A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words. 8.06.2006

From the Reuters News Service at Yahoo! News Photos:

(h/t Little Green Footballs)

Before I dissect what is wrong with this picture, let me note that this is exactly the picture off the Yahoo News Service. I did not alter this picture; hell, I didn't even alter the name of the picture. All I did was drag and drop the picture from Safari onto my Mac desktop, then upload it to my iDisk account. So if Yahoo later today takes down the picture, rest assured: what I've uploaded was what I found at 9:34 am on Sunday, August 6th at the Yahoo link at the top of this article.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

There have been accusations from the right (and from the extreme left in a rare few cases) of bias in the news organizations. The principle accusation is that news organizations are biased against Israel and the United States in the various wars abroad, especially in the war against Islam. The underlying belief is that many people involved in reporting the news at Reuters are actually routing for the fall of the United States, on the mistaken belief that as it is hard for a powerful man to be good ("Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." -- Matthew 19:24), it must be much harder for a powerful country to do good. (I can delve in the future on why I believe that assertion is a mistake, but suffice it to say that a powerful nation is only powerful because its citizens are free to act and help to build that country. So while a rich man may have the temptations of the world, a powerful country is powerful because its citizens are free. Different dynamic.)

Since, however, the Left in this country are living under the mistaken application of the Biblical passage--one which I'm sure is fostered by the rich and powerful of the Democratic Party who would rather have attention and suspiction taken away from their own personal fortunes while they work in the limelight or behind the scenes (Soros, anyone?)--they've started cheering for or supporting in strange ways anyone who wants to bring the United States down a peg or two. Like the rich and sleezy man who needs to be taught a lesson, they see the United States as the source of all evil in the world today--and we need to be taught a lesson. I guess 9/11 wasn't enough.

Of course this is a very big accusation, and thousands and thousands of passive words where every nuance can be debated endlessly makes it hard to build a case.

But, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

So what is wrong with Reuter's photograph, which--even after admitting they screwed up, is still posted on Yahoo?

This picture, which supposedly shows smoke billowing from a number of burning buildings after an Israeli attack, have been clearly (and, in my opinion, badly) dubbed in Photoshop to make the plumes of smoke look bigger. You can see the effects of using a "cut and stamp" tool on the plume on the left--at the left top of the picture it's easy to make out at least 12 applications of the stamp tool. (The stamp tool allows you to, electronically within Photoshop, create a "stamp", sort of like those rubber stamps, which you can then stamp all over the image.)

You can see the same effect in the right-center plume; it appears a stamp was applied at least four times there, makign the smoke look bigger.

What is particularly sad is that it appears the person who used the stamp tool was methodological in making sure his stamp was done in even rows--rather than randomly clicking around to make an uneven blob, which is what you'd expect random and chaotic smoke to do.

Now there is only one reason why such a picture would be doctored--and that is to spin Israel's actions in as negative a light as possible. The terrorists are adept at this thing: the very act of terrorism itself is essentially a Public Relations act after all.

But what is sad is that the terrorists would not be able to create a foothold into the minds of the world--to the point where the same dead child is used in photographs spanning several hours (until, I suspect, the body stank from decay so badly no-one wanted to fling the dead boy around anymore) just so that the effect of dead civilians (deaths the terrorists are attempting to encourage both by violating the Geneva Conventions by carrying out acts of war from civilian centers using civilians as human shields while firing rockets into civilian centers) can be maximized for the benefit of a left-leaning press who reports the terrorists as "noble" and the defending state of Israel as "evil butchers."

But don't take my word on it. Look at the picture and decide for yourself.

posted by William Woody at 9:36 AM

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A moderate conservative living in the left coast, surrounded by the sureal, wonders if there is a sane life living amongst those who have lost touch with reality.

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