When fanatics represent the majority

There are media policies that contribute to war.

Slate prints more of telling us about jihadist staging, the angry islamist, but he’s saying more about how pictures inflate:

I have actually seen some of these demonstrations, most recently in Islamabad, and all I would do if I were a news editor is ask my camera team to take several steps back from the shot.

We could then see a few dozen gesticulating men (very few women for some reason), their mustaches writhing as they scatter lighter fluid on a book or a flag or a hastily made effigy.

Around them, a two-deep encirclement of camera crews.

When the lights are turned off, the little gang disperses.

And you may have noticed that the camera is always steady and in close-up on the flames, which it wouldn’t be if there was a big, surging mob involved.

Our attitudes about war are significantly driven by pictures of an enemy. For that matter, we shape opinions about welfare viewing pictures of poor people in housing blocs, about wealth viewing rich people in Malibu, about politicians viewing pictures that are usually carefully staged.