the Vernon Journal

Serving the Kingdom in Southeast Asia

Accountability from the People

I have been frustrated by News coverage from the United States. CNN has become absurdly liberal while FoxNEWS has responded with equally unbalanced conservative bias. I have found that local news is often the best source for actual news, but it's hard to get local coverage from everywhere in the world. That's why organizations such as the Associated Press and Reuters exist.

If I thought we had problems in the U.S. - I'm shocked by news sources around the world. Currently I get my news through an RSS feed which combines dozens of world news sources. I am often sickened by the direction that the world is going... so quick to shout out injustices but unwilling to get their hands dirty actually helping people.

The point of this post, however, is that the people of the world are gaining the voice to combat the propaganda that news sources, governments and, yes, even Google (so much for 'don't be evil') throw our way. This voice is rising from the world of blogs, or blogosphere. No longer just for radicals, tech people and anti-whatever sites (though many of these do still exist), legitimate news and accountability sources are growing throughout the Blogosphere.

The most notable recent case, which has been dubbed Reutersgate, is regarding the current war between Israel and the Hezbolah. The good folk at Little Green Footballs have uncovered doctored photographs by a "news photographer" which were falsified to invoke sympathy for the Labanese in this war.

Now, we have all seen various photographs by email accompanied with the thrilling tale of "how lucky I was that my kids were distracted by the friendly neighborhood polar bear rather than playing in the park behind my home when terrorists blew up the gas line... send this to 10 friends and you will have good luck too"
These images are generally harmless, even entertaining, but when photographs doctored by a Reuters journalist are being sold as real world news a dangerous line has been crossed, and there must be a standard of accountability.

This is where the Blogosphere has responded, and since the Little Green Footballs discovery there has been a real fallout throughout the press regarding this war. According to Sherra Claire Frenkel of the Jerusalem Post:

Photographs whose veracity has been questioned by blogs in the past few weeks since Reutersgate began include:

  • Two pictures used by The Associated Press and Reuters, in which the same woman appeared to be crying over the destruction of her Beirut home. Distinguished by a red-checkered scarf and scar on her right cheek, the woman was pictured crying in front of two different locations two weeks apart.
  • Several photographs of a bombed bridge in Beirut which appear on Reuters and AFP with the different captions stating that the bridge had been bombed on July 18, July 24 and August 5. Bloggers claim that the striking image was photographed to look like several different bombings in order to make destruction in Beirut appear more severe.
  • In The New York Times photo essay "Attack on Tyre," a photograph of a man who appears dead is accompanied with the caption reading "bodies were still buried under the rubble." However, in a later photograph in the same series, the same man appears to be walking in the foreground of a photo. The Times issued a correction for the first photograph, stating that the man was injured.
  • We can only hope that scrutiny like this will push press coverage further into journalistic integrity, reporting the news and not creating it.


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