Photo fakery at the New York Times

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Stephanie, Jan 16, 2006.

  1. Stephanie
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    Stephanie Diamond Member Supporting Member

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    January 16th, 2006
    I saw this a couple of days ago on another message board I belong to.Can you believe this rag?

    http://www.americanthinker.com/articles.php?article_id=5163
    Is a fake staged photo fit to print? What if it staged in a way that makes the US forces fighting the War on Terror look cruel and ineffective? The evidence argues that yes, it can run, and in a prominent position - at least in the case of the New York Times website.

    It appears that the Times, once-upon-a-time regarded as the last word in reliability when it comes to checking before publishing (which makes them so much better than blogs, of course), has run a fake photo on the home page of its website. The photo has since been removed from the home page, but still can be seen here. http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2006/01/14/international/worldspecial/14cnd-afghan.ready.html

    The picture shows a sad little boy, with a turbaned man next to him, a little bit further from the camera, amid the ruins of a house. Other men and boys peer in from the background. The photo is captioned

    “Pakistani men with the remains of a missile fired at a house in the Bajur tribal zone near the Afghan border.”

    The story it accompanies is about the apparently failed attempt to take out al Qaeda’s #2 man al Zawahiri, with a missile attack from a Predator drone.

    “How sad!” readers are encouraged to think. “These poor people are on the receiving end of awful weapons used by the clumsy minions of Bush. And all to no avail. Isn’t it terrible? Why must America do such horrible misdeeds? Bush must go!”

    The only problem is that the long cylindrical item with a conical tip pictured with the boy and the man is not a missile at all. It is an old artillery shell. Not something that would have been fired from a Predator. Indeed, something that must have been found elsewhere and posed with the ruins and the little boy as a means at pulling of the heartstrings of the gullible readers of the New York Times.

    Others have noticed the fakery, too.

    Ned Barnett is an expert on military technology, and frequently serves as a contributor to The History Channel on mil-tech issues. He has plenty of experience researching military ordnance. He told me:

    “Based on my extensive experience in researching military technology, I can verify that this is a 152mm or 155mm artillery shell – unfired – and by the looks of it, fairly old. It also looks like it has a fuse in it, suggesting that the guys in the photo are either ditch-water dumb or have a death-wish.

    “At a glance, it’s hard to tell the exact caliber – 152mm or 155mm (they’re so close) but the Soviets tended to favor 152 (going back to WW-II) while we and the Brits, the French and most of the rest of the non-Soviet world (including, oddly, the PRC) preferred the 155. For all intents and purposes, they were functionally identical (but were not interchangeable). In caliber, this is also virtually identical to Naval 6” rounds (routinely used by the Brits, the Imperial Japanese Navy and the USN), but of course, it’s unlikely that the Pakistanis would unearth a Naval round not widely used since Vietnam (much more common in WW-I and WW-II) hundreds of miles from the nearest salt water.

    “These shells could fire high explosive (HP), chemical white smoke (white phosphorous – aka “Willie Pete” – a smoke-producing shell that’s also hideous if you get the WP on you, as it burns on contact with air and nothing much will put it out), armor-piercing and semi-armor piercing – even poison gas (there’s much evidence that Saddam used French 155 shells for poison gas purposes against the Kurds, and possibly the Iranians). They are very common, and have been so since WW-I. They remain common throughout the world as one of the “standard” artillery sizes. To me, this looks like a HP shell, but the proof would come in interpreting the markings (that yellow band, plus stenciling).

    “Small-caliber artillery comes in a casing with the propellant and shell in the same package – like a very large rifle bullet – but larger artillery has the shell (seen in the photo) packed separately from the propellant charge (which is generally in silk bags or other combustible containers). Rockets of all calibers also have integral propellant. The pictured shell does not have integral propellant, so it couldn’t possibly be a rocket (by the way, the standard ex-Soviet rocket caliber was 122mm – noticeably smaller than this puppy).

    (A “decent basic primer” on artillery shells can be found here.)

    “Just as this one does, all artillery shells have markings (usually colored bands) which show the cannon-cockers at a glance what kind of shell they’re loading (blue for practice, other colors for different types of “live” shells). Somewhere I have an old standard reference on Soviet markings (and another on standard US markings), but they’re buried in my library, so I can’t immediately ID who made this shell.

    “The make, however, is immaterial. The 152/155mm artillery shell has been in common, world-wide distribution since at least 1918. While it doesn’t look old enough to be of even WW-II vintage, that’s no guarantee. When it comes to artillery shells, most countries are pack-rats. At the time of their fall, the Soviets still had stockpiles of WW-II era shells, and they worked. (In Vietnam, most of the bombs we dropped from airplanes had been manufactured in ‘41-’45.) They don’t wear out, and as long as the fuses are live, most of the shells will be, too.

    “Bottom line: the “provenance” of this shell, given it’s location in the world, could be Soviet (or ex-Soviet), [PRC] Chinese, British, French, American, NATO, Yugoslavian, Warsaw Pact (Czech, most likely, if WarPac), or as a long shot, potentially (though unlikely) even Imperial Japanese. In short, absent a manual on color-bands and a close look at stenciling, there’s no way to tell who made the damned thing. Nor is it important.

    “The New York Times claim that it was the remains of a rocket is nonsense. Rockets are frail, light-weight, flimsy things (for obvious reasons). Artillery shells are robust, mostly cast steel (the explosive weight is really rather small considering the overall weight of the shell), again for obvious reasons. Take a look yourself. In addition, artillery shells have bands that grab onto the rifling of the cannon barrel – this is obvious (the lower segmented brass-over-white-paint band) on the shell in this photo. Rockets do not have this, as they use fins or directional exhaust nozzles to spin-stabilize themselves.”

    So the formerly authoritative New York Times has published a picture distributed around the world on the home page of its website, using a prop which must have been artfully placed to create a false dramatic impression of cruel incompetence on the part of US forces. Not only did the editors lack the basic knowledge necessary to detect the fake, they didn’t bother to run the photo past anyone with such knowledge before exposing the world to it.

    There is an old saying in journalism about stories which editors really want to run: “too good to check.” It is plainly clear that the New York Times thought this story was too good to check. Their standard of “good” is painfully obvious to all.

    Without the internet and blogosphere, probably they would have gotten away with it.

    Note: comments have poured in about the technical analysis and the Times’ editorial prcess.

    The New York Times has now corrected the caption.
     
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  2. fuzzykitten99
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    fuzzykitten99 Senior Member

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    the NYT has sunk to a lower-than-the earth's crust low. Then again, why are we even surprised by this?
     
  3. Gem
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    Gem BANNED

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    So wait...a news agency deliberately either had these people prop up and old artillery shell or found an older picture that had absolutely nothing to do with the present situation but, because it created the "mood" the newspaper wanted, put it in the paper in order to make a more convincing depressing picture? One that would create feelings of negativity about the war and foster feelings of negativity towards the Bush Administration and possibley our troops????

    So the US gov't pays newspapers to put TRUE positive stories about the coalition forces and their work in Iraq...and they get slammed and villified...

    But a major newspaper read and respected worldwide plants a PHONY photo for no other purpose but to create a tone of sadness and futility...and it doesn't get a peep.

    I love it. I love the obvious and blatant double standard. The only reason the NYT story didn't get air time is that it happens to frequently...it isn't really even news...its just "the way things are done."
     
  4. KarlMarx
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    KarlMarx Senior Member

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    fake pictures to go with fake stories....


    remember when Bush was put to task by the NYT for holding "staged" chat sessions with our troops in Iraq?

    who told me the other day (Stephanie?) that their grandmother used to say when you point a finger, there are three pointing back at you?
     
  5. CSM
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    CSM Senior Member

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    On a side note, the shell is obviously a dud. The brass ring at the bottom shows the rifling grooves which are not present until after the shell has been fired. Unfired shells have a smooth brass ring at the bottom. Also, the fuse at the tiop of the shell is highly corroded which indicates it has been around a long time.
     
  6. insein
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    insein Senior Member

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    The Great Media. The Great Watch Dogs of the government. Always meant to help us idiots in the public to know when the government has become corrupt. So what do we do when the media becomes corrupt? Who is there watchdog that keeps them in line? I'd say the blogosphere and the internet but there isnt much pull as far as delivering repurcussions against NYT that they can have. The only SMALL thing they can do is to put hte truth out and hope that means 1 less subscriber to the NYT.

    As for the story itself. The bias and incompetance of the NYT is sickening. They are either 1 of 2 things. They are biased against the current government to the extent that they are willing to fake news stories and photos to show them in a bad light or they are incompetent as a newspaper in their editing department as of their inability to check the accuracy of these stories on a simple detail such as "is that an american missile."

    I hope in my lifetime that i will see the NYT go out of business.
     
  7. LuvRPgrl
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    LuvRPgrl Senior Member

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    Im wondering if anyone remembers the legal case the reporters brought on when they had a quote that wasnt word for word.

    The courts decided that a quote doesnt have to be word for word, as long as it carries the "spirit" of the original message.

    What the hell good are quotes for then?
    what the hell are pics any good for any more then?
    What the hell is the NYT good for any more?
     
  8. insein
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    insein Senior Member

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    Bottom of the bird cage?
     
  9. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    You are all neandrathals! The NY Times, is the paper of record. If you don't 'get it' the fault is yours, not theirs. Suck it up!!
     
  10. Gunny
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    Gunny Gold Member

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    I don't know. That was about as thorough an assiwhipping as I've seen the NYT take. ;)
     

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