Mary Katharine Ham

Does the mainstream press ever wonder why conservatives distrust them so much?

If so, they need look no further than the “fauxtography” scandals of the last couple of weeks. Conservative bloggers have been hard at work sniffing out suspected fakery and staging in the photos sent back on the newswires from the Israel/Hezbollah conflict, and the investigation got pretty smelly.

First, there was Reutersgate, in which the international news organization had to pull a photo and fire a freelance photographer because he clumsily Photoshopped thicker smoke into the skyline of Beirut.

This incident got bloggers wondering what other photographic evidence of Israeli aggression had been Photoshopped or staged into existence, and just how complicit the news media was in the fakery. They came up with a photo by the same Reuters photographer, in which he had added flares to a photograph of an Israeli plane, and called them missiles.

But that was just the beginning. There was Green Helmet Guy, who seemed to be ever-present at the sites of Israeli “atrocities,” always making the most of the evidence of civilian casualties. He even played director to international news crews and photographers, showing them how to get the best shots of Lebanese casualties.

Then there was the “Passion of the Toys,” in which brand-new toys—poignant symbols of childhood innocence—seemed to keep popping up, perfectly framed by the destruction of war, yet strangely unscathed by it.

Oh, but it doesn’t stop there. Later came the “unluckiest multiple home owner in Lebanon,” photographed on several occasions, weeping in front of her several homes, bombed by several Israeli airstrikes. Then, we have the New York Times’ pieta, in which a rescue worker was carelessly identified as a victim of an airstrike when, in fact, he had been injured while working in the area. And, the flaming tire atrocity. And, the time Hezbollah bombed an Israeli ship in Australia.

Mary Katharine Ham

Mary Katharine Ham is editor-at-large of, a contributor to Townhall Magazine.

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