Saturday, January 10, 2009


I saw a clip from CNN today. It was a video of a 12 year old child brought to a hospital in Gaza. The boy's older brother was a freelance photographer and got the call to come home because his brother had been killed by an Israeli bomb. The CNN anchor warned that the clip was heart wrenching, and it was. Or at least it would have been if it wasn't a fake.

It was quite obvious that the two doctors who were performing CPR on the boy were faking it. And that makes me wonder how much more of it was faked. Because of the faked CPR, I have no idea of whether any child was actually harmed or killed on that day. Unfortunately it goes to show how little we can trust the majority of the main stream media.

It is well known that much of the imagery coming out of Gaza (and Southern Lebanon a couple of years ago) was faked. Photographic evidence shows that many of the "atrocities" were staged, complete with Directors showing what camera angles to use and calling for second takes. In the long run I have to believe that this will hurt the Palestinian people. Right now they are able to gain sympathy through a wide variety of faked images, but eventually people will wise up. And when they do wise up, there won't be any sympathy left even when the Palestinians are suffering. When you cry wolf one too many times, people stop believing you.

But let's stop for a moment to think about the main stream media. Why are they publishing so many faked images? I can think of several reasons:
  1. many of the images come from freelance Palestinians, who only make money if they can show something dramatic. Furthermore, they are able to support the Palestinian cause by showing something sensational (even if it is faked).
  2. the media makes money on the dramatic, so there is little incentive to sort out the real from the fake (well, little incentive except your own integrity).
  3. producing dramatic pictures boosts a journalists career. Remember the photograph from Vietnam of the police chief executing a civilian in cold blood? It got the photographer a Pulitzer Prize. Too bad nobody pointed out at the time that the "civilian" was a North Vietnamese Army officer who was caught in civilian disguise, and that under those circumstances summary execution is quite acceptable.
  4. many in the media support the Palestinian cause, and think that any means are justified in helping the Palestinian people (even at the cost of truth). This will come back to hurt the Palestinian cause. I'm sure Palestinians really are hurting, but how can we know to what degree? After all, we can't trust the media to tell us.
  5. any reporter in Palestine who doesn't play along will be a target for the extremists. Who wants to be the next Daniel Pearl?
  6. antisemitism seems socially acceptable in some countries and among some peoples and political parties. There is a thin veneer of acceptance, but many people seem to have no sense of shock at the mobs marching along screaming "death to the Jews". One would think we would have learned this lesson after World War Two, but I guess not.
  7. nobody in my culture has been trained to think. We accept everything we see uncritically. And we can't imagine that anyone would ever lie to us. Of course this makes it very easy for people to lie to us.
All in all, I find this very discouraging. I have very little respect or trust for the main stream media. And they've done it to themselves. But when will the rest of the people in my culture wake up?


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