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Monday, October 10, 2005

Anatomy of a Photograph


Anonymous Molloy said...

This is interesting, but not at all evidence of media bias.

This is the author's thesis:

"Instead, the Chronicle committed the sin of omission: it told you the truth, but it didn't tell you the whole truth."

And what is that "whole truth"?

1) The protestors support Palestine

2) The protestors wrote dirty words

3) The protestors were being led by an adult

4) That adult wore a shirt bearing an image that can be reasonably argued to be the flag of Vietnam

To all these things, I say, "So what?"

1) The protestors's support of Palestine is irrelevant, as support for Palestine is far from being a minority opinion in the world.

2) Their use of foul language is also irrelevant. I mean, does their use of foul language so seriously undercut their message that ommitting it is some grave sin? Lots of people use the obscene word printed on the placards, including Vice President Dick Cheney, yet no one says that Cheney's use of the "f-word" has any bearing on his credibility when it comes to the War on Iraq.

3) It is not uncommon for teenagers to be led by an adult. Ommitting the adult from the photo does not imply one way or the other that the protestors were unescorted by adults.

4) OK, so, she likes Vietnam. The United States government is on friendly terms with Vietnam's. I don't see what this has to do with anything. Maybe she's Vietnamese?

Now, if the protestors carried signs saying, "We love peace," and the photo showed the signs but ommitted the fact that they were, in fact, carrying guns, that would be media bias.

Another example of media bias would be something along the lines of, oh, a year and a half of repeating, without rebuttal, administraton claims over matters of life and death that were not true, and that many people were screaming their heads off were not true, i.e. that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and ties to Al Queda, and was involved in the September 11th attacks. Or that American soldiers would be welcomed by a shower of rose petals, that the war would last only a few months, and that it would pay for itself through oil revenues. Oh, or that the war in Iraq would spread peace and freedom throughout the Mid-East. I could go on here, I suppose. (I don't know if the Chronicle is guilty of any of this, but I know for sure the New York Times is.)

The Chronicle's version of the photo contains enough information for one to come to the conclusion that the protestors are idiots, if one were to go down that road: the fact that they were covering their faces. That's all you need, right there.

I can't stand it when people do that, and I'm in agreement with about 95% of regular attendees at war protests in that opinion. If you believe in your message, why hide your identity? You know what I mean? If it's teargas you fear (and, yes, I have been unjustifiably teargassed at a protest -- welcome to our world), carry the damn bandana in your pocket.

October 11, 2005 4:31 PM  

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