Thursday, August 03, 2006

Bloglines - Breaking: News Photographers Did Not Collude with Hezbollah to Stage Photos at Qana

The Huffington Post | Raw Feed
The Huffington Post Raw Feed

Breaking: News Photographers Did Not Collude with Hezbollah to Stage Photos at Qana

By Rachel Sklar

Malkins an idiot.jpg from

This is one of those posts that you can't believe you're writing.

For those of you privileged enough not to have been subjected to some of the nonsense coming out of the conservative echo chamber in recent days, there's been a conspiracy theory floating around that news photographers helped Hezbollah stage pictures of the bodies and destruction left in the wake of Israel's strike on the Lebanese city Qana. Indeed, the bizarre allegations have been promoted by such high-profile conservatives and paragons of journalistic integrity as Rush Limbauh and Michelle Malkin .

One blogger, at EUReferendum (which we won't be linking to), wrote, "whoever said the camera cannot lie forgot that photographers can and do. Those lies have spread throughout the world by now and will be in this morning's newspapers, accepted as real by the millions who view them." He went on to call these photographers -- the ones reporting from a warzone, mind you, as he and Kathyrn Jean Lopez fight the battle of ideas at their blogs -- "loathsome creatures."

The AP, Reuters, and Agence France-Presse are now "strongly denying that the images were staged." And to the charge that timestamps on the photos proved the shots were staged, the AP said "that the time stamps could be misleading for several reasons, including that web sites can use such stamps to show when pictures are posted, not taken"; that "[t]he AP had three different photographers there who weren't always aware of what the others were doing, and filed their images to editors separately"; and that "the AP does not distribute pictures sequentially" but rather moves them "based on news value and how quickly they are available for an editor to transmit." Shocking, shocking revelations -- every last one of 'em.

Appropriately baffled, the AP's executive editor, Kathleen Carroll, said, "It's hard to imagine how someone sitting in an air-conditioned office or broadcast studio many thousands of miles from the scene can decide what occurred on the ground with any degree of accuracy." Meanwhile, The Washington Post's Jefferson Morley writes, "At a time when American and Israeli public opinion of the war diverge radically from the world opinion elsewhere, the emergence of a right-wing equivalent of the Sept. 11 conspiracy theories is worth noting."

True to the modus operandi of any bona fide conspiracy theorist, Malkin apparently believes the nonsense she's helped to traffic can't be disproven. A post on her site quoting news of the agencies' denials is titled simply, "How dare they be questioned!" At this point, when normal, conscientious people are busted for thinking stupid things, they retract their idiotic statements and, say, apologize to the hard-working people they've defamed. But since we're talking about Rush and Michelle here, well, we won't be holding our breaths.


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