November 14, 2006

Time Magazine Complicit In Fauxtography Scandal

Heads should roll.

Early on in the Lebanon war, there was a photograph published by both U.S. News and World Report and Time Magazine, which according to captions published with the picture was of a burning Israeli jet, shot down by Hezbullah missiles. The blogosphere was quick to call B.S. on the photo, and the widely-circulated story was that the photograph was actually that of a tire dump.

Well, it seems that the photographer responsible for taking the photograph, Bruno Stevens, has finally sounded off on Lightstalkers, explaining the photograph and telling the true story of how things ended up the way they did. He also notes that the site was not a tire dump, but was rather an old Lebanese Army base that had either been hit by an Israeli jet, or by a misfired Hezbullah rocket (both possibilites he appears to have recounted in his original captions). The key point that Bruno makes is that, while he sent in a fairly balanced caption to accompany the photograph, the wire services rewrote the caption completely, changing the pertinent facts surrounding the story. Where have we heard that before?

As Ace notes in his post on the subject:

That makes three representations thusfar by Time:

1) Hezbollah did not score a huge victory by shooting down an IAF jet.

2) The target was clearly legitimate.

3) Not only was this a legitimate Hezbollah target, it was parked on a Lebanese Army base, demonstrating cooperation between the Lebanese Government -- depicted as an innocent and abused third-party to this conflict by the media.

To compound the magazine's duplicity, Time refused to run a different picture that showed a Hezbollah rocket launcher disguised as a civilian truck on a Lebanese Army base.

To put it mildly, Time editors mislead their readers, and while I'm not a lawyer, this journalistic malpractice would certainly seem to meet at least a layman's understanding of fraud, if not something worse.

Why would Time do something so risky, so dishonest, so stupid?

As I wrote back in August, follow the money:

Story after story, photo after photo, dead and distraught Lebanese civilians clog the mediastream, building a false, grim montage of a war in which primarily Israeli soldiers and Lebanese civilians die.

This is not the whole truth of this war, but a partial truth developed through complacency and an apparent willful disregard to report the facts on the ground. Instead of seeking and publishing the entire truth, newsrooms have decided that they will publish the stories and images framed by foreign, mostly Arab Muslim reporters, even though their own cultural interests in these events are a clear and undeniable conflict of interest precluding even a pretense of unbiased reporting.

This is beyond bias, it is a reckless and willful disregard for reporting the whole truth in favor of reporting "news" that is easier to sell in a larger world media market. The casualty statistics are there, but the media sticks to the narrative they have helped create because while honest reporting is a goal, the business of the media business is business.

If it "bleeds it leads," but only if what leads sells advertising. News consumers around the world consume the news that more closely matches their perceptions of how reality should be, and stories critical of Hezbollah, stories that show their failures and deaths, don't sell in world population featuring 1.3 billion Muslims that hope for Israel's demise, or at the very best are indifferent to their fate. It is anti-Semitism by cashflow, a pocketbook jihad that buys the media's silence.

And yet, the photographer cannot be blamed here; it was the Time photo editors that made the willful decision to run a dishonest caption at odds with the description provided by the photographer, while suppressing another photo that shows apparent collusion between the Lebanese Army and Hezbollah.

This goes well beyond a mistake. Time has made the willful decision to slant, cover, and conceal news on behalf of a terrorist organization.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at November 14, 2006 04:12 PM | TrackBack

If it was only about money, it would still be wholly indefensible, unethical, amoral...but American media news outlets, who have a de facto public trust in their hands...would at least be simply greedy when misleading, defrauding and slanting the news against America, her allies (especially Israel) Jews and Christians, conservatives, Republicans and anyone who doesn't agree with their far leftist agenda.

However, it is now impossible to accept that their aim isn't far more nefarious. Is Evan Thomas related to Norman Thomas? Are they now acting as the frontline for propagandizing against America, her allies (especially Israel) and actively engaging in the intentional weakening of our form of government?

It's a serious question that nobody wants to raise for fear of being marginalized. It won't gain traction, because there is no political party strong enough to seriously investigate it.

And it will eventually be our downfall.

Posted by: cf bleachers at November 14, 2006 05:24 PM

It just moved another mag to the check out line. Now everyone should know there is less truth in Time than most supermarket tabloids.

Posted by: Scrapiron at November 14, 2006 05:47 PM

Man, where is all the accountability that my mom worked so hard to terrify me with? Turns out I was right, I CAN do whatever I want! Who knew?

Posted by: The Fastest Squirrel at November 14, 2006 05:59 PM

Time needs to carry a Surgeon General's warning that reading it might make you a retard.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at November 14, 2006 07:08 PM

That's pretty bad. It's almost as egregious as the U.S. military planting pro-American propaganda in Iraqi newspapers and trying to pass it off as the work of authentic Iraqi journalists.

Posted by: Arbotreeist at November 14, 2006 09:38 PM

Time's not even subtle about their bias anymore. When checking out at Walgreens I noticed they had a special Time biased Middle East magazine with intro by Jimmy Carter, who just yesterday released an anti-Israel book with blatantly biased and inflammatory title Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid."

Posted by: Cindy at November 15, 2006 02:18 PM

It's almost as egregious as the U.S. military planting pro-American propaganda in Iraqi newspapers

Of course you can show how those paid for stories were in fact false right?

What? I didn't think so...because nobody ever accused them of being false, only paid for.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at November 16, 2006 12:28 AM

What? I didn't think so...because nobody ever accused them of being false, only paid for.

Kinda like Republican leaders.

Posted by: Arbotreeist at November 16, 2006 09:31 PM