Reutersgate: Is Adnan Hajj Just The Tip Of The Mountain?

The hottest story in the blogosphere this week-end was a photoshopped picture that Reuters ran. The pic was put together by Adnan Hajj, who has now been fired.

Of course, this raises a lot of questions. For example, are there other photoshopped pics out there by Adnan Hajj? Although I’m not a photoshop junky, this one certainly looks suspicious.

Of course, there are also plenty of other pictures that raise questions about whether they were real or staged. In fact, there was a controversy just last week about whether photographers had participated in a Hezbollah dog and pony show at Qana (Yes, Adnan Hajj was in the mix there, too) and of course, everyone seemed to be adamantly denying that any such thing was possible:

“An AFP executive said he was stunned to be questioned about it. Reuters, in a statement, said it categorically rejects any such suggestion.

“It’s hard to imagine how someone sitting in an air-conditioned office or broadcast studio many thousands of miles from the scene can decide what occurred on the ground with any degree of accuracy,” said Kathleen Carroll, AP’s senior vice president and executive editor.

Carroll said in addition to personally speaking with photo editors, “I also know from 30 years of experience in this business that you can’t get competitive journalists to participate in the kind of (staging) experience that is being described.”

Photographers are experienced in recognizing when someone is trying to stage something for their benefit, she said.

“Do you really think these people would risk their lives under Israeli shelling to set up a digging ceremony for dead Lebanese kids?” asked Patrick Baz, Mideast photo director for AFP. “I’m totally stunned by first the question, and I can’t imagine that somebody would think something like that would have happened.”

Someone should call up Kathleen Carroll and ask her if she has a different opinion, now that she has had, “30 years of experience in this business,” plus an extra week or so in which Hajj got caught posting photoshopped pics. Of course, even if she admitted that Hajj was a bad actor, she’d undoubtedly try to play him off as an exception to the rule.

However, I’m not so sure about that.

We know that a lot of these news organizations have working relationships with these terrorist/militia organizations. If they didn’t there’s certainly no way they could get shots like this one, which was taken by New York Times photographer Joao Silva.

We also know that some of these MSM organizations, at the highest levels, agreed to cover-up what really goes on in countries like Iraq, in order to get access and insure the safety of their personnel. Do you really think that the same thing doesn’t go on all the time with terrorist groups like Hamas & Hezbollah or in areas controlled by militia fighters in Iraq? Do you really think that some of these local stringers that are taking pictures of these terrorists aren’t friendly to them or maybe even on the payroll?

Even if they’re not explicitly siding with these terrorists, here’s an honest question: if you were a photographer who had to regularly work in Lebanon, would you publish a photo of, say, a Hezbollah fighter holding up a child as a human shield or throwing up his hands and running in terror from Israelis? Would you write a story saying that Hezbollah or Hamas was getting beaten into the ground by the Israelis if you knew the terrorists had your hotel room number and that they were going to be responsible for keeping you from getting killed in a war zone tomorrow? The question almost answers itself, doesn’t it?

Since that’s the case, how many staged photos, doctored quotes, and slanted news stories do you really think are in circulation out there? It’s almost impossible to say, but it wouldn’t be the least bit surprising if Adnan Hajj is just the tip of the mountain.

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