Friday, August 18, 2006

Editor & Publisher: "Death of Photojournalism"

Writing in Editor & Publisher David Perlmutter wonders if, in the wake of the Reutersgate/fauxtography scandals photojournalism is "...being murdered, committing suicide, or both."

Perlmutter makes no bones about crediting bloggers with exposing the rampant fraud that has characterized mainstream news coverage of the Israeli-Hizballah War [emphasis added]:
Perhaps it would be more reassuring if the enemy at the gates was a familiar one - politicians, or maybe radio talk show hosts. But the photojournalist standing on the crumbling ramparts of her once proud citadel now sees the vandal army charging for the sack led by "zombietime," "The Jawa Report," [I am a co-blogger at Jawa] "Powerline," "Little Green Footballs," "confederateyankee," and many others.

In each case, these bloggers have engaged in the kind of probing, contextual, fact-based (if occasionally speculative) media criticism I have always asked of my students. And the results have been devastating: news photos and video shown to be miscaptioned, radically altered, or staged (and worse, re-staged) for the camera. Surely "green helmet guy," "double smoke," "the missiles that were actually flares," "the wedding mannequin from nowhere," the "magical burning Koran," the "little girl who actually fell off a swing" and "keep filming!" will now enter the pantheon of shame of photojournalism.
Mr. Perlmutter is to be commended for his courage in speaking truth to power; the big media outlets have circled the wagons on this scandal. Let's hope his voice is the first of many from within the industry.

Via Greg Sheffield at NewsBusters ( I also blog here as Al Brown).