

We know where you live. He threatened me with physical violence. And for what? For making fun of Americans on a blog.

The funny thing is Hezbollah did not know where I lived. Two hours before Hussein called me I had moved out of my hotel and into an apartment. The previous tenant hadn't even left yet, and she witnessed Hezbollah's threatening phone call. Hussein screamed so loudly into the phone she could hear him.

Two days later I called him back. He nervously denied that he ever threatened me.

"I did not say we know where you live."

"Don't lie to me. I know what you said."

When Hezbollah says "We know where you live," it makes an impression that is hard to forget. Hezbollah, after all, famously kidnapped American journalist Terry Anderson in 1985 and held him for more than six years. It also kidnapped British journalist John McCarthy, Colorado State University Professor Tom Sutherland and some others. The U.S. accused Hezbollah of killing 241 Marines and sailors with a truck bomb that destroyed the Marines barracks in Beirut in 1983, although technically that was an act of guerrilla warfare rather than terrorism.

"I meant we know who you are." He sounded anything but convincing.

"You said you know where I live."

"I did not say that. I did not say that. If I did say that, I was just stressed out."

He didn't know what he said.

"If I said that, yes, it would have been a threat," he added. At least he didn't try to say "We know where you live" meant he wanted to send me a Christmas card.

"Honest to God," he said, "it is against our principles to threaten people."

But it isn't.
8.11.2006 12:28am
SG:
Erasmussimo:

I did a little googling myself. I found a lot of left wing sites (Democracy Now) asserting that the administration would revoke the credentials if they weren't compiant, and a lot of right wind sites (National Review) saying that the administration should revoke NYT press credentials for intelligence leaks (which the White House explicitly said that it would not do). But nowhere can I find any case where someone had their credentials pulled for unfavorable coverage.

Remember, it's not what you don't know that kills you, it's what you know that isn't so.
8.11.2006 12:36am
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
Thanks, James. But that really merited a post of its own.
8.11.2006 12:36am
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
Oh yeah, I'm still drunk. But I'll stand by that last one. ;)
8.11.2006 12:38am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Interesting. One point is clear. First, the meanies who claimed staging couldn't prove it, while the others implied that if there were staging, that would be a Very Bad Thing.
Now it's proven, and....so what if it's staged? No longer a VBT. Like that wasn't predictable.

The other issue is that if Green Helmet Guy went as far as he went to stage this, WHAT ELSE WORSE MIGHT HE DO? It goes to the credibility of the witness, as Sam Waterston is always saying. So, whatever you think of this incident, what do you think of other stuff GHG had a hand in? Next, what do you think of the MSM's reporting of what GHG had a hand in, and by extension, others of his stripe?

GHG blew his credibility by opening the question, Is there anything he wouldn't do? And the MSM blew theirs by opening the question, Is there anything HB says they won't swallow?

And one commenter asked if we actually know the IDF is in Lebanon or HB is firing rockets into Israel. As Sam Waterston also says, admission against interest. HB and the Lebanese government say IDF forces are in Lebanon, and that HB is firing rockets into Israel. You don't have to take Israel's word for it.
8.11.2006 12:39am
Brooklynite (mail) (www):
Charlie:
Except there is at least one camera cut in there. And it's done after pulling the cadaver back out of the ambulance.
The only cut I see is right before they pull the body back out of the ambulance. What am I missing?
I was pointing out actual evidence within the video that something --- ie, the condition of the cadaver --- didn't seem to fit the reported circumstances.
Sorry, I missed that. But I don't find it all that compelling on its face. I might find it more compelling, though, if I knew what qualified you to opine that the body was "18-24 hours postmortem," and if you could point me to a link that reported definitively on how long after the attack the photo was taken.
8.11.2006 12:42am
DJR:
The beginning of the video (0:34) shows that they take the second stretcher (colored orange) out of the ambulance before putting the child in the first time. Maybe the ambulance driver wanted to be able to take his stretcher with him and that's why they took the child out and switched stretchers.

Also the orange stretcher appears to be the familiar kind with wheels; it bounces slightly when placed on the ground. The second stretcher (green) has handles but no wheels. One would have to place the second stretcher directly on the floor of the ambulance. Although it would not matter for this passenger, a future passenger who was still alive might prefer not to lie on the floor. The extra height would also help anyone who was also in the ambulance attempting to treat an injured person.
8.11.2006 12:52am
Chico's Bail Bonds (mail):
Kevin:

Operor vos teneo quam ut reperio equus?
8.11.2006 1:11am
Brooklynite (mail) (www):
The other issue is that if Green Helmet Guy went as far as he went to stage this, WHAT ELSE WORSE MIGHT HE DO?


From the video, it appears that he may have directed that a corpse be taken off of an ambulance for a few seconds so that it could be documented by the news media. That's it.
8.11.2006 1:17am
TruthInAdvertising:
If "Digitally manipulating images after the photographs have been taken" constitutes photographic fraud than just about every mass media print publication is guilty of fraud. You don't think that Brittney, for example, has blemish-free and stretch-mark free skin, do you?
8.11.2006 1:22am
PaulV (mail):
I thought it was violation of Geneva Convention for offensive military units to hide among civilians. IDF was bombing Hezzibulla rocket formation attacking Israeli civilians. They are to blame for Lebnonese civilianlosses, not IDF
8.11.2006 1:39am
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
Chico,

It seems to me that your Latin needs work, as I confess mine certainly does. In any event, I would guess that you are saying my behavior on this blog is that of a jackass, no?

Well, that is up for debate. However, I would posit that the use of common Latin phrases, amongst the company of those who should be quite familiar with them, is totally fine. Whereas the use of original Latin coinage, correct or not, in the company of all but those eloquent in the dead language, might be considered quite boorish.
8.11.2006 1:46am
ajftoo (mail):
Anyone notice that all the dead children seem to be girls?
8.11.2006 2:10am
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
No, aftjoo. But that may shake-out to be a VERY salient point.
8.11.2006 2:12am
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
Oops, read "ajftoo" (whatever the frick that means ;) ).
8.11.2006 2:14am
Erasmussimo:
SG, you were unable to find any case of anybody's press credentials being pulled. I did a little more digging and found a number of stories from that period complaining that the press was cowed by the Administration, and various complaints about differential access, but they were vague on specific allegations. I too was unable to find anything specific about press credentials being denied. There were a lot of insinuations, for example, that Bob Woodward got access to the President by making unprofessional promises of sympathetic treatment. There were a lot of complaints about the embedding process during the invasion of Iraq, with accusations that sympathetic reporters were embedded with the more forward units, and unsympathetic reporters were embedded in less newsworthy units. This is soft information, not something with a clear smoking gun. Were press people given to feel that the content of their reporting would affect their access to news? The stuff I have seen doesn't prove that -- I need to find a quote from a reporter arguing that he feels shut out because of his reporting. I'll keep rooting around.
8.11.2006 2:15am
David Walser:
What many seem to be missing is the context in which this video appears. Over the last week or so, critics of Hezzbulla's PR efforts have pointed to indications that photos coming out of Lebanon might not provide an accurate representation of what's happening. For example, it was pointed out that "Green Helmet Guy" seemed to be posing as a rescue worker, when it appeared that he was in fact a PR officer of Hezzbulla. Photos seemed to show him and "White T-shirt Guy" carrying the SAME dead child back and forth between a bombed-out building and the waiting ambulances. At appropriate times (when they were properly framed) it appeared that they would pause to vent their grief -- grief that was not apparent what appeared to be mere moments before. In other photos, it appears Lebanon's richest real estate baron is shown wailing over the loss of her home -- at least, at last count, three different homes in three different parts of the country have been destroyed. In still other photos, "Some Guy With Hat and Shorts" is shown with others looking through the rubble of some building. Then, in another photo, SGWHS appears to be dead, his stiff body lifted from the rubble by another worker. Still another report, this time from ABC, IIRC, is of a tour Hezzbulla provided reporters and photographers. The report was that reporters were able to interview ambulance drivers about the horrors they'd seen and the photographers were abel to take pictures of the [empty] ambulances racing up and down the street.

In the face of all of these indications that Hezzbulla might be trying to exaggerate or otherwise manage events for propaganda purposes, there was an outcry that bloggers had not proven that -- despite all the "seems", "appears", and "indications" -- the pictures could not be taken at face value. It was in this context of a call for proof that the German video is so interesting. To critics of Hezzbulla's propaganda campaign, this video is the proof their suspicions were correct. To the supporters of that campaign, it's time to change the subject.
8.11.2006 2:31am
Erasmussimo:
David, I think you miss the main thrust of the debate. The primary position that a number of people have taken here is that, yes, Hezbollah is trying to manage the news, and that this is no different from what everybody else does. I suppose it's a matter of framing. One side emphasizes that Hezbollah is managing the news. The other side emphasizes that Hezbollah is not falsifying the news. Which is the more important question: management or falsification?
8.11.2006 2:45am
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
Erasmussimo, what is this? While your predisposition still shows, your methodalogy exibits a marked change: Gone is the Erasmussimo bent on blind defense of dogma - replaced by an Erasmussimo dedicated to seeking the truth.

I don't know, but thusfar, I'm proud of you - keep it up.
8.11.2006 2:53am
NJThomas (mail):
So I'm new to this blog, having only been directed from the Leiter Reports, but I gotta say, very exciting, folks. I'm impressed with everyone's ability to manipulate sentences, restate the same facts under a mildly different spin, and generally argue for the sake of argument. I'll probably have to visit more often.

Erasmus, I don't recall press credentials being entirely revoked in this white house, but I do recall a discussion of the press being overly cowed.

The woman in the press corp. who sits in the briefing room and has for about 50 years might have even written a book about it. I'm blanking on her name, but she was on the Daily Show about 3 months ago. If you can figure it out from there, I wish you all the best.

Kevin, I'm going to concede your drunken and boorish(totally stole that word from you) brilliance. Breaking up the sentence "While I may or may not agree with the idea that the death of a child is so tragic that any additional circumstances become essentially meaningless" into two out-of-context thoughts was a masterful stroke. Rush would be proud.

And with that, folks, I'm heading to bed. Y'all have a good one, y'hear!
8.11.2006 3:16am
James Lindgren (mail):
Erasmussimo:

I suggest that you read the long post I linked in the update above. There is plenty of evidence there of falsification.
8.11.2006 3:58am
NickM (mail) (www):
What happens if a cameraman shuts off his camera and puts the lens cap back on because he thinks he has enough good film when Green Helmet wants him to continue shooting?

I can't be the only one who thinks that such an act would not be conducive to the cameraman's life expectancy.

Nick
8.11.2006 5:49am
Federal Dog:
Brooklynite--


I am fully prepared to believe that you would do exactly as you state, including parading your daughter's dead body around and putting it on display.

I am very sorry for your daughter. I sincerely hope that she is never (ab)used in the way you propose.
8.11.2006 8:32am
DJR:
I'm so happy at the restraint our news media showed during 9-11. If I had had to see images of the second plane hitting the tower hundreds of times, or footage of people jumping from burning buildings, or people overcome with grief at having to watch people jumping from burning buildings, or...

Good god I can't even keep up the charade. The ONLY thing the media DIDN'T show was bodies being pulled from the rubble. At that point, nobody needed any extra emphasis that 9-11 was a horrible tragedy. The entire nation was shut down and doing nothing but watching footage of the tragedy over and over and over again. Yes, much more restrained.
8.11.2006 9:46am
raj (mail):
Now German TV (with English subtitles)

I haven't watched the YouTube video, but I have watched news reports on German TV--in Germany--and I have yet to see any that have had English subtitles.

The veracity of this YouTube video strikes me as being about as dubious as the DCI's "AlGore" video--you know, the one that was produced by James Glassman's "astroturf" operation.

Cite to source please. Original source. Some of us actually understand German. And please suggest why a German language operation would have a feed from Lebanon that apparently nobody else does.
8.11.2006 11:14am
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

I might find it more compelling, though, if I knew what qualified you to opine that the body was "18-24 hours postmortem,"...


Medical school.
8.11.2006 11:35am
Erasmussimo:
Mr. Lindgren, thanks for the link to the detailed analysis of photos. The evidence for falsification of some captions is convincing, as is the evidence for falsification of the smoke. (That was obvious to me the first time I saw the photo). And while the evidence for staging is overwhelming, again, there's a huge difference between staging and falsification.

Moreover, I wonder if the few cases of falsification of captions that have been exposed are in any fashion significant? For example, let's examine closely the rock-solid case of the wailing woman. This lady gets around, and wails a lot. There is no question that she's a model who is used to generate photos. But is this window-dressing or meaningful falsification? The grief is false, but the destruction isn't. Surely you will agree that each and every destroyed residence generated its quota of grief-stricken occupants -- there are thousands and thousands of such people. Here in America, it's standard practice after every house burns down to show photos of the grief-stricken residents poking through the burned-out rubble. We assume that these are absolutely real, but how do we know that the photographer did not ask the residents to move to a more photogenic position? Does that constitute falsification?

Indeed, the more I think about it, the more I wonder what we truly mean by falsification in photography. We rightly regard photography as an art form, because the photographer can manipulate the lighting, the camera angle, the field of view, and other variables to produce an emotionally powerful image. The photographs of the fellow running across the bridge, supposedly representing an action shot, and more likely staged -- is it false because the fellow is not running from danger, or is it true because it truthfully represents what happened earlier? Is it re-creation or falsification?

I take a purely intellectual view of these matters. I don't put that much stock in photographs, because I know that photography exists to manipulate our emotions, not inform our minds. Who needs to see photographs of people jumping out of windows on 9/11? It's good enough for me to know that 3,000 people died. There are three images from the VietNam war that nobody will ever forget: the naked girl fleeing the burning village; the colonel executing the bound prisoner; and the college girl kneeling over the body of a male student, looking up at the camera and crying. Those images are seared into the consciousness of everybody who lived through those times, and yet their value is purely emotional, not rational.

There's no question that Hezbollah is attempting to manipulate our emotions. And there's no question that the press is going along with it, because the press sells sensation, not information. But let's remember that all political actors manipulate emotions. The Administration will not permit photographs of flag-draped caskets at Dover AFB, because those images are emotionally powerful. A few years back, Mr. Bush came to my area and met the press at a news site. Afterwards, I visited the site, and was astounded to see, amid the gravel and dirt, a nicely carpeted platform erected in a cunningly chosen position relative to the press location to insure that the press would be looking up at the President. A tiny detail, to be sure, and certainly not falsification. But this kind of thing is standard practice.

In any event, let us not overlook the fact that the great majority of dead people we see in the photographs truly are dead, and the destroyed buildings truly are destroyed. Let's not reject the important truths because Hezbollah is attempting to manipulate our emotions.
8.11.2006 12:38pm
noahpraetorius (mail):
1. HzB started this war. Israel has the right of self-defense.

2. Every time HzB fires a katyusha rocket they are committing a war crime.

3. When HzB fires rockets from a civilian area, civilian casualties from return fire are their responsibility.

Other aspects of Israel's conduct of the war may be questionable but not this part.
8.11.2006 12:48pm
te (mail):
Something occurred to me last night: This post was intended to be proof that photographs were staged and the primary intent was to demonstrate that the mainstream media photographers are stooges and dupes, and the secondary goal of course was to just malign the honesty of palestenians, lebanese, hezbulla, etc.

Do we know who was shooting the video? Was it a reporter or someone who is supposedly "neutral"? Or was it some propaganda functionary who was shooting footage that would be edited by ___insert name of bad guys de jour here ___ and released for propaganda purposes?

It just seems a little odd the green helmet guy appears to be giving orders to the person running the videotape.

I imagine that some in this thread will find it objectionable for dead children to be cynically used as props. I do, too.
I also think that it is cynical and disgusting the way that W climbed up on the rubble of the WTC to make his little speeches or the way he conscripting 4,000 soldiers on an aircraft carrier to serve as props so he could strut around in his little flight suit. People engaging in propaganda do such things, I guess.
8.11.2006 1:49pm
David Walser:
I imagine that some in this thread will find it objectionable for dead children to be cynically used as props. I do, too.
I also think that it is cynical and disgusting the way that W climbed up on the rubble of the WTC to make his little speeches or the way he conscripting 4,000 soldiers on an aircraft carrier to serve as props so he could strut around in his little flight suit. People engaging in propaganda do such things, I guess.


te, that you could equate the two marvels. That you would, disgusts.

The entire point of a terror campaign is to manipulate the media. It is stupidly naive to ignore this fact in consuming news reports. A primary purpose in Hezbollah's shooting it's rockets from apartment buildings is to generate civilian deaths to be used for propaganda purposes. For them, it's a twofer: the rocket generates deaths in Israel and the counter generates deaths that Hezbollah can use to make Israel look uncaring and uncivilized. There are orders of magnitude of difference between using dead bodies -- deaths Hezbollah helped to bring about -- as props for propaganda and in the President going to visit ground zero to thank and encourage the men and women working there. If the President had blown up the WTC, his standing on the rubble to thank those working in the recovery effort would be similar to what Hezbollah is doing in Lebanon. What's so disgusting about Hezbollah's posing in grief with its dead, is that it has done its level best to bring about those deaths just so it could use them as grist for its propaganda mill. Nothing the President has done is anywhere nearly the same.
8.11.2006 2:26pm
Jimmy (mail):
Asymmetrical warfare is definitely to blame for so many of these problems we are facing. As much as I disagree with AG Gonzales, he does have the interesting point of how the Geneva Conventions don't fully address this new style where one side of the war doesn't have any uniforms or generals or military postures that are recognizable.

However, I think all human beings are due those basic Conventions, and should be offered things like due process and fair trials. It is what helps establish the moral high ground in this war of ideals, and it keeps pure our intentions to defend liberty and enforce democracy.

Some of the hate-mongers demand that we "untie" our hands of those quaint notions of basic human rights, but what then would separate us from the evil doers? Hezbollah enjoys civilian protection because they also provide the social services that the weak central government cannot.

So, how does Israel win this war? They need a Marshall Plan to rebuild the central government and restore the essential services. It is almost the same exact rememdy needed in Iraq. We can fight all damn day, and we are very very good at it, and it is needed to some extent. But because we have no Marshall Plan to turn the lights back on and restore some degree of economic hope to the occupied, they will revert to a 2nd world dictatorship or theocracy as soon as we leave.

Why did we learn nothing from WWII? We restored the name of liberty, used legal trials to punish criminals, and turned the goddamn lights back on in (West) Germany and Japan. That's a win, people! We had two solutions to the two problems. We used military might to defeat the military and the partisans once we became occupiers, and then we turned the lights back on as well. In Iraq, we quickly won the conventional battle but totally fouled the reconstruction, and so we are simply treading bloody water.

Media manipulation has been going on since Hearst helped spark the Spanish-American war and the MSM helped end the Vietnam war. Malkin would prefer that we go back to 1940 and have a blackout on reporting or filming unless it is a government approved Movienews brief with a rousing John Sousa soundtrack and appeals to buy war bonds. I'd rather have the biases be expounded on both sides so I am still have evidence with which I can make up my own damn mind.

Somehow I have little faith that the same demagogue who defended Japanese-American interments in WWII (where there was little or no documented value to be had from the action) is someone who is looking out for the interests of freedom and liberty. She scares me in a way far different from the shrill Coulter / Moore / O'Reilly / Daily KOS. Buchanan makes more sense than she does, and that says a lot. :-(
8.11.2006 2:28pm
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
I don't know whether Chico was trying to call Kevin a jackass, but he has only succeeded in calling himself a horse. The Latin words he strings together mean very little in combination, something like "I am working at [nothing specified], I am holding y'all, than [?] as I, the horse, find out [nothing in particular]". (Quam has several meanings, but all the others are even less likely than the one ("than [?]") I use here.) The sentence loses nothing in translation, since there was nothing much there to begin with. Please stick to English in the future, Chico, unless you want to enrage readers who actually know Latin, confuse those who do not, and irritate both.
8.11.2006 2:29pm
te (mail):

There are orders of magnitude of difference between using dead bodies ... and in the President going to visit ground zero

Agreed.

I think the dead kid thing is worse, too. But it is a matter of degree.

I think that destroying a building with children inside is far worse than either one.

And, just so we are clear here - I am not a fan of hezbullah.

Both sides are assholes.
8.11.2006 2:35pm
SG:
Knowingly destroying a building with children is far worse than either one.

Unknowingly destroying a building with children inside is a tragic but forseeable consequence of going to war. War is cruelty, it cannot be refined.

So who started the war? Who's war aims are most just?
8.11.2006 3:05pm
noahpraetorius (mail):
te, given your demonstrated lack of ability to make moral judgements...might just as well call them both saints. Its just more noise.
8.11.2006 3:46pm
te (mail):

te, given your demonstrated lack of ability to make moral judgements...might just as well call them both saints.

Actually, I think my ability to make moral judgements is considerably more refined than many of the posters herein who seem to think that is synonymous with "rooting for your team" regardless of the facts.

And last time I checked, Saints didn't kill children with missiles - but maybe your religion is different than mine.
8.11.2006 4:02pm
SG:
te:

I'm no hagiographer, but didn't most Saints get to be that way by letting themselves be put to death? Humans, on the other hand, tend to fight back when attacked.

So let's posit then that neither side is a Saint. That doesn't make it impossible to draw moral distinctions between the two sides.

Who started the war? Who's war aims are most just?
8.11.2006 4:08pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
te sez, 'I imagine that some in this thread will find it objectionable' to pose dead kids for propaganda.

Not as such. If the kid is dead and if he died in the manner and for the reason the propagandist is claiming, who could object?

I also object to posing live kids as dead ones for the purpose of libeling Jews. Something I can prove the Muslims have done.

If faked Jewish atrocity photos were rare or unique, I could not draw conclusions from the one (or few) that I have seen. But since they are as common as grass, I do draw conclusions.

I object to people who fake Jewish atrocities.

Is that so hard to understand, te?
8.11.2006 4:25pm