Chances are, you haven’t heard anything about Israel bombing Iran in the last, oh, seven hours.This could be for two reasons. A. We are about to bomb Iran and maintaining eerie radio silence. Or B. The photographers are on vacation.
You heard me. You may think it’s the media, the politicians, the ayatollahs or the Haviv Gurs that fuel the speculation over a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, but in reality it is the photographers, especially the ones who take bad-ass pictures of airplanes kicking clouds and taking names, of clouds.
Don’t know what I’m talking about? I point you to exhibit A. A story from Russia Today recently.
There are more pictures of airplanes there than Vladimir Putin has had presidential terms, yet you won’t find one mention of an airplane in the actual text of the article.
I know, I know, Russia Today is not exactly, well, it might not be the average Westerner’s No 1. news source. Or even No. 137. But lookie here. They are not alone. Here’s a story from Haaretz.
And yes, from the Times of Israel.
I can go on and on.
As a great man once said, “You look for the person who will benefit. And uh, uh, you know, uh,”
So who is benefiting when rhetoric ramps up about a war between Israel and Iran? Certainly not us or the Iranians, who are scared out of even checking the news. Certainly not the ayatollahs, who have to pump more money into bunker building or fiery-er speechwriters. Maybe the politicians, but then again, what don’t they benefit from.
But what about the guys who hang around air bases with cameras and lenses and those cool-looking vests? Yes, that’s who benefits, man.
I’ll admit, as a news person, first at Haaretz and now at The Times of Israel, I bought into their little game. When looking to illustrate a story about more Iran saber-rattling, editors generally have only a few options: An angry Mahmoud Ahmadinejad waving his fist, an ayatollah staring blankly into space, Ahmadinejad in a white lab coat inspecting something nefarious looking, and a bad-ass looking F-16 heading straight for Tehran. We try to mix it up, but at the end of the day, the 3-year-old (at least in me) usually ends up winning out: Airplanes! With afterburners!
Lately, the photogs whose beat is ships and naval equipment have been trying to get in on the action, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find out the Associated Press’s main naval photographer is whispering sweet somethings to Ahmadinejad. “Close the Straits of Hormuz. Close em. C’mon. You know you want to. Get those Zionists. Close em.”
If we want the rhetoric to calm down, the saber to stop rattling and peace to reign more supreme than a Taco Bell burrito, we’ve got to get these photographers out of the game. If we stop buying and using their awesome pictures of jets zooming through the sky and missiles launching from gunships, they’ll have no motive to keep pushing us to the brink of war.
As for me, next time I need to illustrate a story about Iran, I hope I will be using this dandy of a picture.