Just How Stupid Is John Hinderaker?

Since I’m busy ragging on right wing blogs this morning, might as well point out another — if a bit old — bit of nonsense by John Hinderaker. You might remember Hinderaker as the Powerline blogger who believes that video never lies. That struck me as beyond bizarre at the time — you’d thing conservatives would know just how easily video can lie, given how 60 Minutes and other mainstream media outlets have used selective editing to do exactly that for decades.

But the depth of Hinderaker’s bizarre view of film and photography was made clear to me today in the matter of a dustup over a Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press photograph. The photograph shows terrorists in Iraq executing two election officials.

Back in December, Hinderaker all but accused the Associated Press of working with terrorists in order to get that picture. But Hinderaker’s suppositions rest on a very specious assumption — namely that there are no such things as telephoto lenses!

At the time, Hinderaker wrote (emphasis added),

The photographer was obviously within a few yards of the scene of the murder . . .

Obviously? Hinderaker has never heard of telephoto lenses? And this was a key component to the argument, since if the photographer was just a few yards away, its difficult to understand why he’d make himself such an open target by simply continuing to take pictures rather than run like hell. If he’s a few hundred yards away, however, its not implausible at all, and out goes the “the photographer must be working with the terrorists” argument.

In fact, according to the Associated Press, the photographer was about 300 meters from the terrorists when the picture was taken.

You mean photographers don’t have to be within a few yards of an event to capture it on film? I don’t know — better check with Hinderaker to see if such a thing is possible.

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