September 3, 2006

Steyn Exposes More Middle East Fauxtography; Plus, Is the BBC Further Slanting non-English News?

UPDATED BELOW for the actual pic Steyn referred to in writing his column (HT to Steyn’s office for their quick response).

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In yet another “keeper” column, Mark Steyn mentions something I haven’t seen elsewhere, despite great coverage by Allah at Hot Air, My Pet Jawa, LGF (here and here), and several others:

Did you see that video of the two Fox journalists announcing they’d converted to Islam? The larger problem, it seems to me, is that much of the rest of the Western media have also converted to Islam, and there seems to be no way to get them to convert back to journalism.

Consider, for example, the bizarre behavior of Reuters, the once globally respected news agency now reduced to putting out laughably inept terrorist propaganda. A few days ago, it made a big hoo-ha about the Israelis intentionally firing a missile at its press vehicle and wounding its cameraman Fadel Shana. Shana was posed in an artful sprawl in a blood-spattered shirt. But it had ridden up and underneath his undershirt was spotlessly white, like a summer-stock Julius Caesar revealing the boxers under his toga. What’s stunning is not that almost all Western media organizations reporting from the Middle East are reliant on local staff overwhelmingly sympathetic to one side in the conflict — that’s been known for some time — but the amateurish level of fakery that head office is willing to go along with.

I believe this is the picture the Steyn-man is referring to (original BBC story here).

UPDATE, 4:30 PM — The photo below, which is from the AP’s Hatem Moussa, replaces the one from the BBC I had been using as my guess on what Steyn saw (same person, but a much better angle). It was e-mailed to me by Victoria at SteynOnline (intense thanks for the quick response to my inquiry!). She indicates that the photo can be found at this SnappedShot link (about 1/3 of the way down the page) as well as other places:

Oh yeah, that’s one clean, bright, white undershirt. “Amazing” how it has no blood.

In looking for the picture, I stumbled onto what I believe is a significant difference in tone between the English and Spanish coverage of this story by the BBC. Here are the headlines, subheadlines, and first few paras of text in English and translated Spanish. The translation was primarily done at freetranslation.com, but was also reviewed by me for obvious errors and clumsiness (I learned the equivalent of about 4 years of high school Spanish about seven ago). The Spanish report is time-stamped 3-1/2 hours after the English report.

ENGLISH

Israeli rocket hits Reuters car

An Israeli air strike on a car in Gaza City during a security operation has injured a Reuters news agency cameraman and a local journalist.

At least one rocket hit the car as the cameraman was filming, knocking him unconscious, while the second man received serious leg wounds.

The Reuters car was clearly marked all over as a media vehicle.

The Israeli army said the car had not been identified as press and expressed regret that journalists had been hurt.

ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF SPANISH REPORT

Israeli missile wounds journalists

Israeli airplanes launched an attack against a car property of the agency of news Reuters in the Gaza Strip.

Two cameramen got injured, one of them seriously.

The incident occurred in the neighborhood of Shajaiyeh of Gaza, where the journalists filmed an Israeli air raid on adjoining areas.

Al except But a rocket reached the vehicle while the cameramen filmed the action. One of them it remained unconscious while the second received severe injuries in one of the legs.

The Israeli army said that the vehicle was attacked because (it) acted in a suspicious way. Then (it) excused itself for the incident.

I double-checked the last sentence, as it is very troubling:

  • The “Se Excuso´” used to describe Israel’s reaction means “excused itself,” which has nowhere near the same impact as “expressed regret,” which was used in the English article.
  • “Israel expressed regret over the incident” would have been written as “Israel expresó pena sobre el incidente.”
  • “Israel apologized for the incident” would have been written as “Israel se disculpó para el incidente.”

Someone with more expertise in the nuances of Spanish would have to confirm this, but I believe the last sentence is written to inform Spanish readers that Israel reacted inappropriately, or at least wasn’t very sorry.

If I’m correct, perhaps an army of Juans and Juanitas (plus others for other languages) is required to monitor reporting out of the Middle East.

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UPDATE: Dinocrat addresses the big picture of Steyn’s column.

UPDATE 2: Dan Riehl isn’t so sure on the photo. I’ll add this context, which I did not do yesterday in the interest of space.

Part of the reason I didn’t mention for my belief in the staging. earlier this week LGF noted that the Injured Reuters Associate Worked for Iran. His info comes from a JPost piece by Caroline Glick:

Conveniently, the same day the PA released the men who its own forces had kidnapped, Reuters reported that the IDF had shot a missile at its press vehicle and wounded two cameramen – one from Reuters and one from Iranian World TV network – while they were en route to a battle taking place between IDF forces and Palestinian terrorists. Reuters, which is demanding an independent investigation into the attack, is portraying its cameraman Fadel Shada as an embattled hero who would do anything to bring the truth to the world.

Yet it is unclear why anyone should believe either Shana or Reuters. Shana told Reuters that as he was driving to the battle scene, “I suddenly saw fire and the doors of the jeep flew open.” He claims to have been wounded by shrapnel in his hand and leg. These are minor injuries for someone whose vehicle was just hit by a missile.

But then, the photographs taken of his vehicle after the purported missile attack give no indication that the car was hit by anything. There is a gash on the roof. The hood is bent out of shape. But nothing seems to have been burned. Cars hit by missiles do not look like they have just been in a nasty accident. Cars hit by missiles are destroyed.

Yet the glass on the windshield and the windows of Shana’s vehicle isn’t even shattered. In the photographs taken of Shana on the way to the hospital in Gaza, he lies on a stretcher, eyes closed, arm extended in full pieta mode. He is not visibly bleeding although there are some blood stains on his shirt, but then his undershirt is completely white.

UPDATE 3: My Pet Jawa is on it.

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