Wednesday, January 7, 2009

News from Gaza: Making a Game of Death and Destruction

It's a variation of "what's wrong with this picture?"

While you're watching the news from Gaza, or reading about Israeli aggression and Palestinian pathos, try looking for this sort of detail:
  1. A photo of shattered concrete, twisted steel, once a happy home
    • With a brightly-colored, spanking-clean toy sitting on top of the dust
  2. A Palestinian who speaks fluent English, being interviewed as resident of one town
    • Being interviewed as another resident of another town a little later
  3. Any photo that looks like the one on the right:

Learning from Past Mistakes

The second example may not be too likely. Saddam Hussein's regime provided reporters with articulate young women in different locations, who spoke fluent English and gave moving accounts of what the Yankees were doing to Iraq. Until a particularly astute reporter noticed that the young women all had the same voice, the same face, and were, in fact, the same person.

I think Hamas is smart enough to learn from the mistakes of others.

The same goes for the third possibility. Ever since Reuters published what may be the worst digital editing outside Photoshop 101, and got caught, news services seem to have been a little more careful.

Even so, Iran 'enhanced' a photo of its indomitable missiles being launched was published as the real McCoy in:
  • The Los Angeles Times
  • The Financial Times
  • The Chicago Tribune
  • BBC News
  • Yahoo! News

(from The Lede/The New York Times, used w/o permission)
Impressive, isn't it?

Then, The Associated Press found the original photo.

(from The Lede/The New York Times, used w/o permission)
Can you spot the difference between these two photos?

To Iran's credit, whoever did the postwork on that photo was pretty good. A person would have to look closely, to notice that two clouds of dust on the ground are virtually identical.

Isn't Playing a Game with War Coverage Ghoulish?

Actually, I rather hope that 'spot this lie' doesn't catch on as entertainment. The War on Terror is a very serious matter.

On the other hand, I would like to see more people pay attention to what they see, rather than letting the news wash over them. Particularly since it's hard to shake the impression that at least some 'objective' journalists aren't quite convinced that outfits like Al Qaeda, Hamas, and the Taliban are a bigger threat than the FBI and the CIA.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.