Don’t Believe Everything You See

File this in the “oh, not again” file…

Multiple newspapers including The Los Angeles Times, The Financial Times and published a photograph of Iran’s recent missile test today.

The photograph shows four missiles moments after their launch. The problem? It appears only three missiles were launched.

Below are two photos, taken from roughly the same spot at pretty much the same time. The one on the right was published by numerous outlets – the one on the left emerged later.


As the New York Times Blog notes:

“[…] the second missile from the right appears to be the sum of two other missiles in the image. The contours of the billowing smoke match perfectly near the ground, as well in the immediate wake of the missile.”

Since then, several sites including the Los Angeles Times and MSNBC have published retractions about the photo.

This isn’t the first time news organizations have fallen for altered photographs – in 2006 Reuters apologized after publishing images of war-torn Lebanon that proved to have been edited, and in 2007 the LA Times published allegedly altered photos of US-manufactured weapons found in Iran.

Who says it’s only bloggers that get things wrong?

(Photo credits: AFP/Getty Images (L) and Iranian Revolutionary Guards(R))

Dave Fleet
EVP Digital at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.