TEARING DOWN THE STATUE….PART 3….Remember those two photos of the statue toppling in Baghdad that I posted on Thursday? One is the scene on TV, a closely cropped shot that seems to show a large crowd, while the other is a wide angle shot posted on IndyMedia that shows the square virtually empty, with no more than a hundred Iraqis present.
On Saturday I followed up based on a critique of the IndyMedia photo from “M.D.,” but I was still skeptical. It turns out that M.D. is Michael Dunham, a Yale student, and last night he wrote me an email pointing to a follow-up post of his own, which you can read here. Most importantly, he has a picture of CNN’s coverage of the statue toppling that’s time stamped 6:53 PM, and it pretty clearly shows a larger crowd than the IndyMedia photo. My conclusions:
The photo that was posted on IndyMedia was definitely misleading. It’s now obvious that it was taken well after the statue was toppled and much of the crowd has dispersed.
The size of the crowd in the CNN shot looks to me to be around 200-300 people, some of whom are American soldiers. The major media coverage, therefore, still strikes me as deceptive, clearly giving the impression of a hug mob of joyous Iraqis in central Baghdad when in fact it was a fairly modest gathering, especially for an hour-long event in a city of 5 million.
Once again, I’m not suggesting there was any serious chicanery on the part of the major media. They like drama, they like closely cropped shots, they like showing the United States winning, and that’s what they ran with. Nevertheless, it was a less than honest performance.