Squaring the Culture




"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

12/31/2008 (5:05 pm)

Anatomy of a Lie

A Blog For All has a fascinating reminder of just how much we can trust the press whenever the Palestinian-Israeli conflicts kick up.

This is really slick detective work: lawhawk found a series of photographs that were all taken at the same time, but posted in sequence with captions gradually obscuring the real story. The real story was that a Palestinian youth was shot in the leg while hurling a Molotov Cocktail at Israeli lines. By the time the last photo was posted, it was “Israeli soldiers are using live ammunition on protesters at a demonstration.” No mention of the fact that the youth was an armed attacker. Go take a look.

The same fellow has a pretty complete summary of arguments being offered for and against Israel’s acts. He’s pro-Israel (as am I) so he gives short shrift to the Hamas-pitying blather, particularly the stuff about proportionality.

Since when is proportionality a concern in war? You fight to win. Hamas has been hurling hundreds of missiles at Israel, even during the recent cease-fire. Israel wants to put Hamas out of power, and out of business. If it takes air strikes, they do air strikes. If it takes invasion, they do invasion. How much would we concern ourselves with proportionality if Mexico was flipping missiles across the Rio Grande?

07/12/2008 (8:16 am)

Snarking Iranian Fauxtography

Venerable forgery-detector Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs noted an Iranian report on Thursday that included a photo of missile launches that had been, um, enhanced by the Iranian government before release. The enhancements are pretty innocuous, actually — they added a missile or two — but the Photoshop geeks on the blogosphere are just having a blast with this. Pay a brief visit to “Attack of the Photoshopped Missiles” at Wired, from which I stole the image below. Enjoy.

01/25/2008 (5:04 pm)

Fautography, Lest We Forget

Solomonia reminds us how Palestinian activists love to manipulate the complicit American press, with evidence of staged photographic events surrounding the latest outbreak of violence in Gaza. Photographers and reporters entered sessions of parliament on Gaza where the only light was candlelight, emphasizing the Israeli decision to cut off fuel supplies to those attacking them. Only, the sessions were being held during daylight hours, and the rooms were full of windows. They drew the curtains for photographs.

Never forget; it’s a war of the mind, our enemies know how to fight, and the American press serves our enemies willingly.

12/28/2007 (1:34 pm)

Haven't Quite Gotten the Hang Yet…

I guess Iran isn’t completely savvy about producing convincing web content for the West yet.

An Iranian web site, attempting to dismiss reports that Jews are escaping Iran en masse, published the following picture along with the article:

The only problem was, the image was originally posted as a satire, and was photoshopped for the purpose of lampooning western analysts who think terrorism would cease if we simply abandoned Israel. Here’s the original image, from The Peoples Cube:

The satire is actually very funny, and includes this lovely image of bin Laden along with the caption, “Israel was the only reason why we bombed New York, Paris, London, Bali, Riyadh, Thailand, Kashmir, Russia, Morocco, Nigeria, India, and the Philippines. But now all our operations will cease.”

Do you get the impression that perhaps our friends in Iran do not understand the Western concept of satire?

Credit goes to Gateway Pundit for presenting this fascinating flub, and to The Peoples Cube for spotting it.


12/29 update: Gateway Pundit located the original photo, which was apparently taken from a nuclear energy protest in 2005. The slogan on the placard is translated “Nuclear energy is our absolute right.”

08/25/2006 (9:43 am)

Fauxtography, One More Time

The above photograph is part of a growing scandal over a report that Israeli gunships or airplanes deliberately targeted Lebanese ambulances, in this case firing a missile directly through the center of the Red Cross and causing severe wounds to the rescue workers and injured civilians inside.

The problem is, it probably never happened.

The original attack was reported July 24, 2006, and echoed around the world. Watch this BBC report on YouTube to get a feel for how the story played out in the world press.

Today, the blogosphere is reporting they have evidence that the attack never took place and that the incident was fabricated for the press. The most complete summary appears at zombietime, the professional photographer whom we met a few weeks ago providing an analysis of fake photojournalism from the Israeli-Hezbollah war. Michelle Malkin, as usual, provides a pretty good sample of blogulation about the incident.

It turns out that some ambulances used in southern Lebanon have air vents in the centers of their crosses on their roofs. And sure enough, when you examine the hole in the roof’s center, you can see unpainted flanges indicating that the hole is deliberate and manufacturered, not an irregular hole punched by a missile; the vent has been removed. You can also see rust all over the roof of the vehicle wherever the paint is scraped away. That would be unremarkable, except that the photo was allegedly taken only a week after the attack. Southern Lebanon is a desert. Things rust slowly there. Judging by the rust, the ambulance had been wrecked for months at the time this picture was taken, not just a few days. Finally, note irregular shrapnel holes in the roof, all bent inward; if an Israeli missile had exploded inside the vehicle, at least some of the shrapnel holes should be bent outward, not inward.

Israel claims they never deliberately target civilians or ambulances. Given the trouble to which Hezbollah has gone to manufacture evidence of Israeli “war crimes,” I’m inclined to believe Israel; why would Hezbollah manufacture incidents if they had real ones to report?

I can’t resist: below is a little crowing from the blogosphere over how we’ve got the Fauxtographers’ number. They can’t get away with manufacturing the news anymore.

08/10/2006 (11:29 am)

Qana: the Director's Cut, Take 2

The following brief film footage reprises “Green Helmet Man,” who has figured in a couple of the staged footage capers, this time giving film direction to the camera crew and moving the body of a dead child in and out of an ambulence to facilitate multiple takes of the film. (The above photograph was taken from “Qana: The Director’s Cut” on EUReferendum.)

Thanks go to PowerlineBlog, EUReferendum, one of Power Line’s readers named Peter Hallbourg, and Germany’s NDR, who made the film.

Mr. Green Helmet apparently has objected that he’s “no Hezbollah-guy” to a German newspaper. EUReferendum notes his claim, here, but you should scroll through several of EU’s blog entries, as they’ve been following him for several days, and he shows up whenever there’s a photo-op.

Again, for the record: nobody is saying bombs did not hit civilians in Qana. The civilian deaths, though unintended, are real and regrettable. However, there has been a pattern of deception and propaganda surrounding the incident; the press has played down the number of adult males killed (arguably Hezbollah fighters), and staged photo ops to highlight the children killed there, part of the propaganda war Hezbollah is waging in the Western press.

08/09/2006 (12:00 am)

Faked Photojournalism

See anything odd about the dead man in the photo?

Notice how his hands are dusty, but his torso and face are not? How clean his shorts are? How he’s perspiring? How he has a hat neatly tucked under his left elbow?

He’s not dead. He’s posing. Proof supplied by Michelle Malkin and others. (photo published by New York Times)

The Blogosphere has uncovered an ever-widening pattern of falsified photographs from photojournalists in southern Lebanon, all favoring Hezbollah. A number of instances have been uncovered, displaying at least four different types of fraud: 1) photographs digitally altered to make them seem more dramatic; 2) photo ops staged by Hezbollah but presented as though they were spontaneous news events; 3) photographers themselves staging photographs and presenting them as spontaneous news events; and 4) false or misleading captions added to photographs taken at another time or place. Most of the offenses have been published by the Reuters News Service, but there’s at least one instance of staged photos by an Associated Press photographer, published in the New York Times. A fine summary of the scandal appears here at ZombieTime, a blog spot apparently maintained by a professional photographer. The four categories of fraud were Zombie’s analysis, not mine.

Short version: News agencies appear to be helping Hezbollah manufacture public outrage, by manipulating the news. The correct name for this is “Propaganda.”

Do not trust what you read in the newspapers.

Here’s another instance displayed by Michelle Malkin. And here’s one called “The Passion of the Toys” — too funny.

The first, most widely known instance was uncovered by Little Green Footballs on Aug 5. Reuters allegedly fired the guy who doctored the photos, but they seem to have simply started publishing his work under a different name. Read about it at mypetjawa. (UPDATE: Jawa has retracted, there really are two photographers, but questions remain, here.)

EUReference has a series showing a man in a green helmet parading around with a dead child in his arms, apparently for hours, so he could be photographed by international news agencies. EUReference, again, has evidence of a staged photographic event, which they’ve called “Qana: The Director’s Cut.” It’s very complete, don’t miss this one. These are the images of the accidental bombing of civilians at Qana in southern Lebanon that the world has seen; they were apparently staged by Hezbollah. (NOTE: I’m not saying the incident never occurred; I AM saying that Hezbollah clearly cares more about propaganda than about rescuing civilians.)

Riehl World View shows a series of shots from Qana, and notes: “They certainly seem to be going to a lot of trouble to cover up what looks like a number of adult males, most likely Hezbollah fighters, while making sure that images of any children or women killed in Qana are fully exposed.”

The Blogosphere: Fact-checkin’ yerass since 1998.