Saturday, August 05, 2006

Conspiracy Theories

The recent bombing at Qana followed by the splashing of
the dead children's photos across the front page of newspapers
further highlights bias in the press. This event was well
documented at EU referendom, and I think it is obvious
that the photos were staged by hezbollah and photographed
by the press. If one photo shows one guy holding a dead
child, then a second photo shows another guy holding the
same dead child in the same place in the same pose, then
I'd say it's reasonable to say the photos were staged or

This issue was discussed on the daily telegraph's blog:

But he's not asking any of those things. His contention is that this is a staged photo. Like Kevin Costner in Oliver Stone's JFK, North gives us, in laborious detail, the fruits of his 'research'. I'll let you read the argument in its full glory.

Now I have to admit that I have a problem with conspiracy theorists whatever their stripe. Their method is to promote the facts that fit their beliefs, rather than the other way around. Their motive is to create enough doubt obscure the real issue.

These armchair photo experts speculate on whether this rescue worker has enough dust on him, or whether that pile of bricks has landed at an angle consistent with the bombing. Arguing with these people is pointless; if you disagree with them it's because you're biased.

The writer's argument is bad, he set's up a series of straw men
then half-way knocks them down, not even worth fisking. What's more
interesting is he's quick to label this as a quacky conspiracy theory, when I
seriously doubt he takes the same tack with other nutty conspiracy
that don't match his worldview.

So as an expirement, let me google the writer, Shane Richmond, along with
"conspiracy theories", and what do I find? he's got a pretty good column attacking conspiracy theories that maybe shows his real bias.

No matter what happens, it’s always possible for a conspiracy theorist to find ‘evidence’ of a hidden agenda. Indeed, they often don’t need evidence, the very lack of it constitutes proof for these people.

If they can pose a question that can’t be answered, this somehow counts as proof of their version of events. Offer an answer and you’re back in “how convenient” territory again.


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