Action Alert!

as our betters deem appropriate

By Diogenes (articles) | Oct 24, 2007


I wonder to what extent the press services that provide news photos are willing to vouch for the accuracy of the text that accompanies their offerings.

The photo above, found at the BBC website via Agence France-Presse, is captioned thus:

A homeless woman sits on a footpath in Paris as part of ongoing protest action against poor conditions in public housing organised by Right to Housing (DAL).

Homeless, is she? For starters, a protester's homelessness would be a fact difficult to verify, even for a journalist seriously concerned to do so. But the condition of the woman pictured seems curiously hale for a street-dweller. We can glimpse some jewelry, some suspiciously unsoiled cardboard, and what to my untrained eye appears to be a remarkably clean tablecloth, here employed as a wrap. If she's really homeless, moreover, it's hard to understand why she's protesting "poor conditions in public housing" -- housing of any sort being generally preferable to none at all.

As often, the media show us what they have decided we need to see -- in this case, popular unrest directed at the Sarkozy government -- and should the requisite object lesson be lacking in actual fact, they're willing to rig it up for us. Maybe the woman pictured is a student member of a Leftist group taking her turn posing as a waif during the "protest action"; maybe she's part of a consciousness raising exercise aimed at imitating the conditions of the poor. If nothing else, this sort of chicanery serves as a useful reminder of what it's like to be spoon-fed our public morality by the mainstream media, and underscores the advantages of having alternative sources at our disposal.

(My compliments, mademoiselle, to your laundress.)

image via Agence France-Presse

Richard Cross holds a doctorate in psychology, who has taught at the university level, including at Franciscan University. He is currently an educational researcher and consultant in the field of psychology and related disciplines.
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