Thursday, July 10, 2008

Starting a War with Photoshop?

The mainstream media are falling all over themselves reporting the fact that Iran has been testing missiles that supposedly are capable of reaching Turkey and Israel. In their efforts to put out the story, many media outlets pulled photos form the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's web site, supposedly showing the four missiles Iran test fired.

But wait, was it four missiles, or three? And was it one test firing or two?

Well, the answer depends on which media outlet you listen to/read.

According to The New York Times:

As news spread across the world of Iran’s provocative missile tests, so did an image of four missiles heading skyward in unison. Unfortunately, it appeared to contain one too many missiles, a fact that had not emerged before the photo appeared on the front pages of The Los Angeles Times, The Financial Times, The Chicago Tribune and several other newspapers as well as on BBC News, MSNBC, Yahoo! News, and many other major news Web sites.
Apparently the Iranian Revolutionary Guard knows how to use Photoshop! Oh, the horror!

A photo picked up by just about everybody in the world (apparently lifted from the Revolutionary Guard's Web site) shows four missiles being launched. However, some sharp eyed observers noticed that missiles three and four (from the left) look identical. The plume of smoke from both of them appears identical. Did the Iranians Photoshop the photo to beef up their missile test?

Apparently they did. Because they released another photo a bit later showing only three missiles being fired.

But wait. Was the second photo from a totally different test firing? Some media outlets seem to think so. They seem to think that the second photo showing only three missiles was from a second round of test firing.

Or was it the correct photo from the original (only?) test firing. The two photos are identical, save for the extra missile in the first one, which looks identical to the missile next to it.

So, did the Iranians fire off two missile tests? Did they release a doctored photo from the first test? Did the conduct one test and release two photos?

At this point, nobody knows. It's clear the Iranians fired off some missiles. How many and in how many tests is unclear.

Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks this whole thing is a bit fishy. Martin Eisenstadt posted a piece about the same time as I did.

This whole thing makes my head hurt.


Martin Eisenstadt said...

I posted the same thing at about the same time you did. Here's the link to my post.

Nice work on your story. It doesn't take a photoshop or military expert to see that the first photo was doctored. I spotted the identical exhaust plumes over my morning coffee, and nearly choked on my cruller.

I can't help but think that some photo editor somewhere knowingly posted the doctored photo, only to have a second day story accusing the Iranians of doctoring the photo and overstating their case. The L.A. Times in particular, I noticed, went to pains to say that the photo came from the Revolutionary Guard. Stay on the story. I suspect there's more.

Wolfrum said...

Nice work. However, I suspect there's likely much less to this story. Sort of like how there's much less to Martin Eisenstadt.