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August 02, 2006

Israel Hates Big Wheels

They seem to be targeting kids' plastic play tricycles an awful lot lately.

Maybe their radar profile looks a lot like a rocket launcher's.

Or maybe they're just very popular.

Or maybe they're being posed in pictures for propagandistic effect.

One of the Big Wheels Bombing photographers just happens to be one of the photographers accused of complicity in staging, or dramatizing, corpse recovery pics from the Qana strike.

Again, it's not so much that I doubt that civilian structures get hit, along with children's toys. And children as well.

It's that I doubt the ethics of the not-at-all-disinterested-parties serving as stringer reporters and photographers, and I really don't believe that some abstract code of neutrality is going to sop them from "sweetiening" photos for both sale value and propagandistic dramatic impact.

No, I don't believe stringers are going around with Big Wheels tucked under their arms to plant at bomb sites. But a tricycle might be moved from an undamaged room into a damaged one to get the Sweet Shot, and a tricylce buried under rubble might be dug up and then made to stand on its own to get the Killer Pic.

American codes of journalism forbid such staging/sweetening of photos. You can't change the scene being photographed to make it more compelling, nor can you connive with others to have them do the sweetening for you.

Apparently American media organizations aren't particularly interested in how foreign stringers keep getting these poignant constrasts of the innocence of childhood and the grimness of war over and over again.

I guess they're just lucky or something.

The American media is setting itself up for a massive scandal. One day, it will in fact come out that they are guilty of willful blindness and a deliberate avoidance of asking their stringers tough questions to maintain their own plausible deniability.

And they'll have to answer some hard questions, such as, "If you're so vigilant against being 'used' by the American government for its 'propaganda,' why are you so blithely nonchalant about being worse-used by America's enemies?"

Many of Steven Glass' colleagues looked back and wondered how they'd been fooled by his fabrications for so long. Apart from the outlandishness of some of his stories, he also had an uncanny knack for getting the Killer Quote that tied together a piece or summed it up in one pithy, bullet-point sentence. We should have known no one gets that lucky so consistently, they said later.

The American media seems to be an employing a possible Army of Steven Glasses, and yet they're more than willing to pretend they don't know what's going on so long as those suspiciously-dramatic front-page pictures keep coming back from the foreign stringers.


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posted by Ace at 04:23 PM

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