Saturday, August 12, 2006

When In Doubt, Blame Israel

Little Green Footballs has more captioning errors coming out of major media, and, big surprise, Israel takes the hit again. This time it's the Associated Press who needed to check their facts before going to print. The AP caption for a photo that ran Wednesday, August 9th, initially stated that a dead little girl was killed by Israeli bombs, when really she fell out of a swing. Now, I grant you, she fell soon before an actual bombing run, and there was doubtless a lot of confusion at the hospital where the picture was taken, but for heaven's sake, make sure you're right before casting blame. Just because you have a sympathetic picture of a dead child, and a war going on, does not make the two automatically related. The AP eventually corrected their error, but, as LGF points out, "...the damage, of course, is already done—and you can bet the photos will soon show up in anti-Israel demonstrations." Interesting to note that Reuters had their own photo of the dead child, with a similarly inaccurate caption.

I read a post, or comment, somewhere today (I'm sorry, I can't remember where to give credit or a link), that made a very good point about media bias. The comment addressed the issue of whether all these doctored photos and inaccurate captions (and bloggers are finding more and more examples) show evidence of media bias, or merely inadequate editing. The point the commenter drove home was that if it's the case that editors and photographers are merely sloppy, not biased, where are all the photos and captions "inadvertently" slanted the other way? Where are all the pictures that falsely magnify damage from Hezbollah's rockets, and captions that claim Israeli children injured in tree-climbing accidents were actually bombed by the Lebanese militia? Hezbollah has been shooting missiles at Israel for over a month, striking farther and farther south; surely, if the inaccuracy cuts both ways there should be plenty of examples of bad captions and "Shoppery," that make Israel look more sympathetic, gracing the pages and websites of major media. If you find any, let me know. I'd really like to see if this cuts both ways. I can't say that I expect anybody to have much success in hunting down instances of pro-Israeli fudging from major news outlets. I doubt the train goes to that station very often.