In an iReport World, Who Can We Trust?

Real or Photoshopped?In the mid-2008 media world, every network, blog, and news website wants to break the big impact story in times of developing news. For hours after a 5.3 magnitude earthquake centered near Chino Hills, ~30 miles from LA, rocked Southern California, all of the major networks and their websites continued carrying the news with a red BREAKING NEWS flag attached. But other than shaking up millions of people and scattering items off of shelves, there was no “news” to break (at least as of 4pm, more than 4 hours after the initial temblor).

The photo above first aired on CNN and was sent in by someone who was supposedly in the supermarket at the time — what CNN terms as an iReporter. Sure, it is very possible that many of the paper goods were shaken to the ground during the 15-20 seconds in which the ground, building, and everything else shook. But how are we to know when to believe whether a photo or video is faked, fabricated, or Photoshopped? CNN’s iReport Terms of Use addresses nothing about photo manipulation or regulations. And, to be fair, it’s not just citizen reporters that purposely fake photos for effect or attention, there are the memorable lessons in photojournalism fakery brought to us by the likes of Reuters, the LA Times and most recently, the Iranian government (and here are more.

Considering the small size and low resolution of the above photo, I won’t venture to investigate the possibility that it was digitally manipulated or whether it’s an honest to goodness eyewitness photo. But below, you’ll see a few surveillance camera or eyewitness camera viewpoint of what is clearly either real footage of the earthquake and it’s after affects, or simply fakes.

REAL:

Surveillance video from Incycle Bicycles store in San Dimas (~12 miles from the epicenter)

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Clinton Concession Looming?

There were several points in tonight’s debate in which Hillary Clinton seemed — rhetorically, at least — to be getting near the end of her game campaign-wise. Undoubtedly running out of steam — her campaign initially figured on securing the nomination after February 5 — she had very little going her way tonight. For every time she slammed Bush policies, she used them to back up her own, not to mention her complicity in shaping many failed Bush policies (Obama joined the Senate in January 2005, well after Congress allowed BushCo to open up the trap doors to Quagmire-ville).

I thought she was gonna cry again toward the end as she waxed sentimental in a way reminiscent of her pre-New Hampshire speech. But it was a strong closing in that she sounded warm and almost likeable even as she shifts her speech from saying “I will” to “I would …. as president.”

But in my opinion Clinton shot herself in the foot with the poorly-timed and horribly-received “change you can Xerox” line. CNN and AP immediately seized on this line, with AP calling it an accusation of “political plagiarism.”

In a typical two-faced HRC maneuver, however, she followed the Xerox line by arguing “If you look at the YouTube of these videos, it does raise questions.” (No really, look at the YouTube below….) I actually admired the iconoclastic paradigm presented by Clinton’s careless phrasing and felt a bit of jealousy (of Obama’s gift for rally gab) in her tone.

It’s not officially over until after Texas and Ohio in a couple weeks at the very least. But is she subconsciously conceding the race? Is it, for all intents and purposes, over?

Many people on all sides think so.

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