Sunday, October 02, 2005


Power Line blogged Every once in a while, I read something so good it makes me jealous--all I can say is, I wish I'd done it. Here is an example; Zombie Time examines a photograph that appeared on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle, and thus was seen by many thousands of people. The photo is of an African-American teenager who participated in a San Francisco anti-war rally

She is wearing a bandana that says, "People of Color Say No to War," a sentiment with which the Chronicle agrees. Here is how the Chronicle captioned the photo:
Jasmine Williams, 17, a student with the leadership group Youth Together, joins the Iraq war protest in San Francisco.
There is, however, much more to the photograph and the "leadership group" that the Chronicle didn't choose to show. Fortunately, Zombie Time was there to bring us the rest of the story. Check it out.

I agree. You absolutely must read what Zombie Time reveals.

The girl's protest contingent also sported Palestinian flags and obscene placards, and she is just one of several teenagers, all wearing terrorist-style bandannas covering their faces. But the bandannas are all printed with the same design. Was this a grassroots protest statement the teenagers had come up with all by themselves? Actually the teenagers are being stage managed by an adult wearing a t-shirt depicting the flag of Communist Vietnam. As Zombie Time indicated
The San Francisco Chronicle featured the original photograph on its front page in order to convey a positive message about the rally -- perhaps that even politically aware teenagers were inspired to show up and rally for peace, sporting the message, "People of Color say 'No to War!'" And that served the Chronicle's agenda.
And for the MSM, the important thing is to promote their agenda.
But this simple analysis reveals the very subtle but insidious type of bias that occurs in the media all the time. The Chronicle did not print an inaccuracy, nor did it doctor a photograph to misrepresent the facts. Instead, the Chronicle committed the sin of omission: it told you the truth, but it didn't tell you the whole truth.
The truth, but not the whole truth, and not nothing but the truth.
Because the whole truth -- that the girl was part of a group of naive teenagers recruited by Communist activists to wear terrorist-style bandannas and carry Palestinian flags and obscene placards -- is disturbing, and doesn't conform to the narrative that the Chronicle is trying to promote. By presenting the photo out of context, and only showing the one image that suits its purpose, the Chronicle is intentionally manipulating the reader's impression of the rally, and the rally's intent.

Such tactics -- in the no-man's-land between ethical and unethical -- are commonplace in the media, and have been for decades. It is only now, with the advent of citizen journalism, that we can at last begin to see the whole story and realize that the public has been manipulated like this all along.

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