I use the word “his” loosely. 95% of it consists of comments reprinted from the thread at Lightstalkers in which Bryan Denton first accused photographers of directing aid workers to dig up bodies so they could photograph them. Denton’s comments, including his original accusation, are among those reprinted, so at least Mitchell had the integrity to finally clue his readers in to the charge here.
I encourage you to read his piece all the way through, noting especially:
(a) Thorne Anderson’s comparison of Qana-questioning bloggers to Holocaust deniers, a slur that’s particularly rich in the context of a conversation about Iran’s terrorist proxy;
(b) Oscar Sosa’s defense of Hezbollah propaganda on grounds that “a lot of stories here in Jacksonville where the people I’m photographing have their own agenda” too;
(c) the relentless browbeating of Bryan Denton as the thread wears on, culminating in his exasperated reiteration that most of his colleagues are beyond reproach — even as he stands by his original charge; and
(d) the fact that not a single one of the photographers quoted by Mitchell, not one, can muster an unqualified condemnation of what Denton claims to have seen. Not. One. Timothy Fadek does say early on that he’s “angry” — at Denton, for having started such an “incendiary rumor.” Worse still, note the extent to which they’re willing to justify staged photos as legitimate news. Thorne Anderson:
Photographing the display is not necessarily deceitful, but rather an honest record of the extraordinary ways people react in these terrible circumstances. And a rescue worker displaying a body does not a Media Mogul the rescue worker make.
Editors send us off all the time to shoot press conferences and ‘media opportunities.’ We need to evaluate every situation we encounter and make an objective decision as to how we cover these stories. I wasn’t at Qana, but Tim Fadek was. If he says photos weren’t staged, then that’s good enough for me.
I don’t know what to say, except that if these guys see no higher ethical obligation in war photography than press-conference photography; if they have no moral objection to enabling the exploitation of children’s corpses for propaganda purposes; if they detect no corruption in their presence at the scene of a newsworthy event shaping the participants’ actions during the event; then David Perlmutter‘s got a bigger job ahead of him than he realizes.
If you’ve never seen it, here’s the vid of mild-mannered civil defense worker Salam Daher, a.k.a., Green Helmet, “reacting in an extraordinary way” on the scene in Qana.
Update: Confederate Yankee responds to Mitchell at length:
This E&P editorial chooses to dodge the real issues of the media’s vetting of the accuracy of the stories and photographs that they chose to print coming out of Lebanon and other venues, just as they dodged how so many pictures and events ever had reason to be questioned in the first place.
Greg Mitchell, Editor of Editor & Publisher shows himself to be a prime example of exactly what bloggers fear most in the media; a newscrafter, not a newsman, with a quite specific and heavily partisan agenda. He seems terrified that if the public actually looked too closely at how the sometimes tainted product of the news business is manufactured, they might discover it has fewer quality checks than a disposable diaper, and sadly, sometimes ends up smelling much the same.