September 05, 2006

Who do you trust?

The photo on the left is a picture of an Israeli warship being destroyed by a Hezbollah missile last summer, according to the Hezbollah website. The photo on the right is of the intentional destruction of a decommissioned Australian destroyer in 1998. Look closely - they are the same picture.

As has been widely reported, Reuters has had a challenging time with photo journalistic integrity during the recent Israeli- Lebanon war. Specifically, they have been accused of publishing photos that:
  1. are inaccurate depictions of reality - doctored in some way, or outright fabrications
  2. have misleading captions that don't accurately describe the photo - claiming the image was of one thing, when it was not
  3. were staged photo opportunities
Not to be left out by Middle Eastern and European media, our own CBS got into the act last week.

The photo on the left was taken of Katie Couric in May, and is the official CBS photo of their new anchor. The picture on the right, clearly photoshopped, was released on August 29th as part of CBS's fall 2006 Watch Magazine. Note her waist and her jowls in particular.

Last week I descried the lackadaisical attitude towards the truth in our mainstream media outlets. It's been clear for some time that not only can we not count on the MSM to hold people accountable for the fraud they perpetrate, but more and more we're discovering that the latest frauds are brought to us by the MSM themselves.

Is this some conspiracy or plot? Of course not - it's aggressive propaganda or an over-zealous intern in a photo department. In either event there is a clear lack of integrity in the process, however. There is little or no commitment to the truth, to what's so, to accuracy in reporting. Fewer and fewer resources are being spent on confirming the veracity of what is broadcast and published, while more and more content is being consumed by a voracious public.

Be conscious of where you get your news from - the days of the neutral reporter are done. The days of a picture being worth a thousand words are over. Be it shoddy work or intentional fraud, we cannot take the authenticity of what we view for granted -- if we ever could.

As Ronald Reagan said, "Trust, but verify."

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