Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Camera Never Lies

“The camera never lies,” they say. Well it does, and it does so with increasing frequency on your TV news these days.

There were a number of occasions when this became particularly clear to me. One was an image of a reporter on the front-line in Afghanistan during the invasion in 2002. He was ducked behind a line of troops in a trench. But there was something wrong with the set-up; the “troops” were Afghan – supposedly members of the Northern Alliance - but their uniforms were brand new.

Since when have you seen Afghan fighters wearing uniforms even, let along brand new ones?

It was so obviously a fake. It was clear from the looks on their faces and the general air of dishevelment and lack of discipline that these weren’t troops at all, but just a bunch of guys off the street dressed up to look like troops, straight from the prop department of the Pentagon.

I wish I had that bit of film to show to you. It was hilarious. There was the reporter with his serious face reeling out all this portentous nonsense, with his flak jacket and his helmet, clutching his microphone, making out that the Taliban were just over the other side, while behind him a bunch of scruffy Afghan peasants were lying in a ditch pretending to be troops, picking their noses and having a laugh.

Another was a shot of the “rebel” army in Haiti in 2004. They were overthrowing President Aristide, the democratically elected leader at the time.

But while the news reports were all making out that this was an internal matter – rebels vs government - it was so obvious from the look of them that this was no ordinary rebel army.

They were too well dressed and too well fed. They were toned and muscled, with tight tee-shirts showing off their abs, with back-to-front baseball caps, clutching the latest in US-made high tech weaponry.

They were so obviously Western-trained mercenaries in the pay of the US government, a point made clear when Aristide was later escorted from the country at gunpoint by the CIA.

This at a time when we were supposed to be promoting world-democracy.

The most famous example however is the one where they pulled down Saddam’s statue in Baghdad.

It looked like a large crowd of ordinary Iraqis celebrating the end of the dictatorship. If you remember they made a great to-do about explaining the insult of people banging the statue’s face with a shoe. But any perspective would have told a different story.

The “crowd” consisted of 150 selected individuals, while the square itself was nearly empty. The shot was a set-up, as later independent photographs (above) made clear. Notice the presence of American tanks guarding the square and ask youself why this shot or one from a similar perspective was never shown on your National TV News.

So you have to beware. Nothing is quite what it seems. Most of the real news is being hidden from us, while, in it’s place, we have fakery and deception, smoke and mirrors, sleight of hand.

You have to watch the news very carefully these days; not to find out the truth: to find out the lies.

No comments: