CNN's Anderson Cooper exposed how Hezbollah manipulates the news, and how media allow themselves to be manipulated:
Civilian casualties are clearly what Hezbollah wants foreign reporters to focus on. It keeps the attention off them -- and questions about why Hezbollah should still be allowed to have weapons when all the other militias in Lebanon have already disarmed.
CNN's Anderson Cooper Exposes Hezbollah's Media Manipulations
Cooper explained how Hezbollah stages ambulance calls, shepherds correspondents through Beirut and ensures that they see only what they are supposed to see and photgraph only what they are supposed to photograph. And he explains how media photographer dutifully cooperate, taking photos of faked ambulance emergences. Rich Noyes has the story at Newsbusters (below)
Posted by Rich Noyes on July 25, 2006 - 17:54.
On Monday’s "Anderson Cooper 360," CNN’s Anderson Cooper related his visit to a Hezbollah-controlled section of Beirut where he was supposed to photograph certain damaged buildings, part of the terrorist group’s strategy of generating news stories about Lebanese civilian casualities caused by Israeli bombs.
But instead of merely transmitting Hezbollah’s unverified and unverifiable claims to the outside world, Cooper — to his credit — exposed the efforts by Hezbollah to manipulate CNN and other Western reporters. It’s quite a contrast from the much more accommodating approach taken by his colleague, Nic Robertson, in a report that aired on a variety of CNN programs (including AC360) back on July 18, a report that Robertson himself has now conceded was put together under Hezbollah's control.
Unlike Robertson, Cooper was explicit about how Hezbollah’s operatives had set all of the rules: “Young men on motor scooters followed our every movement. They only allowed us to videotape certain streets, certain buildings,” he explained. He countered Hezbollah claims that Israel targets civilians by pointing out that the group based itself in civilian areas and that Israel's air force drops leaflets warning of attacks.
... the sight of speeding ambulances, sirens blaring, was just a phony play staged by Hezbollah: “One by one, they’ve been told to turn on their sirens and zoom off so that all the photographers here can get shots of ambulances rushing off to treat civilians....These ambulances aren’t responding to any new bombings. The sirens are strictly for effect.”
CNN showed cameramen from other news organizations dutifully photographing the ambulances as they went by.
"...we found ourselves with other foreign reporters taken on a guided tour by Hezbollah. Young men on motor scooters followed our every movement. They only allowed us to videotape certain streets, certain buildings. Once, when they thought we'd videotaped them, they asked us to erase the tape. These men are called al-Shabab, Hezbollah volunteers who are the organization's eyes and ears.”
He continued: “Hezbollah representatives are with us now but don't want to be photographed. They'll point to something like that and they'll say, ‘Well, look, this is a store.’ The civilians lived in this building. This is a residential complex.
“And while that may be true, what the Israelis will say is that Hezbollah has their offices, their leadership has offices and bunkers even in residential neighborhoods. And if you're trying to knock out the Hezbollah leadership with air strikes, it's very difficult to do that without killing civilians.
“As bad as this damage is, it certainly could have been much worse in terms of civilian casualties. Before they started heavily bombing this area, Israeli warplanes did drop leaflets in this area, telling people to get out. The civilian death toll, though, has angered many Lebanese. Even those who do not support Hezbollah are outraged by the pictures they've seen on television of civilian casualties.”
As the video showed a group reporters and photographers interviewing a single woman on a blanket, Cooper explained, “Civilian casualties are clearly what Hezbollah wants foreign reporters to focus on. It keeps the attention off them -- and questions about why Hezbollah should still be allowed to have weapons when all the other militias in Lebanon have already disarmed.
“After letting us take pictures of a few damaged buildings, they take us to another location, where there are ambulances waiting.
“...When we got here, all the ambulances were lined up. We were allowed a few minutes to talk to the ambulance drivers. Then one by one, they've been told to turn on their sirens and zoom off so that all the photographers here can get shots of ambulances rushing off to treat civilians...
“These ambulances aren't responding to any new bombings. The sirens are strictly for effect.”
...Full story at Newsbusters
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