Fauxtographic Farces at the Guardian

A Guest Post by AKUS

In the space of a couple of days the Guardian has managed to tag articles with archival photographs that seem to prove that the editorial crew there has completely lost its bearings when it comes to Israel.

The first was the use of a picture of chicken coops in Beijing to illustrate an absurd article on November 9th by Harriet “ChickenLady” Sherwood about the misery inflicted on chickens in Israel. Never mind that the entire population of Israel, as a well-worn joke goes, would barely fill a hotel in China, and the number of persecuted chickens in China, or, for that matter far closer to the Guardian’s headquarters in London would vastly outnumber those in Israel. This farcical article was front and center on “World News/Israel” for the Guardian. As has been well reported here the fauxtograph, purportedly showing a vicious Israeli persecuting chickens was actually of a Chinese worker, with the caption:

A worker feeds chickens at a poultry farm in Beijing. Activists in Israel have set up a hidden webcam televising the plight of caged chickens at one Israeli farm Photograph: China Photos/Getty Images

Note the typically shaded language: In China, a worker “feeds chickens”. How humanitarian! But in Israel, caged chickens face a “plight”. No food for you, Israeli chickens!! (h/t – Seinfeld – “the Soup Nazi”).

November 11th brings a new example of the Guardian’s fauxtography – the use of a picture of the Mavi Marmara interception to illustrate an unrelated article in “World News/Gaza”. The caption reads:

Israeli commandos intercept the Mavi Marmara in May. Two of those on board are also on the boat surrounded by Libyan warships. Photograph: Kate Geraghty/Getty Images

It’s a complicated story which you can read in full here. But the Guardian’s header, which reads like a synopsis of the plot of a Marx Brothers movie – perhaps a version of “A Night in Casablanca” – reveals that this has nothing to do with the Mavi Marmara except that “survivors” from the Mavi Marmara are on board:

Gaza aid team trapped on Greek boat

Six British volunteers and Mavi Marmara survivors among those on Strofades IV shadowed by Libyan warships after captain ‘fled port’

Note the typically biased language used by the Guardian – the idiots on the ship are an “aid team” who “survived” the Mavi Marmara.  Survived what? An attempt to kill Israeli soldiers that backfired?

As the Libyans set out to chase this captain-less rogue ship on the high seas to try to reclaim the ship or get paid for the damage and port fees the Guardian seized on the chance to give the faithful a picture of – Israeli Seals intercepting the Mavi Marmara which has absolutely nothing to do with this case. Remember – this is a Greek ship, not Turkish, which is being chased by Libyans, not intercepted by Israelis!! One might expect to see a picture of a Greek ship or flag, and Libyan naval vessels or flags – but it is so much more likely to attract the Israel-bashing punters if you can flash them a picture of Israelis intercepting the Mavi Marmora!

As if that attempt to whitewash the convoy’s Marx Brothers folly was not enough, the Guardian cannot resist adding the following to play on the survival theme:

“As well as the British volunteers, two Irish, one Algerian and three Libyan officials are on the ship. Among them is Ken O’Keefe, a former US marine, who is a survivor of the Isaeli attack on the Mavi Marmara off Gaza in May this year.”

O’Keefe “survived” … what? Israel tried to make sure no one was harmed and the attack was directed at the Israeli Seals, who had the audacity to fight back – and beat their attackers off.

The Guardian has created a Greek tragedy … er, farce … from this ridiculous episode. In its silly attempt to support its favored cause, Gaza, and to show this foolish convoy in a positive light, it stoops to the best trick it knows – using fauxtography and Orwellian double talk make it appear as if Israel is involved even when it has absolutely nothing to do with this episode. Or Chinese chickens, for that matter.

18 replies »

  1. Time for Duvidl’s new chicken song:

    Hey Georgie Henry
    (to the tune of: “Hey Little Hen,” by Joe Loss)

    Hey Georgie Hen-ry,
    When, when when-ry
    Will you give me some faux-tography?
    Hey Georgie Hen-ry,
    When, when, when-ry
    Will you kindly supply some for me?

    In the Guardian chicken coup,
    On simple truth they poop.
    From Georgie’s chicken troop,
    We make Guardian chicken soup.

    Hey Georgie Hen-ry,
    When, when, when-ry
    Will you give me some faux-tography?
    Hey Georgie Hen-ry,
    When, when, when-ry
    Will you kindly supply some for me?

    On old boilers Kath and George,
    And Harriet too, we’ll gorge.
    That’s chicken soup both warm and wet.
    It’s a soup you won’t regret.

    Hey Georgie Hen-ry,
    When, when, when-ry
    Will you give me some faux-tography?
    Hey Georgie Hen-ry,
    When, when, when-ry
    Will you kindly supply some for me?

    DS Al Coda

  2. Great piece, Akus. The Guardian’s captions/photos/headlines seem at times to be inspired by the editorial standards of Soviet Pravda

  3. Akus you and IsraeliNurse seem to be engaged in a broader undeclared battle asking for truth in journalism. It would signal the beginning of a return to a more sane world if you succeeded even slightly.

  4. Posted by Siamak on November 12, 2010 at 4:06pm
    3.45pm GMT – RELIEF!!! good news!!! – KIERAN
    has PHONED from Ship currently docking at “a” Greek Harbour. ALL ARE
    “SAFE”. Greek commandos “being lovely, speaking english, looking after
    us really well, very sympathetic”. Expecting to walk onto dry land
    soon, being looked after by Greek authorities. UK embassy staff the…re,
    to support our guys.

    Well maybe stabbing them and ganging up on them with axes and iron bars would have made them a bit less friendly.

  5. The reference to O’Keefe as a “survivor” has now appeared in both articles in the Guardian dealing with this bizarre incident. Apparently Owen Bowcott has drunk deeply from the chalice of anti-Israeli poison that seems to be so full in Ireland.

  6. Note the irish connection again – what is wrong with these people? As their economy sinks into the Irish Sea, they should be worrying about Ireland, not Gaza.

    LONDON — One of several activists hoping to take aid to Gaza onboard a Greek ship denied Saturday they had tried to hijack the vessel and said they had been trapped onboard without food and water for several days.

    Irish filmmaker David Callander, 35, said the activists had paid 82,000 dollars through an agent to hire the Strofades IV to take aid to Gaza, but the ship’s captain “went mental” as they tried to set off earlier this week.

    Asked whether he was free to leave now the ship was in port, Callander said the Libyans were freed earlier Saturday but he was told to stay.

    “They were released today, seven of them. We tried to go with them and then we were physically dragged back onto the ship and a soldier said if I tried to get off the ship then he’d shoot me,” he said.


    I wonder if the Guardian will refer to him as a a “survivor of the Strofades IV”?

  7. CNN reports that Greek commandos boarded the vessel carrying the ‘Gaza aid’ crew. From the picture we gather that they were met quite meekly. There are no chains or iron poles or knives in sight. So we see that it’s not being boarded that our heroes objected to, but it was being boarded by Israelis that distressed them so.

  8. Great article by Tom Friedman in the NY Times:

    I Believe I Can Fly
    Published: November 13, 2010

    Reading the headlines these days, I can’t help but repeat this truism: If you jump off the top of an 80-story building, for 79 floors you can think you’re flying. It’s the sudden stop at the end that tells you you’re not. It’s striking to me how many leaders and nations are behaving today as though they think they can fly — and ignoring that sudden stop at the end that’s sure to come.

    Where to begin? Well, first there’s Israel’s prime minister, Bibi Netanyahu, who has been telling everyone how committed he is to peace with the Palestinians while refusing to halt settlement building as a prerequisite for negotiations. At a time when Israel already has 300,000 settlers in the West Bank, Bibi says he can’t possibly take another pause in building to test whether the Palestinian government of President Mahmoud Abbas — a man Israelis say is the best Palestinian security partner Israel has ever had — can forge a safe two-state deal for Israel. The U.S. is now basically trying to bribe Bibi to reverse his position. Maybe he will, but it’s unseemly to watch and doesn’t bode well. Rather than take the initiative and say to Arabs and Palestinians, “You want a settlement freeze? Here it is, now let’s see what you’re ready to agree to,” Netanyahu toys with President Obama, makes Israel look like it wants land more than peace and risks never forging a West Bank deal — thereby permanently absorbing its 2.5 million Palestinians and eventually no longer having a Jewish majority. That’s the sudden stop at the end — unless the next war comes first. But, for now, Bibi seems to think he can fly.

  9. MTC

    Friedman wrote:

    Rather than take the initiative and say to Arabs and Palestinians, “You want a settlement freeze? Here it is, now let’s see what you’re ready to agree to,”

    But that’s exactly what he did do, and the Palestinians, as usual, agreed to nothing.

    Friedman has become a glib know-it-all. When you peel back his articles a little, you find that he is little more than a kind of political gossip monger, scavenging quotes on globalization, the ME, China from various people his position at the NYT provides him with.

  10. MTC – about that Hitchens article:

    Then, worryingly soon after I left, the area was pulverised with high explosive. I don’t know if the Israeli air force waited for me to leave, or just walloped the tunnels anyway.

    There is a special unit in the IAF that reports directly to the Prime Minister that tracks Peter Hitchens whereabouts and makes sure the pilots avoid him when they bomb Hamas. They do this with a beeper that the Mossad implanted in his brain.

  11. AKUS:
    Haven’t you read the news today ? Bibi has used the “freeze” to negotiate with Obama, not with Abbas. Friedman is spot-on : what impression do these tactics make on everyone ? The point is that Bibi can operate this cycle ad nauseum: negotiate with the Americans and get a few airplanes, etc, during which time the settlers play catch-up construction, then drag out negotiations with the Palestinians for three months and achieve nothing, then start negotiations all over again with the Americans, etc, etc …..

    The point Friedman is making is that each cycle is like falling another floor but eventually he will hit reality. I agree that superficially that is “what he did do”, but it is really a question of attitude and sincerity.

  12. AKUS:

    … and I’m sure that you don’t disagree with Friedman’s campaign to promote alternate energy sources to reduce dependence on Mideast oil. (did you read the entire article?)