Monday, August 27, 2007

Helping Out the AFP

What was Agence France-Presse (AFP) thinking? Well, maybe they weren't! AFP ran a picture on August 14, 2007 of an old Iraqi woman holding two bullets that supposedly hit her house. The only problem was- said bullets were in fact unfired cartridges! In the wake of this embarrassing incident, two theories regarding the AFP's story have emerged. The more generous-minded posit that it was a simple mistake. Those of us who possess slightly more cynicism suspect nefarious motives- such as a deliberate attempt by an al-Quaeda-sympathetic photographer to plant a false story.

The Dissident Frogman has determined that the cause must be crass ignorance, for as he says, "I simply do not believe these people could release such a screaming obvious mendacity to a worldwide audience, and hope they could get away with it." He has therefore put together a small (and utterly hilarious) video which purports to instruct the AFP personnel responsible both on the difference between cartridges and bullets and on publishing real news versus false propaganda. But the worst aspect of the entire affair is in the press' ignorance. As Dissident Frogman writes on his blog,
This is where the real shocker lies: for even if we assume that they could be honest and unbiased, if these Great Professionals™ who make their trade and pride of reporting on worldwide crises — that are bound to involve, more often than not, individual weaponry of various make and caliber — can't even tell the difference between a bullet and a cartridge, can you just imagine what else — and how much — they ignore?

We can live with a dishonest press — as long as we know it — but ignorance from those who pretend to inform us?

Ignorance indeed. As this has been well-exposed, I shall not linger on it, but it is worthwhile to think on the supposed expertise of the worldwide press. i have wondered if the ignorance that seems to affect so many so-called professional reporters is due to their reliance on technology for their infromation, and the loss of the individual expertise that many reporters used to have regarding their subjects. It is illuminating, however, that the tory was apparently designed to insinuate that it was US or Coalition forces who fired on the old woman's house. Would we ever see a report where al-Quaeda or 'insurgent' forces were actually portrayed as the villains? We're waiting...

Hat tip to Blue Star Chronicles via NewsBusters.

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