Fauxtography courses available on the web!

–brought to you by the Dan Rather Institute in Old Media Studies.

Following up on Ed’s post below, YNetnews, an Israeli site, takes the BBC to task on its imbalanced, disproportionate coverage of the war between the IDF and Hezbollah. With the Beeb, it’s a glaring example.

A BBC photo display entitled “In pictures: Conflict impact,” made up of eight images, uses six out of eight pictures to illustrate damages in Lebanon , but pays scant attention to the human toll and large-scale damage sustained in northern Israel.

The photographs show images of Lebanese civilians and bombed out buildings and Beirut, and carry captions such as: “A woman in Beirut cries amid the destruction.”

After the BBC says fighting is hampering aid deliveries in southern Lebanon, an image of an Israeli soldier praying is shown, covering his ears while an IDF canon goes off in the background. “But ground clashes in the area continue unabated,” the BBC wrote, suggesting through the image that the Israel bore most of the responsible for clashes. There are no photographs of Hizbullah rockets, or Hizbullah members firing rockets at Israel in the series.

Only the seventh photograph in the succession shows an image of an Israeli woman mourning at a funeral, with the caption “Israelis are also counting their losses.”

The last picture in the series is of an Israeli in an air raid shelter, but the person in the photo is made black by shadows, and appears to be a silhouette of a human figure. The person’s age, sex, or any human features are impossible to make out – an odd choice by the BBC considering the large number of available photographs of Israeli children and families in bomb shelters.

The BBC’s website photo editor, Phil Commes, has also taken a neutral line on the faked photographs from Beirut supplied by Reuters, saying: “One man’s color balancing is another man’s grounds for dismissal.”

Memo to Beeb: Fauxtography is just too easy to spot these days. You need extra help to avoid the embarrassment caused by too many knowledgeable people looking over your shoulder, through your viewfinder, snooping around, reading your script, spotting your drift while you’re working hard at reporting the world as you think it should be, keeping it safe from all those “nutters” out there. Read the whole thing.

HT: B-BBC commenters Archduke, DFH, Pounce, Marc, Jack Hughes

HT to Michelle Malkin for the term.

Update: Commenter John_R helpfully notes that Michelle Malkin credits Charles Johnson as coiner.

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13 Responses to Fauxtography courses available on the web!

  1. mick in the uk says:

    Not faked, but I doubt if they’ll feature on the BBC…


    Children in Pakistan showing solidarity.


  2. Natalie Solent says:

    I’m not a nutter, I’m an activist!

    Er, not meaning that in a BBC way.

    On second thoughts, I’ll stick with nutter. An army of nutters watching their every move. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!


  3. John_R says:

    Uhh, Charles Johnson coined the term “fauxtography”.



  4. pounce says:

    The BBC and Its Israeli (is a menace) war message ;
    The major headlines at 0650 this morning

    Israeli tanks push into Lebanon
    Israeli armoured columns have pushed into Lebanese territory, as troops continue operations against Hezbollah.


    Now contrast that headline with the rest;

    Israel In Military U-Turn
    Updated: 06:45, Thursday August 10, 2006
    Israel has put its new military campaign in Lebanon on hold to give diplomatic efforts to reach a ceasefire another chance.

    Israel holds off on Lebanon offensive for talks

    JERUSALEM (Reuters) –
    Israel plans to allow more time for U.S.-led diplomatic efforts to resolve its dispute with Hizbollah before carrying out its decision to expand a ground offensive in Lebanon, a cabinet minister said on Thursday.

    Israel delays ground offensive to give diplomacy a chance
    By RAVI NESSMAN / The Associated Press

    JERUSALEM — Israel has put its massive new ground offensive into southern Lebanon on hold for two or three days to give the U.N. Security Council more time to come to an agreement on a cease-fire, an Israeli Cabinet minister and senior officials said today.






    I wonder how if four (only ones I looked for) small stations in the US (middle of the night there) can update the news. Why can’t the major BBC do the same.

    It seems to me that sending the wrong message first thing on a morning is how Al Beeb promotes the terrorists of this world as victims.


  5. Big Mouth says:

    Here is a good view of al-beeb balance:

    And by the way, on the ‘Today’ programme this morning there was reporting of a TERRORIST plot to blow up planes. But Hezbollah and Hamas are still militants and/or fighters!
    Remember how the IRA were decidedly terrorists because they were hitting British targets?


  6. Matt says:

    Israeli woman and child killed in direct rocket attack. 40 rockets landed in cities and towns throughout northern Israel this morning. No mention of this on Al Beeb.


    Maybe if the Israeli government multiplied the death toll by 40 or 50 it might get some headlines.


  7. Matt says:

    Not sure if this has already been spotted:

    Israel says BBC not reporting war fairly

    The Foreign Ministry is under pressure from Israeli citizens to resume its boycott of the BBC and to withdraw credentials from its reporters due to “one-sided” reports on the war in Lebanon, Israeli diplomatic officials said Wednesday.



  8. Biodegradable says:


    I just spotted it here:

    The diplomatic officials said the network had not been reporting the war fairly. Senior diplomatic officials in Jerusalem went as far as saying that “the reports we see give the impression that the BBC is working on behalf of Hizbullah instead of doing fair journalism.”

    Sounds just like one of us 😉


  9. Anonymous says:

    No gore…just watch…..

    Now…how come I can see this on the net…yet the BBC is SILENT about it???…….

    Protecting their Muslim masters again???……Or just terrified of the TRUTH!!!!!!


  10. Steve E. says:

    More Photoshop trickery here…


    (Hat tip to Samizdata)


  11. Matt says:

    Anonymous wrote:
    No gore…just watch…..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j…h? v=jorVh3gQ_AQ

    Now…how come I can see this on the net…yet the BBC is SILENT about it???…….

    Protecting their Muslim masters again???……Or just terrified of the TRUTH!!!!!!

    Saw that earlier today, it’s disgusting and just shows what civilized nations (inc Israel) are up against. There’s not much these Islamofascists wouldn’t stoop to in order to further their malevolent aims.

    Every time I see a news report about a single non-combatant death in southern Lebanon, I find myself wondering how they got there. Maybe I’m just cynical.


  12. Kerry B says:


    I guess that means I’m a footsoldier in an army of nutters relentlessly marching against journalistic ineptitude, stealth-editing hacks, fauxtographic smoke and mirror monkeys, and arrogant elitists who secretly root for the other side behind a mask of neutral objectivity and pure motive.


  13. Bryan says:

    Matt | 10.08.06 – 11:20 am,

    The World Service’s Newshour yesterday afternoon:

    Two people died today when a rocket hit the village of….

    Shortly after that statement, Newshour interviewed an IDF spokesman who pointed out that the rockets killed a mother and child. He’d probably been listening to the two people whitewash and filled in the blanks that the BBC is so reluctant to fill in when it comes to the death of Israeli civilians.

    The mother and child killed were Arabs. Now we look forward to an in depth investigation by the BBC of the attitude of people in that village (and general Israeli Arab attitudes) to Hizbullah. No doubt the BBC recognises the newsworthiness of the subject and will duly enlighten its long-suffering public.

    Right. No doubt it will only interview those Israeli Arabs who are pro-Hizbullah.