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The Office Space Bobs Versus The UN | Main | The Gathering Nuclear Storm
August 29, 2006

Debunking The Debunkers

An important post from Allah on the Reuters press van hit by an Israeli missile.

I've had an awful lot of problems with people endeavoring to prove this particular attack was staged or faked or whatnot. My main problem? The Israelis admit firing on the vehicle. It seems to me that an Israel-defender cannot go further in defending Israel than Israel is willing to go. If they say they hit the van-- then, well, they hit the damn van. End of story.

The fact that the sort of damage inflicted on the press van is similar to the damage inflicted on the Lebanese ambulances should not be taken as suggestive of the press-van hit being a fake. It should rather be taken as suggestive that the ambulance-hit stories are more likely to be true, and attempts to debunk them, while well-intentioned and inspired by good questions about the extent of damage inflicted, should be reexamined.

The MSM digs into a storyline or narrative and won't give it up, no matter what conflicting evidence there might be. It's human nature, and it's not suprising bloggers do the same. But still, if bloggers are supposed to be honest brokers more self-aware of the human foibles and biases that infect MSM reportage, we really do need to be more on guard against this.

Does this mean those ambulances were in fact hit by Israeli rockets? No, not necessarily. But when one vehicle we are pretty sure got hit shows similar (lighter than expected) damage, it certainly makes it seem more likely that the ambulances were hit as well. Or, at least, could have been hit. The main objection to to the hit-ambulances stories -- that a missile would have completely destroyed the vehicle, not merely pock-marked it with superficial damage and a dented roof -- seems to be a bit weak at this point.

The day after Reutersgate broke I advised a let's-settle-down a bit approach to all of this. Media criticism is all well and good, but the memes and narratives of media criticsim must not be allowed to become as entrenched as those favored by the MSM itself. Otherwise we're just an anti-media, no different than they are, just, as the man says, on the other side.

Clarification: I did not mean to state as a fact that the ambulances were hit. I haven't been following that story very much; I just skim and link. I do not know the full extent of the evidence.

My point is this: That if someone is convinced that an ambulance was not hit, and it shows the same sort of damage as the press van, the conclusion reached fairly quickly seems to be ergo, the press-van hit was faked-up as well.

That conclusion is strongly undermined by the Israelis' statement that they hit the van. If they did not fire on a vehicle that night, they would know it, and they would say so. They would not admit to error when a simple check of where their helicopters were would show there were no attack copters firing missiles at vans at that time.

As for the possibility a vehicle was hit, but not the vehicle later shown in photographs: Well, anything's possible. Uncle Jefe says he saw the news that night and thinks the vehicle looked different in early footage than in later footage. I didn't see it, so I don't know. If someone has early footage and can show the vehicle is different than the one depicted in later photos, well, that's damn good evidence. But no one to my knowlege has done so yet and for me, personally, it's a bridge too far to speculate about such a possibility without ever myself taken note of a discrepancy in the photos of the vehicle.

I've thought there's been way too many premature calls of "fake" for a while, and I've said so. But the Drudge-hyped "disappearing mic cord" shot has made me a much stronger skeptic than I had been (and I was on the skeptical side of the dextrosphere before).

The Drudge thing was just embarrassing for us MSM critics. I don't know the genesis of that, but it seems to me to demonstrate the great peril of making quick judgments without the necessary expertise to back them up.

I have no idea if the photographer's explanation posted at Hot Air makes sense. I do know for a steel-clad fact that I do not have the expertise required to question his claim. I know his explanation sounds plausible. If an art authenticator tells me a painting is fake because the paint uses titanium which wasn't used in paints until the 1950's (let's say), how do I tell him he's wrong? I sure don't know.

I am not saying the ambulances were hit by Israeli missiles as charged. I am saying that in the present case we seem to have a confirmed hit showing similar damage -- caved-in roof, pockmark damage as if inflicted by shrapnel, no heavy scorching, no total vehicle kill -- it should at least make one reconsider if those ambulances were the result of Hezbollywood fakery.

Assuming the press van was not swapped out with another vehicle, it seems like similar damage was inflicted.

Again, that's to my eyes, the eyes as confirmed a non-expert as you could run into. But then most of the claims of fakery also come from non-experts as well.

It can't be the case that every, most, or even a substantial fraction of these incidents are faked. It's just too big a job, too big a conspiracy. In war, the wrong targets get hit all the time. Including in Iraq.

Just because Hezbollah and Reuters have been caught lying does not mean that every report of an errant Israeli strike is a lie.

digg this
posted by Ace at 01:23 PM

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