A lot of people have a lot of explaining to do today. The Los Angeles Times, the Financial Times and the Boston Globe all ran a front page photo yesterday of an Iranian missile test launch that turned out to be fake (sort of). It turns out the picture was handed out by that ever reliable source the Iran Revolutionary Guard and picked up by Agence France Presse, after which it landed on the front page of a number of magazine and plenty of websites. Shortly thereafter video images of the same test showed that only three missiles had actually been launched and that the fourth had been added digitally. Oops! Maybe someone over at the Iranian National Guard has been taking lessons from Fox News.
In the end it was the political blog Little Green Footballs that caught the mistake. As a result of the fiasco a lot of newspaper photo editors are beating themselves over the head for not catching the mistake and are planning on issuing follow-up stories and corrections in an effort to be as transparent as possible. The takeaway? Photoshopping starlets and NYT journalists is okay. Photoshopping the arms of nations we may be covertly going to war with is not okay.