During his speech to the National Newspaper Publishers’ Conference on August 28, 2006, The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP, former, Australia said he was disappointed with some of the recent reporting out of the Middle East, which he believed believe has brought discredit upon the Western media. He said:
“What concerns me greatly is the evidence of dishonesty in the reporting out of Lebanon. For example, a Reuters photographer was forced to resign after doctoring images to exaggerate the impact of Israeli air attacks.
There were the widely-reported claims that Israel had bombed deliberately a Red Cross ambulance. In subsequent weeks, the world has discovered those allegations do not stand up to even the most rudimentary scrutiny.
After closer study of the images of the damage to the ambulance, it is beyond serious dispute that this episode has all the makings of a hoax.
Yet some of the world’s most prestigious media outlets, including some of those represented here today, ran that story as fact – unchallenged, unquestioned.
Similarly, there has been the tendency to report every casualty on the Lebanese side of the conflict as if a civilian casualty, when it was indisputable that a great many of those injured or killed in Israeli offensives were armed Hezbollah combatants.
My point is this: in a grown-up society such as our own, the media cannot expect to get away with parading falsehoods as truths, or ignoring salient facts because they happen to be inconvenient to the line of argument – or narrative – that particular journalists, or media organisations, might choose to adopt on any given controversy or issue.