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Ear to the Ground

David Frum Accuses New York Times of Staging Photos of Palestinian Victims

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Posted on Jul 29, 2014

  One of the challenged photos, taken by Sergey Ponomarev of The New York Times.

Conservative commentator David Frum has tweeted no fewer than eight times his outrage over “faked” photos of Palestinian victims of Israel’s military violence. Problem: The photos are real.

BagNewsNotes has the story, which begins with photos of two Palestinian brothers bringing their father to a hospital.

Photographers had gathered at the building, according to The New York Times’ Sergey Ponomarev. Photos appear to have been captured and used by some of the world’s top news gatherers, including The Associated Press, Reuters and The New York Times.

While their father was admitted, the brothers, drenched in blood, were given a chance to clean themselves up. Ponomarev said, “I saw his brother take him to a nearby room and he must’ve washed him off because afterward there was no blood on his face and his hands were clean. He was sitting on the chair and seemed calmer, and that’s when I took the photo.”

A blogger named Thomas Wictor wrote a post called “More Palestinian Fakery” in which he argues the presence of blood in one photo and not another is highly suspect: “So, we have competing information from the Associated Press and Reuters. In the Reuters photo, the man’s face and hands are totally clean.”

It is a highly conspiratorial interpretation of an easily explained mystery: The photos were taken at different times, and the blood was washed off.

Frum, a speechwriter for President George W. Bush who now presents himself as someone trying to bring moderation and sanity back to the conservative movement, took the conspiracy and ran with it.

What makes all this so offensive is that both Wictor and Frum question the ethics and work of journalists risking their lives to capture these images. That’s to say nothing of the victims of this tragedy. Why is it so difficult to believe that rockets and missiles aimed at people would produce violence? Prick a Palestinian, does he not bleed?

(For a more in-depth exploration of the matter, check out BagNewsNotes.)

—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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