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If right-wing bloggers were photo editors

Lgf

The right-wing blogosphere is all atwitter over this photo of a Shiite sniper supposedly firing towards U.S. positions in Iraq. In particular, this comment has been repeated ad infinitum:

Incredible courage? Well, far be it for me to question such self-congratulatory enthusiasm, but it seems to me that actual “incredible courage” would have entailed, say, Joao Silva getting word to US troops, or his bumrushing the sniper and beating him unconscious with a heavy telephoto lens.

That's right. Apparently, the right wing blogosphere thinks photographs of the enemy are a new development; a morally reprehensible act limited to the New York Times. Also, journalists should now take active part in the war and beat snipers with their weapons of choice (cameras, pens, laptops, etc.) rather than observe or report on events. Do not seek to document or understand - only seek to kill.

What a sea of dangerously uninformed idiocy. That's how we got into this mess. So let's have a little fun! How might these right-wing bloggers comment on other memorable photographs?

NY TIMES: Karen Janoch is surrounded by friends as she lay dying after taking a Seconol solution prescribed under the Oregon Death with Dignity Act. Karen was terminally ill with liver cancer and decided to legally commit suicide.

RIGHTWINGER: The photographer shoulda smashed these murderer's heads in with his camera. How could he jsut sit there and let these God-haters kill Karen? I love Karen more than they do and she looks fine to me. The New York Crimes has blood on their hands, AGAIN.

NY TIMES: U.S. Marines of the 28th Regiment, 5th Division, raise the American flag atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima on Feb. 23, 1945.

RIGHTWINGER: Traitor! This idiot moonbat photographer is revealing the location of these soldiers and should be imprisoned. Better yet, nailed in the crossfire. Nice flag though.

NY TIMES: Karl Rove.

RIGHTWINGER: This traitorous mirror is revealing the confidential location of a top Presidential advisor, and should be smashed into a million pieces with an assault rifle. The photographer is in prison now, right? Send him to Gitmo, along with the entire New Dork Times.

NY TIMES: Fire in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

RIGHTWINGER: This is the most spineless, heartless photo I've ever seen. To think this asshole stood there while fire raged and people are dying. Drop your pansyass camera and go save some goddam lives! Oh i forgot, your a moonbat and only care about pretty pictures and fags and stuff.

NY TIMES: "Removal from Gaza...we really feel her feelings."

RIGHTWINGER: If I was there she'd feel the butt of my army assault rifle! No sympathy for these Palestinian terrorists, unlike the moonbat photographer.


NY TIMES: While Marines continued to push deep into a southern part of Falluja where the last elements of Mujahadeen fighters are holed up, four men surrendered saying they were students trying to escape the fight.

RIGHTWINGER: I like this one, assuming the terrorist was slain immediately after the photo. Why didn't the photogapher get a shot of that? Probably because they're a moonbat pussy.

NY TIMES: Police use water canons to disperse rioters in Place de la Republique in central Paris on March 28, 2006.

RIGHTWINGER: Haha, yesssss! Spray those Frenchie moonbat motherfuckers down. How'd they sneak this one into the Moonbat Times? Probably a mistake because their stupid.



NY TIMES: A man refuses to be evacuated from his home in New Orleans without his missing cat.

RIGHTWINGER: Goddamn, I can just picture our boys blowing this asshole to kingdom come.
The photographer shoulda held this bastard down while our boys taught him a lesson. "Oh you can't find your pussy? Looks like we got a pussy right here! BAM!" Heh, heh.


NY TIMES: Sen. John Edwards and Sen. John Kerry and their families gathered at the Heinz estate in Pittsburgh, Pa.

RIGHTWINGER: Good God, not these dipshits again? Just the site of John "Fairy" Kerry makes me want to pump some lead into his sorry swiftcoward be-hind. Photog should've beat them all unconcious with his telephoto lens. Yes, even the offspring.


NY TIMES: "Life goes on amidst the rubble from the tsunami. Heart-wrenching."

RIGHTWINGER: It's okay, would be better if she was naked. Photographer should have intervened and ripped off her clothes. They're wet anyway, what's the diff?


NY TIMES: Prisoners sleep in cramped positions before being woken up at dawn inside an overcrowded cell in the Maula Prison in Lilongwe, Malawi, where certain cells have as many as 160 prisoners.

RIGHTWINGER: Boo-fuckin-hoo. Who cares? not me. Looks pretty comfy, I bet they eat better than U.S. soldiers. Go cry on gandi's shoulder ya moonbat.


NY TIMES: Phan Thi Kim Phuc, center, with her clothes torn off, fleed with other South Vietnamese children after a misdirected aerial napalm attack on June 8, 1972

RIGHTWINGER: Hahaha! I don't know, this one makes me laugh.


NY TIMES: Iraqis chanted anti-American slogans in Falluja yesterday as burned bodies of Americans were suspended on a bridge over the Euphrates River.

RIGHTWINGER: Gaaaah! Nobody should ever know this happened. The entire NY Crimes staff should be burned and hung from this bridge. Then I would frame this photograph.

RIGHTWINGER: American killing machine, right there. Don't fuck with us you sand n*ggers! Look at all that mud... that's war right there. I mean, I've seen all the Rambo movies and keep Soldier of Fortune magazines under my bed, so I've got a pretty good idea. Yeah man, more pictures of guns!

July 17, 2006 at 02:50 AM in Current Affairs, Media, Weblogs | Permalink

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» If Left-Wing Bloggers Were NYTimes Photo Editors from Shot In The Dark
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» If Left-Wing Bloggers Were NYTimes Photo Editors from Shot In The Dark
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Comments

Wow, you've really plugged in to the mind of the typical Right-winger! Disengage quickly, and disinfect! lol

Posted by: DJ Allyn at Jul 17, 2006 10:38:30 AM

Oh yeah! Beautiful. I wish I had been this snarky, but I was aggravated instead. Up on the blogroll you go...

Posted by: Ron at Jul 17, 2006 10:58:49 AM

I need a shower, quick!

Glad you liked. I hate to recommend against adding me to your blogroll, but I don't post about politics all that often. Of course there's an election on the horizon, so who knows...

Posted by: chuck at Jul 17, 2006 11:04:49 AM

There now. Feel better, now that you've got that little rant out of your system? Here's one problem with your post:

Apparently, the right wing blogosphere thinks photographs of the enemy are a new development; a morally reprehensible act limited to the New York Times.

No. What's a "new development" is that major US and Western media outlets apparently have "embedded" correspondents with the terrorists - with the enemy, as you acknowledge - and are willingly allowing themselves to be used to spread enemy propaganda. That one photo was part of a larger photo collection taken by the Times' photographer of the Iraqi "insurgency," all of which not only presented the enemy point of view, but glorified them, as well. Do you seriously think the photographer would have been allowed by the terrorists to take those pics of terrorists in action - against not only US and Iraqi troops, but civilians as well - if they thought he wasn't sympathetic to their cause? Of course not. And it speak volumes that the NYT not only chose to employ someone who clearly sides with the enemies of our nation...but willingly published the enemy propaganda he produced. Not with condemnation, but accolades for his "courage." (Of course, this behavior isn't exactly "new" for the NYT; Google "Walter Duranty" for details.)

You did get one thing right: it's morally reprehensible. Unfortunately, it's not limited to the New York Times. Had you clicked on the "The Media Are The Enemy" category at LGF instead of simply mocking it, you would have found that LGF's Charles Johnson has catalogued dozens of examples of mainstream media organizations (AP, Reuters, BBC among others) who have willingly engaged in such behavior in the recent past.

And here's the other big problem with your post: It is equally morally reprehensible to defend or excuse the Times' actions. At best, the paper - and you - have taken moral equivalence and objectivity to a ridiculous extreme. At worst, the Times has chosen, for whatever reason, to openly side with the enemies of America and the civilized world.

(Yes, I realize that I've overused italics for emphasis in this post. On the other hand, I don't think you can overly emphasize that these people are the enemy of everything we hold dear, including civilization itself.

Especially when talking to leftists like yourself.)


Posted by: Wes S. at Jul 17, 2006 5:22:18 PM

Well, it's a good discussion to have. Clearly it's a complex issue, and not so black-and-white as most right-wing bloggers would have you believe. It's those shades of gray that are troublesome. Check out this essay:
Reporting in the Time of Conflict: Propaganda vs. Professionalism

You say this photo presents and "glorifies" the enemy point of view. How so? Because it is a good photograph? Because it is unfiltered, or it doesn't sufficiently demonize the sniper? I personally think he looks scary, thin, desparate yet determined.

How would you feel about this photograph if, for example, it was taken a minute later... after the sniper had been killed by American forces? I have the feeling right-wing bloggers would celebrate such a photograph, if not the photographer. Then it is you who might say, "What courage."

Silva is a renegade and a thrill-seeker. You can judge him and his kind however you like. Learn more about him here - he honed his skills as part of "The Bang-Bang Club" in South Africa. Some of that gang killed themselves, perhaps unable to live with what they'd documented.

But one thing is for certain - people want to see these images. Blame the free market. The fact that you see this behavior from dozens of mainstream media outlets (I wasn't able to click on the LGF category, btw) only underscores this point. We, the consumers of news, are thirsty for images of war. And journalists have unparalleled access to getting those images on all sides, whether it's last week's ally or this week's enemy.

So don't blame, so predictably, the New York Times or liberals. Blame the news consumer, blame the free market. Blame human curiosity and human nature.

Posted by: chuck at Jul 17, 2006 8:58:49 PM

Would any of you stand silently and take a picture of a person preparing to shoot your mother, or brother, or child? How about your uncle?

How about the President of the United States, or a Senator? How about a General commanding American forces in a battle?

Journalists are never neutral. Their actions have consequences just like any one elses.

Either this man stood by and watched a terrorist attempt to kill Americans. Worse still he chose to profit from it. Never believe journalists do this as some form of altruism. He is paid quite well.

Or he is guilty of staging a propoganda photo for the enemy.

Look up Michael Yon and Joe Galloway if you would like examples of ethical journalist behavior in war time.

On a side note, that Mt. Suribachi photo was staged. Still a great photo and a tribute to the sacrifice so many men paid.

Posted by: The Ugly American at Jul 17, 2006 9:16:45 PM

I'm just a bit baffled why you think we should never be allowed to see the face of our enemy?

Any photo of a soldier in war is potentially a soldier that will kill someone's mother, brother, or child. It's also true of American soldiers, in case you haven't been following the news.

War photographers have an obligation to show us the killers and the killed. Show us friend and foe. Show us this war, show us the reality.

Posted by: chuck at Jul 17, 2006 9:28:30 PM

Hey, Blogumentary! Thanks for the feedback. Glad to see my post over at your blog wasn’t the waste of time I first feared it was…

Since you reposted your rebuttal over at the Rott, I took the liberty of reposting my response here as well.

You first said:

Well here’s my response to LC West, reposted here for your enjoyment. Incidentally, except for his dig up there, I found his comment to be really reasonable. His tone says, “We can have a conversation.” Too many of you just jump to violent, emotional responses.

Well, we tend to jump to those “violent, emotional responses” because that tends to be the quickest way to the right blogosphere’s newest badge of honor: a Glenn Greenwald condemnation. I’m still eagerly awaiting mine; it will be a sign I’ve been taken seriously as a commenter. Or at least as a troll.

You say this photo presents and “glorifies” the enemy point of view. How so? Because it is a good photograph? Because it is unfiltered, or it doesn’t sufficiently demonize the sniper? I personally think he looks scary, thin, desparate yet determined.

Yeah, “desperate yet determined,” that’s the point: the photographer made the terrorist sniper look heroic. And just what is that heroism, in this context? I don’t think you can sufficiently “demonize” the people who have indiscriminately slaughtered thousands of innocent civilians to what, bring back that fascist thug Saddam and his rape rooms and his nerve-gassed Kurds?

Yeah, Blogumentary, I agree: it’s a striking image. Sergei Eisenstein’s The Battleship Potemkin and Aleksander Nevsky also were striking films, with similar striking imagery, yet that still doesn’t change the fact that they were made as propaganda pieces for the glorification of thugs and tyrants.

Also, there’s the real possiblilty that somewhere beyond the muzzle of that Dragunov is a dead American soldier…or a hapless Iraqi civilian who got in the way. Which brings me to:

How would you feel about this photograph if, for example, it was taken a minute later… after the sniper had been killed by American forces? I have the feeling right-wing bloggers would celebrate such a photograph, if not the photographer.

I think we’d still have the same questions about the photographer, actually. Just how did Silva get to hang out with the insurgents, and get all those pictures from their viewpoint, if he didn’t share their values and goals? If Silva wasn’t sympathetic to them and their objectives, he would have gotten the Daniel Pearl treatment, no matter what kind of “thrill seeker” he supposedly is. Remember, we’re talking about an entire photo montage featuring “desperate but determined” Iraqi “freedom fighters,” kids standing triumphantly on burned-out American armored vehicles, etc. If you look at the entire series of photos, Silva - maybe with some help from his editors - makes the Iraqi terrorists look like the French Resistance during WWII.

So I guess it still begs the question: Why did the New York Times hire as one of its stringers a man who by all evidence must be sympathetic to the enemies of its own country? And why did they run what amounts to enemy propaganda without a shred of even context, much less condemnation?

But one thing is for certain - people want to see these images. Blame the free market. The fact that you see this behavior from dozens of mainstream media outlets (I wasn’t able to click on the LGF category, btw) only underscores this point.

No, what “people want” is to see both sides of the story. Where are the similarly heroic pictures in the New York Times of American heroism under fire? Or for that matter, where are the pictures of Americans building schools and hospitals, repairing water treatment plants and power plants, or any of the myriad of things our military and civil authorities are doing to rebuild Iraq and help its people, while taking fire from the “desperate but determined” insurgents? From what we’ve seen, the Times isn’t really interested in those photographs and stories. Nor are AP, Reuters, the BBC, etc…

While “the people” may want to see images and stories of war…too many news organizations, like the New York Times, are totally uninterested in publishing anything that contradicts the story that, for whatever reason, they want to tell.

Again, the New York Times, in particular, has a record of whitewashing and apologizing for this nation’s enemies going all the way back to Walter Duranty’s coverage of Stalin’s purges in the 1930s. They also have a track record of attempting to undermine everything the current occupant of the Oval Office attempts to do - including undermining the nation’s security and the War on Terror - out of, if nothing else, resentment that “their” candidates didn’t win the past couple of Presidential elections. (For instance, surveillance of international banking transactions, which the Times revealed publicly despite pleas from political opponents of the President to keep quiet.)

And, while questioning everything the President does to defend the nation against attack…the Times unhesitatingly accepts and publishes at face value enemy propaganda and calls it a “snapshot” of life in Iraq. And praises the “courage” of the propagandist.

Given that the New York Times seems to have so brazenly chosen sides - chosen the other side! - in the War on Terror, why shouldn’t we question its editorial judgement? Or question those who, for whatever reason, defend what is an indefensible act on the Times‘ part?

Please note that I’m not accusing you of treason, Blogumentary. I think you’re actually one of those I described in my prior post as taking moral equivalence to an extreme. Which probably hurts a little, too. Sorry.

As for the New York Times, on the other hand…well suffice it to say I’m a proud owner of one of Misha’s notorious “Rope, Tree, Journalist” T-shirts.

Posted by: Wes S. at Jul 17, 2006 11:00:44 PM

I was ready to respond to each of your points, up until “Rope, Tree, Journalist."

It's probably supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, but I find it very sad...

Posted by: chuck at Jul 18, 2006 12:43:49 AM

I find it worse than sad, but I don't want to waste my energy refuting the points of someone who would proudly wear such a thing.

Posted by: Lorika at Jul 18, 2006 4:09:23 PM

Like I told you a long time ago, the dictionary is your friend (as is spell check).

Posted by: Your First Grade Teacher at Jul 19, 2006 3:40:46 PM

hmm, i don't think my First Grade Teacher got that this was parody, and that the typos and grammatical errors were for accuracy and humor. too bad i have to explain it - i guess the fun is officially over!

Posted by: chuck at Jul 19, 2006 10:22:40 PM

this cracked me up, chuck! very funny stuff. kinda sad that it's so true :(

Posted by: thehoneybunny at Jul 22, 2006 5:47:12 PM