From the IDF blog.
There are no declared winners three weeks into the Gaza invasion. That is also true of the online public relations war, in which supporters of both sides were caught fabricating instances of brutality this week.
As more news is digested through the Internet, the Web increasingly becomes a tool for shaping public opinion. Hence, it is understandable that both pro-Israel and pro-Palestine supporters blitzed blogs in past weeks. "The blogosphere and the new media are basically a war zone," said Israeli military spokesperson Avital Leibovich, referencing the state's YouTube account, Twitter and blog.
But when the technology for altering images and videos is readily available, so is the nasty and apparently irresistible temptation to use it. Unscrupulous individuals doctor footage from the battleground to suit the PR needs of their chosen side. Duty, as they say, before truth.
Last week, the far-right conspiracy blog Atlas Shrugs posted a video of Hamas supposedly storming a Palestinian wedding and murdering innocents for dancing and singing. This, according to the blog, illustrates the true horrors of "Islamic terror."
Except, unfunnily enough, this event never took place. According to Reuters, the video was made in the summer of 2007, and precisely no one was killed. Though this information is readily available, there has yet to be a retraction from the gutless Shrugs.
Instead of illustrating some pro-Israel point, the video is a reminder to use judgment when watching anything Gaza-related, especially while zeal and emotion are running high.
This point was underlined for members of the press this week when a video that purported to show the aftermath of an Israeli air strike was used without proper fact-check. The clip, which appears on the site Live Leak [distrurbing!], shows gory bloodshed after an explosion that bloggers claimed was caused by Israel's military. Media, including France's public broadcaster, aired the video as such.
But it was actually BBC footage from 2005 of a Hamas weapons rally gone awry. France 2, amongst others, issued a retraction.
As if the actual heart-wrenching images of a brutal invasion weren't enough.