Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Harvard: Western Media Duped by Hezbollah

In a report from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, Marvin Kalb paints a grim picture of modern Western journalism, both as hapless dupes and biased advocates:
Based on content analysis of global media and interviews with many diplomats and journalists, this paper describes the trajectory of the media from objective observer to fiery advocate, becoming in fact a weapon of modern warfare. The paper also shows how an open society, Israel, is victimized by its own openness and how a closed sect, Hezbollah, can retain almost total control of the daily message of journalism and propaganda.
Especially interesting is Kalb's examination of the infamous (though almost unreported) Adnan Hajj "Fauxtography" scandal.
Twice Hajj had altered photographs, not presumably to contrive events where none existed but rather to heighten the drama of real events (“to hype the story,” an old journalistic sin) and perhaps deliberately to worsen Israel’s image in the world and, by comparison, to soften Hezbollah’s image. Hajj denied that he had wittingly doctored the two photographs, saying he was simply trying to remove dust marks in poor lighting.55 We may never know the absolute truth, but Hajj’s photographs served to heighten doubts about journalistic credibility. “Fauxtography,” they were called. Johnson (and many others in the West) thought the incident proved that Hezbollah would exploit any advantage to win the war of images—in its strategy, as crucial an element as winning the war itself.
Thanks to Dr. Rusty Shackleford of The Jawa Report.