Fake News is Bad News

So, I get up this morning and start going through my morning reading: Google News, Slashdot, Fox News, Al-Jazeera, BoingBoing… an article on BoingBoing caught my eye.

Some fellow named Kaloogian is running for Congress. He’s not anywhere near my district, so normally I could care less. But he just got back from a 10-day trip to Iraq and he wanted to set the record straight about how the war is really going by describing his visits with the troops and posting this picture he took in downtown Baghdad:
Not Really Baghdad

The problem is that it’s not Baghdad. It’s Istanbul (no, not Constantinople).

So Kaloogian immediately apologized for the mistake and replaced that picture with this one, which he says on his website “we took from Baghdad”:

Maybe Baghdad Maybe Not

Okay, I can buy that it might be Baghdad, but I strongly doubt he took this picture during his trip there.
There’s a handy program called “strings” that will strip out any text information from a file and dump it for you to examine. Here’s what strings found in the header of that second photograph when I downloaded it:
Minolta Co., Ltd.
Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 Windows
2006:03:29 13:00:10
Picasa 2.0
2005:07:13 19:50:27
2005:07:13 19:50:27

Those last two timestamps make it look like either Mr. Kaloogian has his computer’s clock off by about eight months, or the picture was taken in (or before) July of 2005. Oh, and the strings don’t match the headers of any of the other pictures taken on his trip.

No Responses to “Fake News is Bad News”

  1. Scout from Abq! Says:

    Super Sleuth!!! That’s so cool how you did that.

  2. Aarlene Says:

    I don’t know Kooligian either but what a weenie! Why do people lie and so poorly,too. Way to expose them.

  3. Lilith Says:

    Liars suck. And not in that good way. 😉

    (Btw, did you mean *couldn’t* care less instead of could?)

  4. David Says:

    Oops – you’re right, Lilith. My bad.
    Geez, I’m writing like I talk now.

  5. Willa Jean Says:

    Sorry. No blog. No website. Don’t know how. But I’m sooo impressed that you knew how to research that. You have an A+ for the semester, young man.
    I actually lurk here a lot because I’m impressed with your knitting, but this other stuff you can do just knocks me out!

  6. Hilary Says:

    That’s pretty scary, dude – keep on using your powers for good, we appreciate it!

  7. Anton Says:

    Here’s the decoded info on that image.

    File name : Documents/UrbanBaghdad3.JPG
    File size : 43059 bytes
    Camera make : Minolta Co., Ltd.
    Camera model : DiMAGE 7i
    Date/Time : 2005:07:13 19:56:28
    Resolution : 346 x 260
    Flash used : No
    Focal length : 35.5mm (35mm equivalent: 140mm)
    Exposure time: 0.0013 s (1/750)
    Aperture : f/6.7
    ISO equiv. : 100
    Whitebalance : Auto
    Metering Mode: matrix
    Exposure : program (auto)

    Either tha datestamp on the camera was hosed, or they stole this pic from elsewhere. I’d opt for the later since none of the other images on that page had EXIF data.