When Journalism Becomes Propaganda

One of the clichés of popular science is that the very act of observing changes the phenomenon being observed.  This is obviously not literally true of all physical phenomena; it would seem to apply more to social science than the hard sciences.  But it surely applies to journalism.  We’re long past the point where we note with any surprise that journalists are part of the stories they cover, especially election campaigns.  At some point, though, journalism crosses the line and becomes part of a propaganda campaign.

There were a few reported instances back in the late 1960s and early 1970s where TV crews showed up at college campuses with anti-war signs to pass out to students to make sure they got the right visuals.  And then there’s this devastating expose by a young Italian journalist named Ruben Salvadori about how photojournalists have become not merely part of the story of Palestinian unrest on the West Bank, but the instigators of it.  This eight-minute video clip is devastating:


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