Sunday, August 06, 2006

Axis of Equivalence: CBS, CNN & Reuters' Adnan Riefenstahl

The J-Post is reporting that journalists from CBS and CNN allow themselves to be used as props in Lebanon (hat tip: RWNH):

...former Sunday Telegraph correspondent Tom Gross revealed that Hizbullah officers supervise CNN reports, that a CBS reporter admitted Hizbullah overseers determine what’s filmed, that repeated shots of several downed buildings lend Beirut the erroneous image of devastated WWII Dresden, that journalists are threatened, that Hizbullah holds their passports for ransom, that their analyses are skewed to curry favor, and so on...

Think about that for a moment, because it's almost unbelievable. The words and pictures carried by CBS and CNN are orchestrated by Hezbollah "public relations commandoes."

And CBS and CNN appear to be willing co-conspirators in these elaborate hoaxes. Why? Because they don't apprise viewers that their reporters operate under duress, their stories framed by terrorists and their backers.

Viewers believe they are seeing the unadulterated truth of the situation on the ground. Instead, they are fed the Al-Manar version of the truth, skewed to present Israelis in the worst possible light. Thus, in the information war, Israel is losing badly.

Eason Jordan and Saddam Hussein's Propaganda Machine

This isn't the first time CNN has been involved with weaving fables that would have done Brezhnev's Pravda proud. Recall that CNN, under the leadership of Eason Jordan, refrained from reporting Saddam Hussein's atrocities in order to "get the story." In 2003, Honest Reporting wrote:

In a shocking New York Times opinion piece, CNN's chief news executive Eason Jordan has admitted that for the past decade the network has systematically covered up stories of Iraqi atrocities. Reports of murder, torture, and planned assassinations were suppressed in order to maintain CNN's Baghdad bureau...

...Jordan has not always been so candid -- nor honest. Just six months ago on public radio, when challenged regarding the veracity of CNN's Baghdad reports, Jordan stated, "CNN has demonstrated again and again that it has a spine; that it's prepared to be forthright... we work very hard to report forthrightly, to report fairly and to report accurately and if we ever determine we cannot do that, then we would not want to be there [in Iraq]."

CNN has [now] turned sincere, admitting it buried stories that would smear Mideast dictators, perhaps the time has come for more comprehensive, honest reporting in the region...

Dare to dream. That was three years ago. It's now 2006 and CNN appears to be following the same script from the same tired teleprompter. They parrot Al-Manar's fabrications while failing to inform viewers that stories are spinning faster than a Barry Zito curveball.

What lies beyond the horse blinders affixed to the camera lens? If CBS and CNN had real reporters, we'd know.

Meanwhile, J-Post complains that Israel is losing the information war:

...Supply routes from Syria to Lebanon are often hit in Israeli air force raids. The inevitable claim from Hizbullah and Lebanese sources is that food-ferrying trucks are being bombed. The IDF rarely comments. That's plainly no way to do business...

Unfortunately, that's the way of war. The IDF can't reveal information that would lead to the disclosure of sources and methods. It's just blocking and tackling. And it's hard to compete with Reuters' methods.

Reuters Photoshop Express

Reuters issues a "picture kill"

While it's clear that Western media has been operating with a casual disregard for the truth, out-and-out fabrications appear to be rare. Or perhaps not.

Within the last few hours, the blogosphere seems to have caught a Reuters photographer using image-editing software (the ubiquitous Adobe Photoshop, perhaps?) to make Beirut look like Tokyo after the fire-bombing. HotAir, LGF, Left & Right, and others were front-runners in detecting and exposing the fraud. Photographer Adnan Hajj has created a unique gallery of Hezbollah-approved™ images that make Beirut look like Dresden. But Hajj never seems to catch a glimpse of those pesky rocket-launchers operating in civilian areas.

Reuters has pulled the picture and replaced it with its ostensible original.

The Axis of Equivalence just doesn't seem to care. CBS, CNN, and Reuters all have a long history of moral equivalence. CNN's Eason Jordan didn't hesitate to protect Saddam Hussein's image during the important run-up to war:

...A 31-year-old Kuwaiti woman, Asrar Qabandi, was captured by Iraqi secret police occupying her country in 1990 for "crimes," one of which included speaking with CNN on the phone. They beat her daily for two months, forcing her father to watch. In January 1991, on the eve of the American-led offensive, they smashed her skull and tore her body apart limb by limb. A plastic bag containing her body parts was left on the doorstep of her family's home... I felt awful having these stories bottled up inside me...

In Jordan's defense, he did feel absolutely awful about this and other atrocities. Not awful enough to report them, mind you, but pretty awful nonetheless.

Now it's 2006 and it feels, for some historians, like Europe in 1938. Perhaps they're caught up in the spirit of the day, because from all appearances, the Axis of Equivalence seems to be employing their own Leni Riefenstahls.

For viewers here in the States, though, it would be helpful if media outlets could at least close-caption their Hezbollah propaganda clips as such. And if he were around today, I'm pretty sure Eason Jordan would approve.

EU Referendum: Qana: the Director's Cut
HotAir: The worst Photoshop I've ever seen
Left & Right: Reuters faking photos
LGF: Reuters Doctoring Photos from Beirut?
Publius Pundit: More enemy media hijinks?
RWN: Spinning Israel's Defeat

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