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Cadillac Maniac
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Of course, I didn't write this.. Here it is...

Anatomy of a Photograph


An analysis of a single seemingly innocuous photograph, and the pervasive media bias it reveals.

My photo essay of the anti-war protest in San Francisco on September 24, 2005 was not the only report done about the event. A few other outlets ran their own coverage. But the one photo from the rally that was seen by the most people was this:


Why? Because the San Francisco Chronicle, which had the only mainstream media coverage of the rally, published this photograph on the front page of its Web site as a teaser for their article about the event.

Now, let's take a closer look at this image.


By chance, I took a photo of the same girl just a few moments later. Looks practically identical, doesn't it?

But you might notice that my picture is lower resolution. That's because it's a zoomed-in portion of a much larger photograph. I cropped off the other parts of the picture to get a close-up of the girl.

But what would happen if I hadn't cropped off so much? Let's take a step backward and reveal what the San Francisco Chronicle didn't want you to see.


Here's the same photo without as much cropping, revealing more of the context. You can see that the girl's protest contingent also sported Palestinian flags and obscene placards.

Now let's take another step back.



Here's my full original photo, uncropped. Now we can see that the girl is just one of several teenagers, all wearing terrorist-style bandannas covering their faces.

But, as you'll notice, the bandannas are all printed with the same design. Was this a grassroots protest statement the teenagers had come up with all by themselves?

To find out, let's take a look at another photo in the series, taken at the same time:



Oops -- it looks like they're actually being stage-managed by an adult, who is giving them directions and guiding them toward the front of the march. But who is she?

The last picture in the series reveals all.



It turns out that the woman giving directions belongs to one of the Communist groups organizing the rally -- if her t-shirt is to be believed, since it depicts the flag of Communist Vietnam, which has been frequently displayed by such groups at protest rallies in the U.S. for decades.


The San Francisco Chronicle featured the original photograph on its front Web page in order to convey a positive message about the rally -- perhaps that even politically aware teenagers were inspired to show up and rally for peace, sporting the message, "People of Color say 'No to War!'" And that served the Chronicle's agenda.

But this simple analysis reveals the very subtle but insidious type of bias that occurs in the media all the time. The Chronicle did not print an inaccuracy, nor did it doctor a photograph to misrepresent the facts. Instead, the Chronicle committed the sin of omission: it told you the truth, but it didn't tell you the whole truth.

Because the whole truth -- that the girl was part of a group of naive teenagers recruited by Communist activists to wear terrorist-style bandannas and carry Palestinian flags and obscene placards -- is disturbing, and doesn't conform to the narrative that the Chronicle is trying to promote. By presenting the photo out of context, and only showing the one image that suits its purpose, the Chronicle is intentionally manipulating the reader's impression of the rally, and the rally's intent.

Such tactics -- in the no-man's-land between ethical and unethical -- are commonplace in the media, and have been for decades. It is only now, with the advent of citizen journalism, that we can at last begin to see the whole story and realize that the public has been manipulated like this all along.
 

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It is funny how the media always say they only report the news and not make.
WHich is not true any more.
the first picture looks the same as the rest but the more you look the more different it is . The could just another person to wear the same thing.
The head band is a different colour.
And why is this guy so upset about the tee shirt, on the adult.
It could have been a CF shirt.( clean and fits, I have alot of those lol)
This person has just put his own spin on that he want people to believe
 
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