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Conniving News Network

November 10th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

The following image (h/t DJ) came via Zee M Kane (editor at The Next Web) of CNN cropping out an Israeli [see Citizen comment below] U.S. soldier’s assault rifle. Some say the rifle is not pointed at the head of the enemy soldier. I think its hard to tell. But that’s really irrelevant. What CNN did with the crop is to tell a lie. This is not unlike the bullshit this same network pulled for example in cropping out violent rioters in the 2008 Lhasa riot with bricks in hand. Nor is it different from them using fake photos taken from other events. [Update]Also as some of you have noticed, look at Aljazeera’s crop. What the heck is happening with journalism?! [Update Nov 21, 2011: See Allen’s response to Citizen comments these might have been hypotheticals and not real. Sorry folks. Given CNN’s lies in the past, I was eager to jump to the conclusion.]

CNN crops to alter narrative

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  1. November 10th, 2011 at 13:32 | #1

    If a picture is worth a thousand words, a picture from CNN is worth a thousand lies.

  2. Justin Liu
    November 10th, 2011 at 14:59 | #2

    Uniform looks like US Marines and I’d say that Al-Jazeera crop is as much a lie as CNN’s

  3. zack
    November 10th, 2011 at 15:06 | #3

    al jazeera-especially al jazeera english- lies as much as CNN or BBC; take their ‘fair and balanced’ reporting especially when it comes to China and Tibet.

  4. raventhorn
    November 10th, 2011 at 15:44 | #4

    All there is to lies is to take Truth out of Context, and imagine a new Truth from the hand shadows of its former self.

    See the shadow on the Wall, it’s not my hands, it’s a horse, a rabbit, a bird. It could be any thing the hands desired.

    Journalism has become hand shadow puppetry, the art of projecting lies in the shadow of the light.

  5. Naqshbandiyya
    November 10th, 2011 at 16:21 | #5

    @zack I don’t have any quantitative data about it, but as a regular consumer of all three stations’ news, Al Jazeera is definitely fairer in its China-Tibet coverage than BBC or CNN. Although there is a limited range of “acceptable” opinion on Western news networks, Al Jazeera usually has an ethnic Chinese opinion, if not a pro-China opinion, on its relevant panel discussions. I was also impressed by their airing of a program on the persecution of Dorje Shugden believers by the Dalai Lama.

    There’s a difference in mission between Al Jazeera and CNN, too. “Fair and balanced” is not Al Jazeera’s slogan: it claims, like China, to champion the cause of the “global south”, which means more coverage on African and Latin American issues, and a more skeptical attitude towards the Euro-American agenda in global affairs. This would be great for China if only Tibetan separatist propaganda hadn’t already established Tibet as some kind of underdog victim of colonialism.

    Also, China’s bad press on Tibet is only partly the fault of the news corporations themselves. For reasons of budget, deadlines, and human nature, journalists would rather not do in-depth research, criticism, and analysis if they don’t have to. Tibetan separatist groups know how to use journalists to propagate their message, and they always have press releases, spokespeople, and talking points ready. Where are their analogues: professional spokespeople for China’s point of view on Tibet, who are well-paid and practiced, fluent in English, and literate in Western political culture? They’re not there and being censored from television; they just don’t exist.

    Why do bloggers like those at HiddenHarmonies have to volunteer their time and expertise to refute the New York Times’ and others’ misleading stories about China? Where is the Chinese government in the war for global public opinion; where are the pro-China NGOs and GONGOs? For all the hysteria about “wu mao dang” and Chinese spies, you’re more likely to see ethnic Chinese protest on the streets in the West against China, whether for Taiwanese independence or for Falun Gong, than to protest for China.

    As a monolingual English speaker, I have a choice of about 10 million quality resources if I want to argue for Tibetan independence, but less than a dozen comparable resources to argue the opposite. If I were a journalist, it would be impossible to create balanced stories on Tibet in this kind of environment. For this reason, moaning about the bias of the news networks is more likely to garner defensive reactions than real change. In order to achieve fairer news coverage, we need to coopt rather than to reject the mainstream international media.

  6. zack
    November 10th, 2011 at 16:40 | #6

    when AJE first came out i had some pretty high hopes for it with respect to giving a voice to the global south-which would include China’s voice as well, but unfortunately, any and all reporting regarding China from AJE reporters tends to mimic those of their counterparts at the BBC-which i guess shouldn’t surprise me considering how many of AJE’s journalists/editors/station chiefs used to work for the BBC.

    You raise a good point regarding the propaganda campaign the TGIE has waged against country that was primarily (and arguably still is) isolationist in terms of interacting with the global commons. In my opinion, AJE tends to give more of a voice and favour the perspective of the TGIE-they just did an interview with the Tibetan Prime Minister this past week-so where, i wonder are their equal coverage of the Chinese perspective? Any reporting of China’s success is conducted in a sneering, cynical, pessimistic tone which i feel has more to do with it pandering to their targeted consumers-those in the West- or a reflection of the prejudices and fears of those selfsame BBC trained, usually Western reporters.

    AJE is just another CNN/BBC-sure they’re not as low brow as Fox News or Russia Today, but they’re not entirely impartial either. The reporting of the Libyan fiasco is one example of AJE being used as a media arm for the interests of their homebase in Qatar. So no, i disagree that they speak for ‘the global south’, or have ever attempted to do so without propagating their news through the lens of a western-centric perspective. They have always been, and perhaps always will be, another western media station that hopes with barely contained schadenfreude, for the supposed collapse of China.

  7. November 10th, 2011 at 17:08 | #7

    AJE is comprised of former BBC reporters. Their take on China is not unlike CNN or BBC. Their take on the Middle East, however, is uniquely different from the mainstream Western press.

    Naqshbandiyya made really good points:

    As a monolingual English speaker, I have a choice of about 10 million quality resources if I want to argue for Tibetan independence, but less than a dozen comparable resources to argue the opposite. If I were a journalist, it would be impossible to create balanced stories on Tibet in this kind of environment. For this reason, moaning about the bias of the news networks is more likely to garner defensive reactions than real change. In order to achieve fairer news coverage, we need to coopt rather than to reject the mainstream international media.

    However, I think moaning about the bias of the Western press is still important. Increasingly, more Chinese are waken to what is happening. This is essential to having enough people who on their own volition to want to help the West understand.

    As bloggers, we try to engage Western journalists, and I would hope regular readers to Hidden Harmonies do the same.

    I also think China is inching towards the direction of making more information available, as I have quoted here earlier in the year:

    In an unprecedented move, 13 departments under the CPC Central Committee and all departments under the State Council, the top court and the top procuratorate, as well as provincial-level Party committees and governments in 31 municipalities, provinces and autonomous regions on the Chinese mainland have designated their spokespersons.

    The names and telephone numbers of these spokespersons were released in both Chinese and English at the news conference.

    In the past year, central and provincial authorities also held 1,876 news conferences, 230 more than in 2009, according to figures from the State Council Information Office.

    This marks tremendous progress in improving information transparency, and the next step is to increase the professionalism of official spokespersons, a leading scholar said.

  8. Naqshbandiyya
    November 10th, 2011 at 19:27 | #8

    I generally agree with your analysis of Al Jazeera English. That they gave Lobsang Sangay a platform for his propaganda is as outrageous as if they gave a sympathetic interview to the head of the ETA. However, it is always a good strategy to identify your allies and your potential allies, and I believe AJE is a potential ally in a way that the BBC or CNN is not – AJE’s anti-China bias comes not out of ideology or national interest, but out of convenience.

    Activists need to expand the range of acceptable opinion so that adopting a pro-Chinese view on Tibet is seen not as “selling out to” or “being a mouthpiece of” the government, but as making a normal editorial decision. As much as AJE, CNN, et al. are shaped by a set of common values, they are economic competitors, and if one station can increase their viewership by pandering to underrepresented viewpoints within their target audience, they will. There is a hungry market for pro-China viewpoints in the West, as this blog’s readership shows; like yinyang says, we just need to be more self-aware and vocal about it.

  9. November 11th, 2011 at 13:01 | #9

    Some of the mainstream world media simply take the reporting from western US sources such as CNN and NYT as the default voice and will report based on those reports. It’s like stacking nonsense ontop of nonsense. It reminds me of the story the philosopher Wittgenstein said about a fool that bought two copies of the same newspaper so as to “verify” the accuracy of each.

    Journalists the world over are incredibly lazy people. Even if they aren’t lazy, they would still lack much of the educational and cognitive resources to successfully challenge US propaganda. The US media is very powerful in that regard in that it spreads the bias to other places without serious challenge.

  10. Citizen
    November 21st, 2011 at 01:12 | #10

    This is a fake and you are fools.

    CNN never ran this image. Al Jazeera never ran this image. The ‘Imperium Studio’ doesn’t exist.

    It’s not an Israeli soldier.

    It’s all in your heads – believing what you want to believe.

    The picture has been circulating for years, without the CNN, Al Jazeera and Imperium logos as an example of how opinion MIGHT be influenced by cropping images, with no suggestion that any news organisation had at any time shown the picture. Someone just added the logos at some point to make some imaginary point.

    I can’t find any suggestion anywhere – except here – that the soldiers are Israeli. Certainly not in the source you cite, or the discussion that followed. Everyone there assumed they were American.

    As Raventhorn puts it so poetically ‘All there is to lies is to take Truth out of Context, and imagine a new Truth from the hand shadows of its former self.’

    Ha ha ha

  11. Citizen
    November 21st, 2011 at 01:49 | #11

    OK. Ten minutes research instead of spouting second hand opinions about media bias would have shown you that the picture is actually of an American soldier in Iraq in 2003.

    There’s no indication it was ever run on CNN or Al Jazeera, but it was widely reproduced – in its entirety, with NO cropping – in US papers and on Fox, with the caption ‘US soldiers from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit give an Iraqi soldier water from a canteen’. Google it.

    And the image comes from AP by the way.

    The imaginary cropping and the way you sucked it up is a hilarious example of real manipulation.

    ‘If a picture is worth a thousand words, a picture from CNN is worth a thousand lies.’

    Ha ha ha ha

  12. zack
    November 21st, 2011 at 02:17 | #12

    tall claims, trolls

    got the proof to back up them claims?

  13. Citizen
    November 21st, 2011 at 07:37 | #13

    Zack, yinyang – you talk about propaganda and prejudice – but like everyone else here, you only see what you want to see.

    Here’s the pic of the marines(uncropped) from CBS


    There are plenty of other examples from US media. All with uncropped image. Like I say, google it.

    In fact, here’s a whole article about the picture and the guy with the water, whose name is Donald, known as Bubba. He had a dog called Dakota. I can’t find any trace of the image on Al Jazeera or CNN.


    Here’s a piece about how the picture MIGHT be cropped if someone wanted to mislead (still without the logos)


    Here’s an informed discussion from a year ago about how the manipulation was simply not done by the media


    By the time it got to Zee M Kane, those lying logos (and the completely bogus Imperium logo) had been added. Somehow between there and Hidden Harmonies the soldiers also turned Israeli.

    yinyang – you are the one telling a lie. You are the one peddling bullshit. Hold yourself to the standards you demand of others and admit it. And then explain to us why you fell for an obvious fake.

    ‘It’s like stacking nonsense ontop of nonsense’

    Ho ho

  14. November 21st, 2011 at 10:54 | #14

    Thanks for the CBS link. I’ve updated the OP to say they are American soldiers.

    But everything else you have shown didn’t disprove it. I’ll spend more time researching into it. Why did I fell for an “obvious fake?”

    CNN have always lied.

  15. zack
    November 21st, 2011 at 13:03 | #15

    uhuh, so exactly what is your point?

    if anything all your posts and “evidence” merely corroborates the crux of this thread; that media is manipulated to present a certain view. whether or not the soldiers were American or Israeli is irrelevant; the context in which they were used-with the croppings of the pictures- speaks volumes about the desired effect they were meant to achieve.
    Why do you think sites like hiddenharmonies exist? the very same techniques were used in the Tibet riots in order to convey a particular biased viewpoint-propaganda some would say.
    so exactly what have you achieved here, in your triumphalism? you certainly haven’t disproven this thread.

    sorry, try again.

  16. Citizen
    November 21st, 2011 at 20:17 | #16

    Zack, yinyang. Happy to try again.

    This image is presented of evidence of how CNN and Al Jazeera misrepresent the truth. According to yinyang it’s an example of ‘bullshit’, and ‘lies’.

    Its stated in this thread that:

    1. This is an Israeli soldier (it isn’t)

    2. CNN ran the cropped image on the right (absolutely no evidence of this anywhere)

    3. Al Jazeera ran the cropped image on the left (absolutely no evidence of this anywhere)

    4. The original picture comes from Imperium Studio (no such entity – it’s from AP)

    5. It’s an example of ‘bullshit’ and ‘lies’ from CNN

    Well, in fact the whole uncropped original was widely shown in US and world media in 2003. Here’s a few more examples, including Fox:

    http://photos.signonsandiego.com/iraq-year – SD Union Tribune

    http://blogs.denverpost.com/captured/2010/03/20/on-war-seven-years-of-war-in-iraq/1609/ – Denver Post


    You show me where CNN or Al Jazeera ran the image, cropped or uncropped. You and yinyang made extensive claims based on that image and its reasonable you should have some, any evidence to back them up. Anything at all, apart from this single image…I can’t find ANY news organisation that ran the cropped image, plenty that ran it uncropped. No sign at all that CNN or Al Jazeera ever touched it.

    Seriously, Prove me wrong. Or if you think my evidence isn’t good enough, tell me what evidence would satisfy you.

    In fact we can easily trace the genesis of the image and the cropped versions. There’s a heap of examples of this circulating, without the CNN, Imperium and Al Jazeera tags as an example of how media MIGHT manipulate. See the Reddit discussion, or here:


    Absolutely no suggestion anywhere here that CNN or Al Jazeera had anything to do with this composite.

    Note also the black and white ‘cropped’ sections. You think CNN and Al Jazeera run B&W?

    In fact, as numerous people point out, the composite image is hypothetical – how a photo could be cropped if someone wanted to make a point. No suggestion that it ever has been, let alone that it was specifically CNN or Al Jazeera.

    And then someone added the logos, and what do you know, the suckers here fell for it, because that’s the sort of thing CNN do isn’t it?

    Since you seem to be missing the point, let me repeat it. You fell for the image manipulation here – you are the dupe. No one published the cropped images. The only ‘bullshit’ here comes from you and yinyang.

    You call it triumphalism – I call it an exquisite irony. You fell hook line and sinker for exactly the manipulative, misrepresentative trick you think you’re exposing. And you did it through sheer prejudice.

    ‘Journalism has become hand shadow puppetry, the art of projecting lies in the shadow of the light.’

    Hee hee

  17. November 21st, 2011 at 22:22 | #17

    @Citizen #16

    @Citizen #13

    Personally, I appreciate your contributions with these two comments. The links you gave referenced comments that were insightful and well placed.

    From my perspective, I think we did get duped here. I think we stepped too far and tried to argue too much. The core point being made however, the point that pictures – which many take to be worth a thousand words – and to constitute priceless evidence – can be easily manipulated to support propaganda however still rings true in my mind.

    I’ll let yinyang and zack say what they want, but from me, I say to you: cudos. Your comments are much appreciated.

  18. November 21st, 2011 at 22:46 | #18

    Citizen – you are probably right. I took time today to look for it (as I said in my prior comment) and couldn’t find evidence of CNN or Aljazeera printing the cropped version. Sounds like the image indeed was to make the point how media MIGHT crop.

    I’ve updated the OP to reflect.

    Hi All (zack and others who commented here),

    I am sorry to have mislead you into believing this was a published photo. This is a reminder I should do my homework next time before relaying materials on the web. Given CNN’s history of lies, I hope you will understand why I was eager to re-publish this material. But that’s no excuse, and again I apologize.

  19. Citizen
    November 21st, 2011 at 23:12 | #19

    Kudos to Allen and yinyang for the correction.

    BTW where did the Israeli idea come from?

  20. November 22nd, 2011 at 09:06 | #20

    I read a comment at Zee M Kane Google+ post where someone referenced the soldiers as Israeli.

  21. Citizen
    November 22nd, 2011 at 16:13 | #21

    yinyang – Nope. No such comment at Zee M Kane Google+. The Israeli idea was entirely your invention.

    ‘ See the shadow on the Wall, it’s not my hands, it’s a horse, a rabbit, a bird. It could be any thing the hands desired.’

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