The art of propaganda

by twit

The AFP got a photo from the Iranian government “the Web site of Sepah News, the media arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, on Wednesday,” with a teensy alteration


Top, the image that Agence France-Presse obtained from Sepah News on Wednesday. Below, another image that The Associated Press received from the same source on Thursday.

and the next day, the Associated Press got an almost-the-same image from the Iranian government…

so you can probably guess which one ran on the front of big rig papers:


The Los Angeles Times, The Palm Beach Post and Chicago Tribune, among others, used the image on the front pages on Thursday.

INSERT DESCRIPTIONOur homepage at 3:56 p.m. on Wednesday

update: The New York Times blog The Lede has posted updates and has more information, including this:

In a sentiment no doubt echoed by news organizations everywhere, an MSNBC editor acknowledged that the four-missile picture was initially welcomed with open arms. “As the media editor working the home page yesterday, I was frustrated with the quality of a fuzzy video image we published of the Iranian missile launch,” said Rich Shulman, the network’s associate multimedia editor. “So I was thrilled when the top image crossed the news wires.”

update: on 7/11/08, Drudge reports that the NYT will quote “military insiders” letting us know that this story just keeps getting better:

a video showing what appeared to be many missiles being fired -- is actually one missile, filmed from different angles!

update: from The Telegraph on 7/12/08:

Iran claimed last week to have tested a new version of the Shahab missile with a 1,250-mile range that would put in range much of the Middle East, including Israel and Turkey and the Arabian peninsula, and Pakistan.However, a respected independent national security website,, concluded that the missiles were identical to an earlier version of the Shahab, first unveiled by Iran in 1998 with a known range of 746 miles.

… Iran also issued misleading statements about the ranges and doctored videos to make the firings seem more numerous and fearsome than reality, The New York Times reported.

Coverage showing what appeared to be many missiles being fired was apparently just one device, filmed from different angles. “Deception was rampant,” said Charles Vick, an expert on the Iranian missile programme at Global Security, a prominent defence think tank.

… Last week’s missile tests sent oil prices soaring from $136 to $147 a barrel, delivering a windfall gain worth billions of dollars to Iran’s oil-based economy.

Related Posts:

The Coming War with Iran

How to Go to War with Iran


16 Responses to The art of propaganda

  1. Jimmy Jones says:

    LOL, I am shocked Dictator Bush has not invaded them yet. Give it time, he has a few months left to exercise his Global Domination efforts.

    Ultimate Anonymity

  2. Sad but true Jimmy Jones…



  3. wes says:

    The reason it was done is obvious. Take out the vehicle with missile not launched and it makes it hard to see how big the missiles are. Nothing relative to compare to. This then lets the viewers imagination define the size the missiles. Pathetic that they do these things and worse still people swallow this rubbish.

  4. Jasper says:

    The lower picture makes my guess that the three missiles are not much larger then the one on the truck. Not too impressive. It is curious that the media arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (can we have the link to that website?) would like to try to make their weapon capability to look greater then it is, because it would only make invasion of the country more likely. (Unless of course they do so for selfish reasons other then the people of the country.)

    It is stupid that the media unscrupulously used the picture when a single critical look shows it is photo-shopped. (And on the front page too!) Or worse, if they knew that is was photoshopped and left it there for sensational or propaganda reasons.

  5. louie says:

    very true, propaganda at its finest. I saw it on the front page of the times know darn well that it is to sway a public to fear.

  6. roxtafari says:

    Wes – it was done to hide the failed launch of the fourth missile – not to obscure perspective. Their missiles are little better than SCUDs.

  7. regarding a failed fourth missile, that sounds entirely reasonable. They must flex their muscles now if they are to avoid what they perceive as a impending U.S. invasion. Unfortunately for them they are playing into the hands of those who want war with Iran.

  8. jrodbeatbag says:

    The photoshoped image was used on the front page of The National Post (Canadian), which is consistently biased Pro-Israeli.

    Yet their website has the correct (original?) image.

  9. Fitzy2008 says:

    Hey, i’m a real kiwi from kiwi land, look south and to the Right of Australia.
    Our local rag ran the same image of the four launches,, no image though on the web site, just in print. I spoke with the photo editor, he hadn’t spotted it. So, looks like everyone just hit the print button and paid the royalty. I wonder what they learn at journalism school? CTRL-P?

  10. Pingback: Iran’s Missile Test Made 33% More Powerful With Photoshop « BUUUUURRRRNING HOT

  11. kataztrophy says:

    Newspapers everywhere got punk’d.

  12. This is not as bad as the Iranian boats that had a conformation with the U.S. warship a while back. I tuned into the news when heard about it thinking would see opposing ships with guns and missiles pointed at each other in a stare down. The Iranian ships turned out to be speedboats that were dwarfed by the U.S. warship. Speedboats!

    The media talking heads were acting like the Iranian boats were some kind Armageddon type threat to our navy ship. It was like someone handed the newscasters a script to read but it didn’t match up with the video you were watching. The whole thing was just unbelievable…

    This propaganda will continue until Israel or Bush or McCain attacks Iran. Think gas prices are bad now? When this goes down gas will go up to $7-$10 a gallon.

  13. there is more about the April 2008 speedboats vs. warships episode here:

  14. land of the free hahahaha says:

    If america attacks iran, what will the american people do??? exactly, not a thing, the sheeple will put there heads in the sand ……. iran will win anyway, so go ahead america, attack iran .. make the worlds day !

  15. Stefan Fobes says:

    Haha Iran win. Iran probably has 1 nuke AT BEST to America’s 15,000. I wrote up an article debunking all the claims about Iran, the funding terror in Iraq, and Ahmadinejad saying he wants Israel wiped off the map, and more. Check it out at

  16. additional developments are being reported on Drudge right now:

    Fri Jul 11 2008 15:18:02 ET

    Many of Iran’s claims related to missile tests during “Great Prophet III” war games — appear to be smoke and mirrors!

    The missiles tested DID NOT not have 2,000-kilometer range, the NEW YORK TIMES is planning to report on Saturday.

    Iran DID NOT launch a Shahab-3 missile, able to reach Israel.

    It was an older missile that was out of production, newsroom sources tell DRUDGE.

    And a video showing what appeared to be many missiles being fired — is actually one missile, filmed from different angles!

    NYT’s Bill Broad is planning to quote military insiders.


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