The Ghost of Snapped Shot

Or, welcome to my low-maintenance heck.

Hamas Does Public Relations

Why bother hiring your own PR firm, which would mean having to spend your easy-earned dollars, when you can just use the largest "news" agencies in the world as your advertising firm, free of charge?

The Associated Press doesn't seem to mind being used in the least.

Agence France-Presse seems to surrender to their every whim.

But Reuters, of all, seems to be the most adept at meeting today's terrorist group's needs, serving up photos that are worthy of gracing any terrorist's den.

Notice that not a single one of those photographs is original. In other words, the agency photographers are doing nothing more than taking the pictures that the terrorists are ordering them to take.

Once again, I'm left to wonder why it is that the largest news organizations in the world have become content with being nothing more than the unpaid public relations arms of the world's terrorist regimes.

Of course, judging by the fact that all of these agencies' revenues are collapsing due to declining readership—Yeah, the public notices that y'all aren't actually delivering any news—maybe it's time these companies start charging Hamas for their services.

Update: It would seem that all P.R. work is not equal.

Can you guess what kind of P.R. work the Associated Press hates?


Dhimmi Watch

 Tags: khalil hamra ibraheem abu mustafa said khatib AP REUTERS AFP #Intifada


#1 upyernoz 17-Nov-2008
can you explain what specifically is wrong with the photos? aren't the tunnels a newsworthy story? if a news photographer gets the chance to take a photo of one, whether by hamas or the israeli army, why wouldn't they jump at the chance to take it?
#2 Brian C. Ledbetter 17-Nov-2008

In short, the press only covers the tunnels when invited, and then only publishes the "official" Hamas story. No mention or investigation is made into the weapons-smuggling for which these tunnels serve as a primary use.

If that's not detailed enough, just let me know, and I'll do my best to elaborate when I'm back. :)

#3 upyernoz 17-Nov-2008
first, how do you know that weapons-smuggling is their primary use? are you visited the tunnels and checked to see what's passing through? and how do you know weapons pass through there at all?

the answer is that you get all your information from the press. so it's an oxymoron for you to claim that there is "no mention" of weapons smuggling in the press when both you and i "know" there is smuggling because we have read it in the press.
#4 Brian C. Ledbetter 19-Nov-2008

Actually, I don't know that from "the news," I know it from independent groups that actually bother to check, combined with a dash of commonsense. (Namely, that terrorist groups who enjoy flaunting international law need guns, ergo said groups [i]smuggle[/i] the guns they need in lieu of being able to legally import them.)

Reuters and the rest of the collective media may make passing reference to terrorist smuggling tunnels, but I can assure you that this doesn't even come [i]close[/i] to being a small fraction of the amount of coverage given to Israeli "atrocities" and "humanitarian" violations, no matter how small they might be.

I'd add that there's a dramatic difference between the way the news wires cover press releases given by "friendly" (i.e., politically expedient) groups versus those given by "hostile" (i.e., politically incorrect) groups. Compare the coverage given to Hamas versus the coverage given to Israeli settlers if you doubt this.

Incidentally—The photo wires, which I've been monitoring exclusively over the past 3 years, are particularly bad about this type of bias, which is of course why we're here having this discussion. ;)

#5 upyernoz 19-Nov-2008
"Actually, I don't know that from "the news," I know it from independent groups that actually bother to check,"

the interesting thing about sites like weaponsurvey is that it's not really clear where they get their information from. they don't always say, which means that a lot of people believe that it is a front group for the mossad. then again, in virtually every story you hear about the middle east, someone somewhere is claiming the mossad is involved. we really don't know. and that lack of knowledge means that there is no way of determining if the site is reliable or not.

so the bottom line is that you've chosen to favor their story over what media sources say. personally, i don't think that's rational. media sources, at least, often disclose how they got their information, whereas groups like weaponsurvey generally do not. it seems to me that your decision to view their site as definitive reveals your own biases about what you think the answer will be. case in point:

"combined with a dash of commonsense. (Namely, that terrorist groups who enjoy flaunting international law need guns, ergo said groups smuggle the guns they need in lieu of being able to legally import them.)"

it's interesting that you evoke "international law" here. it is true that hamas is not exactly a good world citizen, but neither is israel. the sad fact about the I/P conflict is that both sides have committed rather egregious violations of international law. the current blockade of gaza by israel is a good example, and incidentally under international law that permits hamas to attack israel as the blockade is an act of war. provided, of course, that hamas doesn't target civilian areas. which, of course, hamas does target. then again, hamas argues that because the entire israeli adult population are members of the military reserves, there are no real civilian areas. and on and on.

which goes to show how multifaceted this conflict is. any attempt to evoke a principle to decide who is right or wrong inevitably devolves into an endless regression. that is, unless you're simply assuming away the legitimacy of one side, which is what i see going on here. but if you're doing that, you're no longer engaging in a rational argument or trying to actually understand the situation as it exists. you're just being a mindless partisan

but i digress. the problem with your "common sense" notion is that it doesn't actually make common sense. remember we're not arguing whether any weapons pass through these tunnels. we're arguing about whether that is primarily what they are used for. you have a population of 1.5 million people in the gaza strip who have been cut off from the outside world (aside from a brief period during the wall breach last year) for over 2 years. israel has cut off most food and fuel deliveries for the past few weeks and yet the lights are still on in the territory and widespread starvation has not happened. 1.5 million people is a lot. those people require a lot of stuff to survive. i think that common sense dictates that most of the stuff going through the tunnels would have to be non-weapons. although it also stands to reason that a lot of weapons would be mixed in. no one is arguing otherwise. the point only is that food, fuel and the commercial goods (like those pirated DVDs that my friend bought in gaza city last year) are probably the great bulk of what is passing through the tunnels simply because there's no other way for all of that stuff to be present in gaza unless they were smuggled in.

"Reuters and the rest of the collective media may make passing reference to terrorist smuggling tunnels, but I can assure you that this doesn't even come close to being a small fraction of the amount of coverage given to Israeli "atrocities" and "humanitarian" violations, no matter how small they might be."

that's the funny thing about the bias charge. in my impression the bias in the u.s. media is overwhelmingly in favor of the israeli side of the issue. that's just my viewpoint. i think "bias" charges are often more a matter of subjective judgment than anything objective. our differing impressions might just have to do with where we are coming from. here's where i am coming from: i'm a jewish american with israeli relatives, on the one hand. on the other hand, i have studied arabic (i can read, write and speak it) and so i've traveled pretty extensively in the arab world. that means i've read sources from a lot of different angles. it also means that i have friends on all sides of the conflict. i can assure that among 1st world countries, the u.s. probably has the most pro-israeli bias in its coverage of the I/P conflict in the world. i think even more than what i've seen in israel. (the israeli press is actually pretty even-handed, you probably would see anything other than the right-leaning jerusalem post as "biased". but i really think it's to israel's credit that they are able to deal with their own hard issues without the american knee-jerk pro-israeli slant)

but again, that's just how it looks from where i'm sitting. if you're inclined to not see any merit in the palestinian side of the conflict, than of course, you're going to see bias in anything that isn't 100% pro-israeli. that's more about you than about the coverage, however.
#6 Brian C. Ledbetter 19-Nov-2008

I refuse to believe that you're seriously making a "front group for the Mossad" charge, so:

(1) Reuters is a British news agency, and can [i]hardly[/i] be accused of having anything approaching a 100% pro-Israeli bias.

(2) My problem isn't the bias itself. Every single one of us is biased in our own way. The issue I have is that these news agencies [i]present themselves[/i] as being unbiased on one hand, while biasing their coverage of news events heavily towards one side of any given story on the other.

I would have no problem at all with Reuters carrying pro-Palestinian propaganda, [i][u]if[/u][/i] it is labelled as such. Nor do I have any problem with a news agency doing things the other way around.

I'm putting together a story that I think illustrates this perfectly, and will have it posted sometime later in the day (waiting for Daylife to catch up with the Reuters photo feed). Be sure to check back later and let me know what you think—We'll continue this conversation there.

As always, I appreciate your readership and dialogue very much!

#7 upyernoz 19-Nov-2008
"I refuse to believe that you're seriously making a 'front group for the Mossad' charge"

i'm not. but i'm not ruling it out either. why would you? the mossad does have a lot of front groups (MEMRI is a pretty good example. israel eventually acknowledged that it was started by mossad agents after insisting that it was independent for years)

i never said reuters had a 100% pro-israeli bias. it's just that, from my perspective, it is more pro-israeli than pro-palestinian. you obvious seem to see that differently. but again, i wonder if anything would seem unbiased to you unless it was 100% pro-israeli
#8 Brian C. Ledbetter 19-Nov-2008

Notice that, unlike Reuters, I have [i]never[/i] claimed to be unbiased. But, also unlike Reuters, you generally have a clear understanding of where I'm coming from when I talk about stuff here.

In other words, I'm [i]totally[/i] honest about my biases, and am up front enough about them that You, the proverbial Reader can make up your mind as to how trustworthy you consider this site to be on your own, instead of just taking my word for how "trustworthy" and "impartial" that I am at face value.

Which is exactly what Reuters, et. al. do when challenged. "We're [i]reporters[/i], therefore you can [i]trust[/i] us."

That being said, I'd love to issue you a challenge, so you can hopefully get more of an understanding of where I'm coming from on these questions of bias—Go through the major wire photo services (AP, AFP, and Reuters) the same way I do—to assist with this effort, I would be more than happy to send my OPML file for you to use in your feed reader—and find photos that you think are [b]biased [i]towards[/i] Israel[/b], or otherwise present Israel in a positive light.

If you can find any photos like this—if your supposition is true, they should be in plenty of abundance—I'd love to see them.

In fact, if you run across anything convincing, I'd be delighted to give you space here on Snapped Shot to publish your findings, so the other readers can decide on their own.

I think it'd be an interesting exercise, nonetheless. :)

#9 upyernoz 19-Nov-2008
oh sure, you're inviting me to do work! what kind of favor is that?

maybe we're talking about different things. when i talk about "bias", i'm thinking mostly about the written word whereas you're talking about pictures. i think pictures are a lot more ambiguous, simply because the same photo can often be interpreted different ways.

so i might eventually take you up on your office. but not this week, or probably next week. i'm wasting enough time at work playing online as it is.

as for your discussion of admitting bias vs. pretending to be objective. i agree that everyone is biased. but these days the ideal for mainstream journalism is "objectivity". real objectivity is impossible, but i actually think there is some merit in reading sources that strive to be objective as opposed to ones with an overt partisan bias. even if no one ever succeeds in objectivity, i think there is something to be gained if the reporters and editors have different sides in mind when they report.

so i disagree with the notion that because absolute objectivity is impossible, we shouldn't have sources trying to be objective. sometimes striving even for an impossible goal adds value to the effort. that's basically why i would prefer that reuters not take your advice and become an overtly partisan source.
Powered by Snarf · Contact Us