N.Y. Times caught in photo fakery
Pakistanis shown with 'missile'
allegedly fired by U.S.
Posted: January 16, 2006
8:18 p.m. Eastern
The New York Times is accused of running a staged photograph of beleaguered Pakistanis standing with a missile in the midst of their damaged home after a U.S. predator-drone attack aimed at al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.
The problem, say analysts, is the "missile" actually is an old, unexploded artillery shell, possibly with its fuse intact.
But on its website, the Times captioned the photo by Agence France-Presse this way: "Pakistani men with the remains of a missile fired at a house in the Bajur tribal zone near the Afghan border."
The photograph adds fuel to the anti-American protests by Islamic groups over the purported CIA airstrike Saturday, which Pakistan claims killed innocent civilians. Investigators are trying to determine if Zawahiri was among at least 17 people killed in the attack, which destroyed three houses in the Pashtun town of Damadola.
The Times corrected the photo caption after Thomas Lifson, editor and publisher of The American Thinker brought attention to it.
The photo can be seen here, with a new caption saying, "A picture caption on Saturday with an article about a U.S. airstrike on a village in Pakistan misidentified an unexploded ordinance. It was not the remains of a missile fired at a house."
Lifson says the old artillery shell "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."
Ned Barnett, an expert on military technology and frequent contributor to The History Channel, told Lifson that based on his 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."
Barnett said the 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."
NYT needs to just belly up and rename itself "MoveOnTimes"
"possibly with its fuse intact"