September 15, 2005

One Picture Is Worth A Thousand Lies 

It is true that images can convey much more information than words, but there also downsides to this. If we don't know the context to which a single image belongs we can end up being misled. If you see the picture of a guy standing with a gun in his hand in front of another guy sprawled on the floor bleeding, you may conclude that the standing man shot the other. But the truth can be that the fallen folk was attacked by thugs and the armed one came in his help.

And if the image is staged or propaganda, or even worse faked, the negative effects of the information it conveys will be amplified.

Case in point, this incident noticed by Jihad Watch: the notorious CAIR - a so-called civil rights organization that seems much more intent on defending Islam and eradicating Christianity than anything else - published a picture of a group of Muslims, and with a crude photoshop job they added an hijab on the head of a woman who was otherwise unveiled.

I can't quite figure out the reasons of this stunt, but it is likely to be a concession to "Islamic correctness": a woman without hijab is truly shocking for the radicals. It may even give the impression that another form of Islam is possible.

But even worse, this is trying to re-write history. An hijab added here, a cross erased there... an you'll end up with a whole artificial vision of the world. The endpoint is North Korea, where the population is kept largely isolated from the outside world and subjected to relentless propaganda and indoctrination. The result? Many students sincerely believe that Kim Il Sung and Jong were geniuses in any end every field - because in NK a lot of scientific books are attributed to the two tyrants and not their real authors. And even worse memes.

We live in an age where it's easier both to spread information and to manipulate it for lowly purposes. We must learn and be aware, not to be fooled.


We must learn and be aware, not to be fooled.

This is especially true in a time when the media is shamelessly propagandistic even in free countries.


I don't think the media are particularly propagandistic in this age; what is different is that we are more aware of this fact, and we have more means to check their stories and spread the knowledge of distortion, slant and outright lies.
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