August 9, 2006

The Israel-Hizbullah war has already been called the “most blogged war in history.” Now it may turn out that media coverage (some would say “manipulation”) of the conflict’s images is among the most blogged, as
well.

Today, Israel’s Ynetnews summarized the many photographic controversies that have arisen from this conflict. (Disclosure: I am founding editor of Ynetnews cited above. I don’t work there any more, but I write an opinion column for it.)

Bloggers have been scrutinizing wire and MSM photographs are taking on the major media — and scoring points.

For example, Reuters withdrew photographs from a Lebanon-based photographer after discerning the images may have been manipulated to show more smoke and damage from Israeli bombing in Beirut than actually occurred.

Also, the New York Times issued a correction after bloggers noticed that a man reported as being dead was seen walking and gesturing in other photographs.

The bloggers on this case are primarily conservative and pro-Israel, and they draw the conclusion that the media are out to get Israel. Whether or not that is the case, there seem to be a surprising number of manipulated images, either from photographers or others staging scenes for photographers in an effort to form or influence political positions.

So far, we haven’t seen any cases of bloggers and media accusing Israel of doctoring images to its benefit. Has anyone?

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Alan Abbey is a veteran journalist who has moved into developing and managing the website of a major Jewish educational institution and think tank in…
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