August 3, 2006
You Can't Teach (Some) Old Media New TricksBy Thomas Lifson
Jefferson Morley writes about the international online media for the Washington Post. He is sneering at conservative websites which dared to raise questions about the troubling inconsistencies in reports, and some very curious photographs that seem, well, posed to extract maximum outrage over the deaths of children in Qana. He throws around the phrase 'conspiracy theory' and invokes a comparison to the 9/11—as—inside job theorists.
Sneering at conservatives would seem to come naturally to someone who has written for The American Prospect and The Nation. Self—identification as a liberal or leftist does not seem to come so easily, of course. He's just identified as a staff writer for the Washington Post, so we can be certain he has no biases whatsoever.
Of course, Morley doesn't always pooh—pooh the raising of questions about press reports. For example, here's an ironic comment he made when he was pushing the Downing St Memo which was bandied about as evidence of Bush and Blair perfidy on the invasion of Iraq:
But that was then, this is now, and it was leftists who were demanding that questions be raised.
In his attempt at debunking the questions being raised about Qana, he doesn't bother actually examining the evidence. Here's as close as he comes:
In the universe of the old media, that settles it. If the MSM reported it, then it is true. Just ask Dan Rather.
Of course, Morley evidences a shocking indifference to inconveient inconsistencies, claiming that 'at least 57 Lebanese civilians' died, well after the figure has been revised downward. Even the very WaPo report he cites and links to as authoritative uses the revised total of 27 dead, though the Daily Star, under the thumb of Hezbollah, says at least 60.
Move on. No story here. What are you? Some kind of conspiracy nut?
But the fact remains that when the vaunted mainstream press publishes conflicting stories which are of great propaganda value to one side in a conflict, the smart thing to do is to raise questions.
Sigh. It is all so familiar. Recall that the New York Times ran a photograph that had to be staged making US forces look bad. Finally, after this was conclusively proven, it eventually airily dismissed the photo fakery as a mere captioning error and blamed the news agency supplyingthe photo.
The fact is that there is a long and dishonorable tradition of staging photographs in the Middle East to make Israel look bad. Israeli drones captured pictures of a phony funeral procession undone when the man pretending to be a corpse kept falling off the stretcher and getting back in. Follow the link and watch the video if you need a laugh.
As for the willingness of mainstream media to play along, at least Nick Robertson of CNN had the good grace to admit that he played along giving an uncritical forum for the terrorist group Hezbollah to spout unverifiable anti—Israeli propaganda.
The well—document phenomenon of 'Pallywood' wherein Palestinians stage fake events is now being joined by 'Hezbollywood.' But on Planet Morley one would have to be a wingnut to doubt the version put forth by drive—by media reports produced under the thimb of the bloodthirsty liars of Hezbollah.
Some members of the print media are not quite as trusting of Hezbollah as Morley. David Waren of the Ottawa Citizen wrote:
The wesbites at which Morley sneers continue to investigate, uncovering further inconsistencies, while answering earlier questions. Sadly, the readers of the Washington Post are left with the kind of ignorance George Orwell called bliss.
Hat tips: Clarice Feldman and Richard Baehr
Update: The Real Ugly American offers further analysis; Israel Insider identifies "green helment man" who posed in different positions with children's bodies as the driver of the refrigerated morgue truck brought to the scene, raising questions about whether there might have been a delivery of corpses in addition to a pick—up; Canada Free Press recalls how Kuwait manufactured the "incubator babies" story with pictures that "fooled the world" during Iraq's invation of Kuwait; and Arutz Sheva writes that evidence mounts that the ;assacre was a fake.