Two stories posted in the last week on the CNN website, one on nukes in Iran last Wednesday, and another on nukes in North Korea on Saturday, both use the same aerial photograph of the same purported nuclear power plant!
But one is supposed to be in Iran and the other is supposed to be in North Korea!
A story posted Saturday to CNN's website suggesting that North Korea is rallying behind their leader Kim Jong Il in his latest nuclear saber-rattling makes use of a satellite photo described in the caption as "An aerial photo of North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear plant outside of Pyongyang".
The photo is the third in a "slide show" at this CNN page. Hit 'Next' two times in the "slide show" and the following photo with caption will appear:
Oddly enough, last Wednesday the CNN website ran a story on nuclear weapons in Iran with an image captioned "Satellite image of a suspected Iranian nuclear-related facility".
That CNN page is here. The photo from that story is below:
Look familiar? Look very closely at both pictures if it doesn't.
In truth, if this wasn't so sad (and actually somewhat frightening) the irony of the sub-title for CNN's Iran story --- "Former weapons inspector: 'It's déjà vu all over again'" --- might be somewhat amusing. In the piece, U.S. chief weapons inspector David Kay is quoted urging the U.S. "not to make the same mistakes with Iran that he said it made with Iraq".
Déjà vu, indeed.
All of which begs at least these questions:
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).
The tip on this came in after midnight early Monday morning, too late to make any calls to try and get some answers to the above before going to sleep for the evening. However, we hope that by the time we wake, someone from the responsible media --- which apparently seems to be now considerably narrowed to the likes of bloggers and Internet-only news sites like RAW STORY --- gets some answers to these questions before CNN once again aids and abets the Bush administration into sending this country into yet another unnecessary and immoral war.
UPDATE 10:30am PT: As of this update, it seems that CNN has quietly now replaced their previous photo on the North Korea story with the following one instead:
No comment was given to note the "correction", though the date for the story on the page has been updated to today's date. We will attempt to contact CNN for explanation if possible and will update here if we are able to do so.
UPDATE 1:56pm PT: CNN has added the following text to the Korea story:
An earlier version of this article included an image that was incorrectly identified as an aerial photograph of North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear plant. The photo was actually a commercial satellite photo of a nuclear facility near Natanz, Iran.
No explanation yet for the error. Still attempting to get comment. Will update here when we do.
UPDATE 5:47pm PT: Our hopes of getting comment and/or explanation from CNN have so far been dashed for the today. About 15 different calls, with about 15 different forwards and 15 different answering machine messages left has yielded not one LIVE person who is willing to talk about what happened. We'll keep trying when "business hours" resume once again tomorrow.
UPDATE 2/15/05 6:27pm PT: A different news organization has published a story using a different photo of the same alleged nuclear facility that CNN used in both its North Korea and Iran stories! That story was also about... North Korea! And it's a U.S. government funded "news" site! Click here for that new story!