The controversy this week over Reuters' distribution of digitally manipulated, falsely labeled and probably staged photos of the fighting in Lebanon hasn't been nearly as large as it should have been.
Johnson is co-founder with mystery novelist and screenwriter Roger L. Simon of another online site, www.pajamasmedia.com. It aggregates mostly right wing blogs from around the world and has ambitions as a politically inflected alternative news source. It's worth taking the time to go there and to click on the link giddily labeled "Reutersgate." Make what you will of the analysis, much of which is feverish, sneering and tending toward the mechanistically conspiratorial. What's hard to imagine is how anybody can look at the photos and not conclude that they're riddled with journalistic deceit.
Personal note: One must use logic to understand the world. During Hurricane Katrina the press reported that people in New Orleans were shooting at rescue helicopters, because of these reports the Red Cross was not allowed into New Orleans and the tragedy the press created unfolded. At the time these reports were coming out I told my wife that they are not true. How could I sitting on my ass in NYC know that. By using logic. The report was people are firing at helicopters, but not one was hit. But lets use a little logic, lets assume someone saw a helicopter and also heard a gun shoot go off. Is it more likely that #1 people in need of help were trying to shoot down a helicopter or more likely they were trying to bring attention to themselves so they could be rescued. There is also the possibility that people on ground we fighting to get to helicopter but shooting at the helicopter, who benefits except the press who gets to tell a dramatic story.
The Reuters Photo Scandal : A Taxonomy of Fraud : A comprehensive overview of the four types of photo fraud committed by Reuters, August, 2006
The #1 thing you must learn to do is separate facts from supposition. Anytime a reporter tells you why something is happening they are supposing. #2 the uncertainty principle states that the observer changes the observed, this is a fact. In the current conflict you hear story after story saying that everyone loves Hezbollah because they provide social services and are part of the community. Does that story make sense? Do people in gang ridden inner city love the gangs that run the areas, of course not, but they don't get in their way and they treat them with respect because doing anything else would be stupid. And they surely wont get themselves in the paper saying that they think the gang is a bunch of thugs. Think, why would a family stay in a building with rocket launchers? because they love Hezbollah or because they would rather take the chance of being killed my Israeli rockets than the certainty of being killed by Hezbollah thugs.
We have freedom of press in America and I wouldn't have it any other way. But what they report is NOT the truth. It can't be because their existence changes the story. news reporters tell stories, they do not report truth, learn to understand the difference.