2/14/2005

The Most Busted Name In News

Hat tip to BradBlog for spotting this one...

In a February 12th piece entitled "North Korea rallies support for Kim", CNN ran this photo, captioned "An aerial photo of North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear plant outside of Pyongyang." It's the third image in the slideshow on the left side of the page.



Three days earlier, CNN ran a piece called "Kay, Carter urge caution on Iran" which featured this photo, captioned as "Satellite image of a suspected Iranian nuclear-related facility."



Now, I'm no expert on nuclear facility design, but what are the odds that nuclear facilities in two different nations would be laid out in identical fashion, down to the color of the terrain?

BradBlog looks at this and sees conspiracy...
Who is the source for these photos? Was it the same person in both instances? Were they supplied by someone who may have an interest in ginning-up fears over the two so-far unconquered players in Bush's "Axis of Evil"?

Or will it be another CNN staffer who steps forward again to take the fall for this one?

And finally, a question that has been asked all too frequently here over the past year: What the hell has happened to the media in this country? Are there simply no national media organizations left who know how to do the job of reporting accurately, responsibly and in such a way that doesn't send us to war again due to their utter failure to do their jobs correctly?! (Yes, Judith Miller of The New York Times, we're talking to you...but you're not the only one).
Now, where Brad sees government conspiracy, I see media incompetence. Brad seems to think that Bush's cronies fed these photos to the media to drum up support for the war, and CNN fell for it. I think that some CNN staffer looked at two photos that weren't identical and assumed they were of different facilities. If I put on my "I hate the media" hat, I could be convinced that some staffer intentionally cropped the photo to make one appear different from the other; perhaps because no photo of the real facility could be found.

What's funny about this is that regardless of whether Brad is correct or I am, CNN comes out looking like dopes. CNN wants to be "the most trusted name in news" but doesn't appear to spend much time fact-checking the information they're dispensing as news.

This is no scandal, to be sure, but it's an example of how sloppy the mainstream media can be.