Former George W. Bush speech writer and current Senior Editor at The Atlantic David Frum has leveled a severe accusation at both the New York Times and Reuters – that they created “fake photos” of Palestinians suffering in Gaza. The author of the famous “Axis of Evil” line claimed that the New York Times and Reuters staged photos in a Gaza hospital where two brothers were dealing with the consequences of an Israeli strike on their home.
One brother was reportedly drenched in his father’s blood which led to a conspiracy theory to start from Thomas Wictor who claimed the photo was staged with fake blood. Frum decided to run with it rather than fact check Wictor.
Given that Frum’s eight tweets had the potential reach of 800,000 pairs of eyeballs, not to mention the retweets, follow up links and fomentation it spawned, what is worth the effort is taking these allegations — similar to others being made more out of passion than logic during this horrible last month in the Middle East — and exposing them for how misguided they are. Certainly, these organizations have better uses of their time right now — including, keeping their photographers alive while adhering to ethical standards — without having to contend with libelous charges being leveled on impulse…
As a clinician myself, I can’t say that emotional trauma has any one way of presenting, although shock and extreme grief, if excruciating, can often be absent tears. On the other hand, if there is a more obvious set of behavior evident in all this, it’s Frum’s eagerness to impugn the Palestinians, these media organizations and photojournalism on top of Wictor’s ineptitude.
The New York Times, Reuters, and the Associated Press stand by their photos and deny they staged or faked any of them.
The decision by The Atlantic to make David Frum a Senior Editor is proving to be more of a mistake every day. Frum was never a serious intellectual, his chief achievement is in self-promotion but going on TV at every opportunity is not indicative of having something worth saying.