Liberal Media Bias: Follow-Up #1

Filed under:Politics, Web Log (Blog), D. Sirmize, Media — posted by D. Sirmize on June 5, 2006 @ 10:20 am

Looking at the picture leading this post, you might naturally assume that today’s story has something to do with the new Toshiba 40 GB Perpendicular Hard Drive. So you may be surprised (and somewhat disappointed, depending on where your interests lie) to discover that the real subject of this post is political media bias. Sorry. Dirty trick, huh? What’s up with that?

Moments after my previous post on liberal bias in the mainstream media, I came across a post on Michelle Malkin’s blog detailing an attempt by the UK Times to pull such a dirty trick. It doesn’t take much reading to figure out that the domestic and international mainstream media are outwardly contemptuous toward the U.S. military and squarely opposed to the Iraq war. Valid facts can be gleaned from major press reports, but usually you have to wade through a cesspool of negativity and half-truths to find them. As a news junky I’m used to spin and social engineering. But it’s not every day you see such blatant manipulation as in this UK Times article from June 1.

The article headlined “Massacre Marines Blinded by Hate” led with the following picture and caption:

Clearly, the bodies in this picture are the victims of the U.S. Marines November massacre in Haditha, Iraq, right? That’s definately what the Times implies by leading their Haditha article with this photo. So your average UK Times reader sees this horrific photo and takes a mental snapshot, automatically associating it with the Haditha incident. Nice, UK Times, nice. The Left is grinning ear to ear.

But hey, wait just a gosh danged minute…That picture looks awfully familiar. Where did I see that before? Oh yeah, in a May 2 Newsweek article! Hmm… Slightly different angle shot, but the obviously the same set of corpses. The caption in the Newsweek report?

“Insurgents in Haditha executed 19 Shiite fishermen and National Guardsmen in a sports stadium.”

Oh, so these people were killed by Islamic terrorists, not the U.S. Marines! Slight oversight I guess.

Ms. Malkin and a slew of bloggers wrote to Gerard Baker at the Times calling him on the issue. The Times’ response? Oops, our bad. Sorry.

“Thank you for pointing out the dreadful error on our website involving the wrong picture and capture of murdered Iraqis. I have asked that it be removed immediately and an apology issued.”

Yeah, it’s a little late for that, Mr. Baker. Your “error” was published by a major news outlet and appeared on millions of computer screens around the globe, not to mention the numerous print copies that cannot be recalled and corrected. After seeing this picture with this caption and headline, I seriously doubt all those budding jihad boys will pay any attention to your apology.

By the way, call me ignorant, but exactly how does one mistakenly take a completely unrelated photo, edit the caption to reflect a different headline, then slip it past the editors into an article as the leading photo?

The information that has been released on the actual Haditha massacre so far doesn’t look good for the Marines involved. This incident will likely have a devastating effect on our effort to “win the peace” in Iraq and on the Arab street. But the last thing we need are biased news agencies fanning the fire with deceptive journalism. Hopefully someday media partisans will realize that the blogosphere sees right through these things.

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