January 6, 2007

Media Matters In the Meme Streets of Baghdad - B

Hatched by Dafydd

Continued from previous post...

You put your left foot in...

If the mainstream media has no agenda, and their misreporting can solely be blamed upon the fog of war, we should see the mistakes benefiting the both sides equally; half the time, they should wrongly report a great American victory that turns out not to be so great after all. I now pause for readers to wrack their memories to recall the last time AP, Reuters, CNN, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Herald, the Wall Street Journal, or Media Matters did so.

Go ahead; I'll wait.

Curiously enough, every time a major media source blows a story, they do so by publishing something that advances the message of the "emerging defeat" in Iraq, and that only thing we can do is to manage that inevitable defeat. (Similarly, mistakes on restaurant bills always seem to be in the restaurant’s favor.)

We have never read a headline such as “American troops kills 100 terrorists,” only to find out later that we bombed a simple wedding party. It is always the other way around; the wedding-party meme always comes first, followed by a quiet correction in a little box at the bottom of an inside page.

But let us not call it an MSM conspiracy or say that Boehlert is a part of it; for they are all honorable men, and honorable men would not sling such libelous accusations without rock-solid proof.

Let us instead examine some of the stringers upon whose reports the media (especially AP) rely:

Snuff films on Haifa Street: In December 2004, masked gunmen pulled two Iraqi election workers out of their car in broad daylight and assassinated them. An AP photographer-stringer just happened to be standing a few yards away, snapping pictures of the multiple homicide. The terrorists just happened to let him live. They even let him keep his camera and film. This was fortuitous, since the report earned an AP reporter a Pulitzer Prize.

After initial denials, AP first admitted that the photographer had been tipped off; then at last, they revealed the rest of the dirt on the endless supply of stringers ready and willing to accomodate "[i]nsurgents [who] want their stories told as much as other people." As Power Line's John Hinderaker concluded:

That makes the admission pretty well complete, I think. The AP is using photographers who have relationships with the terrorists; this is for the purpose of helping to tell the terrorists' "stories." The photographers don't have to swear allegiance to the terrorists--gosh, that's reassuring--but they have "family and tribal relations" with them. And they aren't embedded--I'm not sure I believe that--but they don't need to be either, since the terrorists tip them off when they are about to commit an act that they want filmed.

Stringing AP along: In April 2006, Bilal Hussein was taken into US custody as a member of a terrorist group. Hussein had been working as an AP photographer-stringer; he had sent AP a series of pictures taken inside the terrorists’ training camp.

He also snapped a picture of terrorists boldly posing by the body of a murdered Italian journalist. But perhaps Hussein was only tipped-off by, not embedded with, the killers.

PhotoShop phantasies: In August 2006, Reuters had to fire their Lebanese photographer-stringer Adnan Hajj, after his photo-shopped pictures were exposed by some sharp-eyed bloggers.

These are not isolated cases; the major news media have published hundreds of such photographs by Iraqi photographer-stringers, and thousands of stories by Iraqi writer-stringers. The standard media narrative of tens of thousands of dead Iraqis, as well as the entire case for "the emerging defeat" in Iraq (as Eric Boehlert gleefully puts it), is based upon the concatenation of these questionable stories... many of which have all the earmarks of enemy propaganda disseminated via the reliably compliant (and incurious) American and international media.

How can we ever know how much of what we read and see about Iraq is real, how much exaggerated, and how much simply defeatist fabrication? Is Eric Boehlert even curious to know the answer himself? Or does he, like Charles Foster Kane in Orson Welles' magnum opus, believe the people will think what the media tells us to think?

If that is what he believes, and if he is right, then thank heavens they are all honorable men: just imagine what mischief they could concoct were they not!

Believing is seeing

Meet Salam Daher, AKA Abu Shadi Jradi, AKA Abdel Qader, AKA Green Helmet Guy (how many names do Moslem extremists get to use?)

In July 2006, in Qana Lebanon, in the aftermath of an Israeli attack on a rocket-launching site, the photograph of a Lebanese "civil defense worker," his face anguished as he held a dead child in his arms, was plastered across the front pages of newspapers around the globe. Yet there was something odd about the guy, a discordant note. Many bloggers pointed out that he had been photographed throughout the day for hours, ghoulishly holding up the same dead child in various poses.

Green Helmet Guy told reporters conflicting stories about the number of children found dead. And then, Germany's NDR found footage of this guy directing scenes, using the dead body of a child as a prop, toted to the site from storage somewhere. Not only that... Green Helmet Guy had done the exact, same thing 10 years ago:

This is nothing new. In Gaza, Palestinians have been staging battles and coaching witnesses for years. We even have a name for it: Pallywood. Here is an 18 minute video from YouTube, taken during the second intifada from 2000 to 2002:

For the first ten minutes, you will see Palestinians staging various events:

  • A man shoots into a building as if he were defending himself; but the building is actually deserted;
  • Civilians direct soldiers and crowds of "innocent bystanders" (extras) how to act prior to filming a scene;
  • Footage of a funeral march in Jenin, after the "Jenin massacre," where the pallbearers accidentally drop the corpse from a stretcher -- and the dead fellow obligingly hops back aboard.

But the most telling footage starts about the 11th minute: an interview conducted by a Palestinian “reporter” with a new mother and father and with the doctor who had just delivered their baby at the local hospital. (I wonder if the reporter is a stringer for AP?)

On the way to the hospital, the reporter discusses with his staff what kind of story he is looking for: the terrible conditions that Palestinians must endure because of the wicked Israelis. At the hospital, the reporter tells the doctor that the young couple must say that the road was so dangerous, they couldn't get to hospital in time... and the young husband had to deliver the baby all by himself. In fact the doctor had delivered a healthy baby in the hospital few hours earlier.

Chillingly, all three subjects -- father, mother, and doctor -- agree; they give the interview, describing the terrible ordeal that never occurred.

How many times have we heard that eyewitnesses, bystanders, and doctors had all "verified" some calamitous event caused by the Israelis, the Americans, or our Coalition partners in Iraq? Oh, wait, here's one:

For the record, along with Hussein, the AP based its Burned Alive reporting on an account from Imad al-Hashimi, a Sunni elder who told Al-Arabiya television about the killings. (He later recanted his story after being visited by a representative of the defense minister.) The AP also spoke to three independent eyewitnesses (two shopkeepers and a physician) and confirmed the story with hospital and morgue workers.

This is from the very piece by Eric Boehlert that is the subject of this discussion.

Please also notice that the "Sunni elder" recanted... but that this was "after being visited by a representative of the defense minister." Not that Boehlert is implying any threats, intimidation, or torture... he would never do such a thing without a shred of evidence, for Boehlert is an honorable man.

So are they all. All honorable men.

Continued yet again next post...

(Dafydd ab Hugh contributed to this post)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 6, 2007, at the time of 2:45 AM

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» Media Matters In the Meme Streets of Baghdad - iii from Big Lizards
Continued yet again from previous post... The great mosaic Boehlert wags his finger, pointing out that in the same week this "six burnt alive" story came out, hundreds more were killed: Keep in mind that in the seven days surrounding... [Read More]

Tracked on January 6, 2007 2:59 AM

» Corrections from Michelle Malkin
On December 26 and December 27, I linked to a photo publicized by radio talker Scott Hennen and Power Line of Sen. John Kerry in Iraq. Milblogger Ben of Mesopotamia, an Army Captain in Iraq, had posted the photo and... [Read More]

Tracked on January 6, 2007 6:42 PM


The following hissed in response by: Bill Faith

An excerpt from CENTCOM says AP's "Iraqi police source" isn't Iraqi police -- Part 31

Dafydd has an absolutely awesome series up: Media Matters In the Meme Streets of Baghdad - 1, Media Matters In the Meme Streets of Baghdad - B,Media Matters In the Meme Streets of Baghdad - iii. Gotta be honest and admit I simply don't have the attention span to write something like that and if I did I'd do something pedestrian like calling them Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Guess that's why he gets all the traffic.

The above hissed in response by: Bill Faith [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 6, 2007 8:25 AM

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