« Parliamentary Enquiry Finds Burgeoning Antisemitism in UK | Main | It's Not the Occupation, Stupid »

September 11, 2006

Calame's Perspective

times busted2.jpg

Times Public Editor Calame ignores the impact of "fauxtography," including this Times photo of a dead man, later seen walking around

New York Times Public Editor Byron Calame has a column yesterday on the paper's photographic coverage of the Israel-Hezbollah war ("Picturing the Conflict: Perspective Versus 'Balance'"). Some observations:

1) A public editor is supposed to take an independent stance. When it comes to Lebanon's casualty figures though, Calumne simply parrots the Times' questionable claims about the number of Lebanese civilian casualties.

2) I trust that the editors, those who Calame says "met [the paper's] obligation to provide a fair and accurate perspective on the fighting and its impact," know more about the fighting than Calame himself. After all, Calame writes:

One factor [in the higher Lebanese death toll], of course, was that Israel's population apparently had more access to shelters that offered greater protection from Hezbollah's bombs.

Israel's population was threatened by Hezbollah's missiles, not bombs. An editor for the public editor, anyone?

3) Incredibly, Calame makes absolutely no mention of the "fauxtography" scandal, perpetrated mostly -- but not exclusively -- by a Reuters photographer. He even links to a Times photo essay which includes a picture of "Green Helmut Guy." But he makes no comment on GHG's role as a photo manipulator. Nor does he mention the fact that the Times itself fell victim to a photo hoax, having carried an image of a dead man subsequently seen walking around pointing things out to photographers. (The paper ran a correction Aug. 9.)

While Calame writes extensively about "fairness," and that the (exaggerated) lopsided deathtoll of civilians was a determining factor of what pictures were fair to run, he has nothing to say about the fairness of just one side manipulating and doctoring photos. He acknowledges that

Times editors responsible for both photography and news articles had those cumulative numbers of the deaths on each side in their minds each day.

They obviously, however, did not have the trustworthiness of each side in their minds each day.

4) To his credit, Calame notes that the Times barely ran any photos of Hezbollah fighters and noted that "Photographers were actively discouraged from taking pictures of them."

5) Mediacrity also takes a dig at Calame's column.

Posted by TS at September 11, 2006 02:09 AM


Guidelines for posting

This is a moderated blog. We will not post comments that include racism, bigotry, threats, or factually inaccurate material.

Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)