You Can't Teach (Some) Old Media New Tricks

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:

I think some combination of cynicism, complacency and insulation has stifled the instincts of very good reporters. I also think there is also a failure of leadership at the senior editorial level. The issues raised by the Downing Street minutes are very serious. To pursue them is to invite confrontation. This means that 'beat' reporters cannot realistically pursue the story. I say all this way of explanation, not rationalization. There are several natural follow up stories to the Downing Street memo that we should be pursuing right now....

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:

That question has been definitively answered in the mainstream press. Almost all of the victims belonged to two extended families, the Hashems and the Shalhoubs, who lived in the area, according to the independent accounts of The Washington Post's Anthony Shadid and the Daily Star's Nicholas Blanford.

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.

Whatever.

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:

What happened at Qana was, almost certainly, what happened at Jenin in 2002, what happened on a beach in Gaza a few weeks ago, and what has happened on innumerable other occasions. The Israelis are instantaneously accused and convicted of a monstrous and perhaps intentional act of butchery, by people quite incurious about the facts. Their pathological hatred of "Zionism" is all the proof they need. These are people who seldom bother to shed even crocodile tears when Jews are blown to pieces by suicide bombers, or rockets are fired indiscriminately into their homes; but become tremendously excited when the news breaks that some Israeli retaliation may have gone wrong. [....]

I have no idea what actually happened. But in the absence of a credible investigation, nobody else has, either; and the dramatic media presentation of the story "as told by Hezbollah" must be assigned to the annals of anti—Israeli propaganda, not journalism.

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.

 

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:

I think some combination of cynicism, complacency and insulation has stifled the instincts of very good reporters. I also think there is also a failure of leadership at the senior editorial level. The issues raised by the Downing Street minutes are very serious. To pursue them is to invite confrontation. This means that 'beat' reporters cannot realistically pursue the story. I say all this way of explanation, not rationalization. There are several natural follow up stories to the Downing Street memo that we should be pursuing right now....

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:

That question has been definitively answered in the mainstream press. Almost all of the victims belonged to two extended families, the Hashems and the Shalhoubs, who lived in the area, according to the independent accounts of The Washington Post's Anthony Shadid and the Daily Star's Nicholas Blanford.

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.

Whatever.

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:

What happened at Qana was, almost certainly, what happened at Jenin in 2002, what happened on a beach in Gaza a few weeks ago, and what has happened on innumerable other occasions. The Israelis are instantaneously accused and convicted of a monstrous and perhaps intentional act of butchery, by people quite incurious about the facts. Their pathological hatred of "Zionism" is all the proof they need. These are people who seldom bother to shed even crocodile tears when Jews are blown to pieces by suicide bombers, or rockets are fired indiscriminately into their homes; but become tremendously excited when the news breaks that some Israeli retaliation may have gone wrong. [....]

I have no idea what actually happened. But in the absence of a credible investigation, nobody else has, either; and the dramatic media presentation of the story "as told by Hezbollah" must be assigned to the annals of anti—Israeli propaganda, not journalism.

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.