Faking Syrian War Images To Manipulate The Western Public

The demonization of genocidal dictators like Syrian President Bashar Hafez al-Assad is standard practice in the western media’s coverage of developing-world crises. In the photo-shopped imaged below, The Krone (Die Kronen Zeitung), Austria’s biggest newspaper, shows how to manipulate the Syrian uprising for a gullible western public.

In its July 28 edition, the paper pasted the picture of an Arab family to a war-ravaged background, a bombed-out apartment block in Allepo, the epicenter of the 19-month uprising against the Assad regime. The change is spectacular. A family walking through an ordinary Arab urban landscape becomes a family fleeing a war-torn Syrian city.

And, in case the reader wouldn’t be shocked and awed enough, the headline screamed: Assads Armee rollt mit Panzem zur, Mutter aller Schlachten (“Assad’s Army tanks pave the way for the ‘mother of all battles'”). The Krone is most influential newspapers in the world. The publication’s average daily readership of 2,970,000, which translates into to 43.7% of all newspaper readers in Austria.

An alert Reddit user spotted the fabrication.

Photo via: PS Disasters

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Obert Madondo

Publisher and editor
Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based blogger, activist, photographer, digital rights enthusiast, former political aide, and former international development administrator. He's the founder and editor of these independent publications: The Canadian Progressive, a political blog dedicated to progressive Canadian journalism; The Zimbabwean Progressive, a political blog dedicated to producing fearless, progressive, adversarial, unapologetic, and activism-oriented Zimbabwean journalism; and Charity Files, a publication dedicated to journalism in the charitable public's interest. Follow Obert on Twitter: @Obiemad
  • Thanks for pointing this out. Still, I’m gravely concerned about the manipulative photoshopping carried our by established media institutions as a way to sell their publications, and deliberately alter our worldview.

  • Using altered or manipulated images for dramatic purposes is nothing new. It is so widespread now that it has become accepted – even Occupy Wall Street has done this to try to elevate their impact.