Friday, July 11, 2008

Huge misfire by Agence France Presse

You've all heard the story by now. The AFP distributed a doctored photo Wednesday depicting 4 missiles being fired in Iran. The image was propaganda from the Iran Revolutionary Guard, and the original image actually only depicted 3 missiles in the air and a grounded missile that may have failed. While this may not seem like a huge difference, the fact that no one caught the changes before the image was published on hundreds of websites is scary. How do you catch these doctored images, anyway? The other frightening part is that the propaganda engine that manipulated the image can read our photo editors' thoughts.

"[Ken] Lyons, of the Denver Post, said it is no consolation to him that many other papers – including local rival The Rocky Mountain News – also ran the four-missile photo.
'I take absolutely no comfort in that at all," he says. Lyons was also reflective about how much stronger the picture seems with the one extra missile. "The thing I've been asking myself all day is, Would we have run it if it were just the three?'"

(Excerpt taken from an article on PDN Online by Daryl Lang. See the full article here.)

2 comments:

Contagious said...

I saw the photo in the Tribune along with a brief story. As I recall it was front page, below the fold.

I came across these sites a few weeks ago thanks to Google Reader and Photography blogs.

http://photoshopdisasters.blogspot.com/2008/07/iranian-govt-persian-pixels-pwned.html

This one is more general about doctored photos:

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=5-ways-to-spot-a-fake&print=true

Heather J. Chin said...

I don't see how an image of three missiles versus four missiles would get different coverage. The fact remains that they were launched by the Iranian military/government. Sure, four is a striking visual, but so is three. Granted, I'm not a big-time newspaper editor with my head in the fog, but seriously, context would still have made this front page news.