Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Reuters "Disarms" "Activists" in Cropped Photos of Attack on Israeli Commandos

Those who think the prior two posts were exaggerating media bias might want to read this story from Haaretz. When Reuters published a photo taken by a Mavi Mamara "activist" of an attack on an Israeli commando who had boarded the ship, the news agency conveniently cropped out a knife in the hand of one of the "activists" and a pool of blood. Here is the first photo:


And here is the uncropped version:


Reuters of course claimed the cropping was inadvertent. Haaretz reports the Reuters statement:
Reuters on Monday rejected accusations of biased coverage, adding that it had reverted to the use of "the original set" of images, once the organization realized that the photographs it had published had been cropped.

A Reuters spokesman told Haaretz: "Reuters is committed to an accurate and impartial reporting. All images that pass over our wire follow a strict editorial evaluation and selection process.

"The images in question were made available in Istanbul in following normal editorial practice were prepared for dissemination which included cropping at the edges. When we realized that the dagger was inadvertently cropped from the images Reuters immediately moved to the original set as well.”

The credibility of that response was undermined by a second instance of the exact same type of cropping, this one also "disarming" an "activist" attacker of his knife in photos of a different wounded commando:



Reuters' claims of innocence also lose credibility because the photos with the knives and blood showing are more dramatic and compelling and therefore obviously have greater newsworthiness, assuming one is trying to report a story instead of covering it up. Indeed, it is possible to misinterpret the cropped photos as showing the activists coming to the aid of the wounded commandos, and one may speculate that this was the intention of the editing.

The Haaretz story also reminds us of the record of Reuters in the 2006 Lebanon war, when attentive bloggers compelled Reuters to admit it had used a computer graphics program to alter an image of destruction in Beirut caused by the Israeli bombing campaign.

Of course, apologists for the "activists" will argue that they wielded their knives and clubs in self-defense, to protect themselves from the attacking Israeli commandos. However, no one was injured by the Israeli commandos who boarded the other five boats in the flotilla, whose passengers did not violently resist the boarding. Similarly, a few days later, no one was hurt when the Irish blockade runner, the Rachel Corrie, was boarded without resistance and forced to land in an Israeli port for inspection. Indeed, Israel has offered to forward all non-contraband shipments of humanitarian aid into Gaza by truck if the shippers will land in Israel and submit to inspection of their cargo.

But, of course, humanitarian aid was never the true objective of the Islamist organizers of the "Peace Flotillas." Rather, they are trying to break the Israeli blockade in order to open Gaza to shipments of rockets, grenades and other weapons, in order to build Gaza into as great a threat to Israeli security as South Lebanon, where Hezbollah has re-armed in open violation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 war. Those who call on Israel to end the blockade should ask themselves why Israel should trust that the international community will exert any greater effort to keep Gaza from effectively becoming an Islamist military base than it has done in Southern Lebanon. Those who defend the flotilla and attack Israel's blockade, such as Peter Beinart and Andrew Sullivan, are the Islamists' useful idiots.

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