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Breaking the silence on war photographers smeared by right-wing bloggers [View All]

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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-23-06 10:11 AM
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Breaking the silence on war photographers smeared by right-wing bloggers
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Editor&Publisher: In Defense of War Photographers
While some criticism is warranted, the current controversy over manipulated or staged pictures from Lebanon has been fueled by speculative, unfounded, or politically-driven charges that have tainted all of the brave photographers who cover conflict in the Middle East.
By Greg Mitchell

(August 22, 2006) -- With most others in the mainstream silent, I rise here in support of the overwhelming number of press photographers in the Middle East who bravely, under horrid conditions, in recent weeks have sent back graphic and revealing pictures from the war zones, only to be smeared, as a group, by rightwing bloggers aiming, as always, to discredit the media as a whole.

This broad condemnation, and the conspiracy theories, lodged against photographers in war zones -- who are risking their lives while bloggers risk nothing but carpal tunnel syndrome -- needs to be refuted.

Indeed, one American photographer in Lebanon, Bryan Denton, often cited by the blogs as backing their claims, has now apologized for his earlier "irresponsible" assertions at the Lightstalkers site, and stated flatly, "Any one out there who is trying to politicize that is just plain sick, and is moving this further away from the real issue at hand. There are hundreds of photographers working here now. Don't let a few bad apples take the attention away from what the REAL story is, because by the looks of the blogs, THAT is exactly what is happening." Don't expect to find those second thoughts on any of the blogs.

Which is not to say that this is much ado about nothing. Obviously, Adnan Hajj, the Reuters photographer who doctored at least two images, deserved to be dismissed. A handful of other pictures snapped by others warrant investigation. In a few cases, caption information was wrong or misleading, and required correction. In addition, the controversy has sparked an overdue discussion -- some of it here at E&P -- on the credibility of all photography in the Photoshop age and the wide use of local stringers abroad in a time of cutbacks in supervision.

But, in general, the charges against the photographers, and their news organizations, have been hysterical, largely unfounded, and politically driven, while at times raising valid questions, such as what represents "staging."...
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