Skip to comments.Were front-page photos staged? [Images from Qana raise issues]
Posted on 08/12/2006 12:02:21 PM PDT by PajamaTruthMafia
Kopel: Were front-page photos staged? Images from Qana raise issue of whether media were manipulated.
If you see a news photograph of the war in Lebanon, shot from within Hezbollah territory, can you be confident the picture and caption are accurate? Unfortunately, the answer is no.
Earlier this week, Reuters fired photographer Adnan Hajj and withdrew his portfolio of 920 pictures after Little Green Footballs, The Jawa Report, and many other weblogs provided evidence that Hajj had used digital editing and other techniques to fake numerous photos of the Lebanon war.
On July 31, the News and Post ran the sensational front page photo of a "rescue worker" shouting while he carried the body of a child who was killed by an Israeli bomb in Qana, Lebanon. The photograph was taken by Nasser Nasser of The Associated Press. Substantial evidence suggests the photograph was not spontaneous.
British journalist Richard D. North was one of the founding writers of The Independent. He later wrote for the Sunday Times, and is currently media fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs in London. On his weblog, eureferendum.blogspot.com, North presents evidence about the staging of the Qana photos.
In an Aug. 5 report titled "Qana - the director's cut," North compiles Qana photos from the still pictures and videos shot by the media there. (Among the photographers at Qana was Reuters' soon-to-be-fired Hajj.) The video evidence shows that a man directing the operation is a Hezbollah supporter; a TV France 2 interview from his house reveals his personal Hezbollah shrine.
Many photographs, including the front-page News and Post photograph, appear to be staged. The two "rescuers" in the pictures that were published worldwide are the man in the white T-shirt and a man in a green helmet. While carrying the bodies on a short path where the photographers are clustered, they wail copiously and cry in anguish, holding up the corpses for display. Before and after the "camera run," they display little emotion and treat the children's bodies callously. They make sure one rescuer completes his camera run before the next rescuer leaves the building for his own camera run.
Some television footage, available on www.youtube.com (titled "eye witness") appears to show staging. While an interview is taking place, a couple of men carrying a body on a stretcher come around a corner; they set the stretcher down and wait for photographers to get in position before they pick up the stretcher and resume walking forward.
A clip from the German TV network Norddeutscher Rundfunk shows the "civil defense worker" featured on the front page of the Denver papers ordering journalists to "keep on filming" and "better images must be shot." He directs the corpse to be removed from an ambulance, placed on a stretcher, and posed for the cameras. (www.youtube.com/watch? v=4vPAkc5CLgc).
According to the daily Web newsmagazine Israel Insider, "Journalists were not allowed near the collapsed building." The Christian Lebanese Web site Libanoscopie cited an anonymous source stating Hezbollah had placed a rocket launcher on top of the building, then herded disabled children inside, hoping to create a massacre.
I e-mailed some questions to Linda Wagner, the AP's director of media relations and public affairs. She sidestepped my question about access to the building, stating: "We know that, generally, access to combat sites for journalists in Lebanon is greater than it has been for journalists operating within Israel, Iraq or Afghanistan."
On July 22, Reuters published a photo of a woman crying because Israeli planes had just destroyed her apartment. (See drinkingfromhome.blogspot. com, Aug. 6 entry). On Aug. 5, the AP published a photo of the same woman in Beirut, crying because Israeli planes had just destroyed her house.
Regarding the woman's claims, Wagner said, "We will not speculate." More precisely, it could be said the AP's decision to publish the photo and to attach a statement repeating the woman's claim as fact was based on speculation the woman was telling the truth.
Something else the AP will not do is release the original files of its Qana photos so the internal digital time stamps on the photos can be examined. At the least, such examination would reveal the time interval between various photos, which would provide evidence regarding whether the photos were staged.
Asked about the German network's video, Wagner replied: "There are gruesome realities in all war zones that result from war's death and destruction. Victims of such destruction sometimes want the world to see its results.
"The full sequence of AP photos and captions from the incident at Qana on July 30 reflect that reality.
"In AP's captions, the man in the green helmet was identified as a civil defense worker, and we have confirmed that he is in charge of civil defense in Tyre, which is near Qana.
"Partisans on both sides of a conflict will interpret images of that conflict in different ways. AP strives to stick to the facts."
Fair enough, but that does not mean the media should cooperate with "victims" (or Hezbollah operatives) in producing staged or posed photos. On Aug. 1, the AP, Reuters and Agence France Press released a joint statement "strongly denying that the images were staged." In light of the videos, those denials are implausible.
Bob Newman of KOA-AM (850) investigated a July 31 Time magazine photo, which the caption said was "the wreckage of a downed Israeli jet." Actually, the fire in the background of the photo was coming from burning tires in a garbage dump. After being contacted by Newman, Time corrected the photo and apologized. The dump apparently began to burn after some nearby Hezbollah rocket launchers were hit by the Israelis, and a Hezbollah rocket may have misfired into the garbage dump.
The same overly dramatized burning garbage dump appears in the background of an AP photo captioned: "A Hezbollah gunman aims his AK-47 at a fire caused by an explosion in Kfarshima, near Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, July 17, 2006" (www.riehlworldview.com, Aug. 8), while the cover of the July 31 U.S. News & World Report featured the Hezbollah gunman in the foreground with the sensational flames and smoke in the background.
Most of this article's sources, which have provided evidence about misleading photographs from Lebanon, have been compiled by people who support Israel in its war with Hezbollah, as do I. Notwithstanding the media critics, Hezbollah has, in the war for Western public opinion, sometimes succeeded in subverting Western news organizations into organs of its own propaganda. At Qana at least, it appears that the media may have been complicit in the production of controlled, staged images using dead children as props, which were falsely presented to the public as authentic, spontaneous photos of a rescue operation.
Dave Kopel is research director at the Independence Institute, an attorney and author of 10 books. He can be reached at davekopel@RockyMountainNews.com.
Pinging the Dinosaur Media DeathWatch List
Seen this ?
Did you put all those keywords up there?
Those keywords yours too?
Does anyone have that great thread from zombienet(?) that detailed the 4 identified types of photo fraud Rutgers has perpetrated?
Thanks for that, It's pretty good.
The Reutergate scandal and issues with Beirut Photos in general.
There are 2 areas of concern: 1) Staging of photos and; 2) Doctoring of photos. Links are in chronological order.
ISSUE 1, STAGING OF PHOTOS:
"Reuters calls the doctor, take 2" (Powerline blog exposes yet another suspect group of photos same damage reported as new 12 days apart).
"Extreme Makeover - Beirut Edition" (Drinking from Home exposed more photos. This time, the same woman is shown losing her home first in Southern Beirut on 7/22 and then in the "suburbs of Beirut" on 8/5)
"Shaking the Dead" (Confederate Yankee shows staged photos of a "rescue worker" grasping a hand protruding from the rubble for both Reuters and AP)
"The Passion of the Toys" (Slublog has a collection of all the posed stuffed animals among the ruble)
ISSUE 2, DOCTORING OF PHOTOS
That photo with the smoke is so incredibly obvious I don`t see how anyone could miss it. But Reuters initially used it didn`t they? That says a lot about them.
The keywords come from the other posts on this subject that people added as they went along. Especially "The Passion of the Toys" and the original Reuters Fauxtography post. (see roundup above)
LOL -- they're very good!
Bump and bookmark.
The caption says that this kid was pulled out from the rubble of a destroyed building. She's as clean as the spotless throw-down stuffed animals that pop up in the scenes. There's not a speck of concrete dust in her hair and her pink shirt couldn't be any cleaner. And the crusted dried blood around her mouth was added after pulling her out of the rubble.
Original web link here: http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/060801/481/a2b0c08be4784a4c90cbfe4decfa8266
Go here, to post 9 and click on Qana the Director's cut and you'll see how those were staged.
"sometimes succeeded in subverting Western news organizations into organs of its own propaganda"
... and this was REALLY HARD! Hahahahah
What a joke!
This just in. They're running scared. Very scared...
'Wash Post' Ombud: Lebanon Photos Not Manipulated There
By E&P Staff
Published: August 12, 2006 4:10 PM ET
NEW YORK In a column for the Sunday editon, Deborah Howell, ombudsman for The Washington Post, reveals that a review of the published photos from the Middle East conflict found that apparently none had been manipulated.
Bloggers who supported Israel's widescale bombing in Lebanon and others have raised questions about such manipulaton after two photos by a Reuters freelancer were found to be doctored last week.
But Howell's review of war photos published in The Post "didn't show any obvious manipulation," she writes.
Several readers questioned the July 31 photo of the 18 dead at Qana, mostof them children, and said they'd read that the photo had been staged. But Post photographer Michael Robinson-Chavez who was there told Howell, "Everyone was dead, many of them children. Nothing was set up. There was no way photos could have been altered with a dozen photographers there."
Howell writes that along with two photo editors she reviewed many photos from Qana. "Only one photo, not published, looked staged -- of a rescue worker holding a dead child up for the camera." It was taken by the same photographer fired by Reuters this week.
Beyond dispute, in any case, is that several hundred Lebanese civilians have been killed in the bombing.
Post photo editors are "cautious" about Middle East photos, Howell explains. She quotes Joe Elbert, assistant managing editor for photos: "You can't take things at face value. Some freelance photographers lack journalistic training. They are not operating under the same standards as most photographers throughout the world."
Post policy, like that at other news sources, prohibits altering photos.
E&P Staff (email@example.com)
Paraphrasing Ronald Reagan, regarding MSM stories readers probably ought to distrust but verify on the off chance that a MSM journalistTM actually let a grain of truth accidentally slip out.
Another translation: "All the bottom line pressure has forced us to lay off our regular photogs, so we have to use cheap immigrant labor to fill in. Our quality just ain't what it used to be..."
Thanks for that. It made my blood boil! So here's the letter I just sent them:
I take great umbrage in your characterising critics as
people who support "Israel's widescale bombing." We
are simply citizens who want and demand truth and
accuracy from our media.
In that regard, perhaps you can get Mr.
Robinson-Chavez to explain this recently released
video from Germany's NDR "Zapp" television show which
contains incontrovertible video evidence of staging at
Perhaps he would respond to these comments from one of
his fellow photographers in Lebanon Mr. Bryan Denton:
"I have been working in Lebanon since all this
started, and seeing the behavior of many of the
Lebanese wire service photographers has been a bit
While Hajj has garnered a lot of attention for his
doctoring of images digitally, whether guilty or not,
I have been witness to the daily practice of directed
shots, one case where a group of wire photogs were
choreographing the unearthing of bodies, directing
emergency workers here and there, asking them to
position bodies just so, even remove bodies that have
already been put in graves so that they can photograph
them in peoples arms. These photographers have come
away with powerful shots, that required no
manipulation digitally, but instead, manipulation on a
human level, and this itself is a bigger ethical
Whatever the case is lack of training, a personal
drive as a photographer to show what is happening to
your country in as powerful a way as possible, or all
out competitiveness, I think that the onus is on the
wire services themselves, because they act as the
employer/filter of their photogs work. Standards
should be in place or else the rest of us end up
paying the price. And I'm not against the idea of
local wire photographers, but after seeing it over and
over for the past month, I think it is something that
is worth addressing. While I walk away from a
situation like that, one wire shooter sets up a
situation, and the rest of them follow..."
He can read and respond to Mr. Denton here at a place
where professional International news photographers
Perhaps while he's at it he would also be kind enough
to explain this evidence gathered by British
journalist Richard D. North, one of the founding
writers of The Independent and later writer for the
Sunday Times, and currently media fellow at the
Institute of Economic Affairs in London:
The days of monopoly control over information are
Ace of Spades concurs:
The whole MSM has some explaining to do. But they will do no explaining, and ask no questions, and embargo the story, because they cannot admit that they have cut foreign budgets to such a degree [that] they now rely almost entirely on local stringers of questionable objectivity and integrity for the bulk of their foreign reportage.
Check this out.
'Burning Garbage' That about sums it up.If you can't find enough to photograph in the middle of a war without fakery then you should be cleaning the 'Heads' for a living.
Me ..35 years as a press photographer from drum wire machines a small blacked out tent and some very smelly liquids to Digi Nikons, Photoshop and Applemac.
An excellent letter! I look forward to hearing the response. (But I won't hold my breath.)
LOL, it's a contest - about who's going to get 'who' first in that graphic!!
The disturbing make believe photos from this disturbing make believe event are shown below. Dont allow children under the age of 30 to view this horror caused by Israel. Of course, this is Bush's fault.
No Problem! Here comes your Bomb!
one of my FAVORITE monkey pictures. the MSM keeps the beat...
This is an incredible site: http://greenhelmetguy.blogspot.com/
Thank you very much! It wouldn't have happened without Freepers.