Keeping the big boys honest

By DAVID SHAMAH
August 16, 2006 08:19

The Reuters photo scandal was detected and publicized by the people behind the Little Green Footballs blog.

4 minute read.



Keeping the big boys honest

doctored photo 88. (photo credit: )

Good old Reuters - you can always count on them to make an otherwise simple situation complicated. To paraphrase President Reagan, bless his soul, "there they go again." This time, the vaunted news agency put its foot in it not once, but twice, when the agency admitted on two consecutive days last week that it had distributed doctored photos of Israel's military activities in Lebanon. In one "funny photo," the Reuters freelance photographer, who apparently has a long history of supporting radical Islamist causes (http://tinyurl.com/hou3j), decided to dramatize an IDF air strike on Beirut by expanding and blackening plumes of smoke over the city - attempting to prove, I guess, that heavier and more intensive shelling of the city took place than actually occurred (http://tinyurl.com/qda93). Only one problem: this fellow may have been a passable photographer and a master propagandist, but he was a rank amateur at Photoshop, apparently a little too attached to the program's Clone tool. Word got out and complaints were made - and a day later Reuters pulled the doctored picture and replaced it with the original, suspending photographer Adnan Hajj. But not before the agency released a second phony Hajj photo (http://tinyurl.com/ndky4) - which it was also forced to pull. Now Hajj is out of a job, with Reuters at least (although I did see his handiwork still available on at least one other major photo wire service). Once again, credit for this major scoop went not to the traditional press, but to the "Blogosphere," where dozens of pro-Israel amateur (and professional) opinion-makers, businesspeople, students, housewives, and just plain folks, Jewish and Gentile, who feel Israel is not getting a fair shake, post information and ideas about the difficult situation this country faces, minus the anti-Israel animus you get with some of the "old gray ladies" of the press. The Reuters photo scandal was detected and publicized by the people behind the Little Green Footballs blog (http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/). Word got out fast, because LGF has tens of thousands of readers, more than many daily newspapers. A part of the "new media," which also includes talk radio and newsgroups, politically oriented blogs have been responsible for several other political coups and investigations, both liberal (http://tinyurl.com/gzrl3) or conservative (http://tinyurl.com/ndj33). Nowadays, blogs are the place to be when it comes to political action and involvement - especially for those who support Israel. We're all too painfully aware of the hatchet job the traditional media does on Israel (for those who are not aware, check out http://www.camera.org/). Let's face it: the Posts and Times and Examiners of the world are probably never going to understand where we're coming from, and blogs can fill an important void when it comes to positive, or at least truthful, news about Israel. So, where do you find appropriate blogs you'd want to read? How do you track down blogs that will give you the whole story about things like the Reuters photo scandal? Well, word of mouth is one way: If you didn't know about Little Green Footballs before, you do now. But there are hundreds, if not thousands, of other blogs out there about Israel, not to mention the tens of thousands of blogs on all sorts of other topics you might be interested in. You could spend hours, nay days, just surfing the Net or checking out the blogosphere at sites like http://www.blogger.com in a search for the blog that's just right for you. Or you could just surf to the free Bloglines service, (http://www.bloglines.com ). Bloglines is a free on-line blog search/aggregator that will help make sure you don't miss a thing in the world of blogs. Bloglines takes advantage of one of the most useful features of major blogging services - RSS feeds. RSS (Really Simple Syndication) delivers to your desktop the latest post, information, article, comment or whatever from sites you subscribe to. Generally, you need a dedicated application to subscribe to RSS feeds and get updates of your chosen sites, but RSS updating is built into current editions of the Firefox browser, and will be a feature of version 7 of Internet Explorer (already available in a beta version). Bloglines, however, is a Web site, so all you have to do is surf to the site to see your subscriptions - there's nothing to download or install. According to Bloglines, the site searches and indexes over 80 million (!) blog articles at any specific time. Basically, you just sign up and search for blogs, subscribe to them, and then log into your personal blog home page to read the latest entries. You can also get an alert sent to you indicating when a new entry to one of your subscribed blogs arrives. One of the charms of blogs (and the reason the hot information in them spreads so fast) is e-mailing your finds to friends, and Bloglines provides you with an e-mail account from within your home page to send blog "clippings" out with (besides saving time, it cuts down on traffic through your mailbox). You can save your favorite blog entries as clippings as well - and Bloglines even lets you create a blog out of your favorite blogs, which you can place on a site or send to friends as a single RSS feed as well! Blogs are definitely a political force to be contended with - and with Bloglines, you can dive right into the fray headfirst. Ds@newzgeek.com


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