Wednesday, 2 February 2011

That Fox News map of the Middle East

All over my twitter stream for the last few days have been people tweeting and re-tweeting this screen-grab of a map of the Middle East from Fox News.

Egypt is in the wrong place, it's where Iraq was when I last looked.

Everyone's getting hot and bothered about the channel's ignorance and the poor grasp of geography shown by American as the crisis in Egypt unfolds.

But it's not a new image. Do a little Googling and it soon becomes clear that the map dates back to July 2009, as these sites explain.

And just look at the picture. If it was anything to do with the current story wouldn't Egypt be one of the highlighted countries rather than Syria, Iran, Jordan and Israel?

And who's to say that it hasn't been Photoshopped? If it was a photo of a telly with the map actually on-screen I'd be much less dubious, but a clean graphic like that could easily have been tinkered with and who'd know it?

Last week I read this excellent blog post from Paul Bradshaw about verifying online content.

With some justification we're told not believe all that we read in the papers, but we should also remember that things are even easier to spoof online. As well as reading Paul's post it's worth being aware of which is a great site for dispelling urban and internet myths, and a good way to waste hours of your time.

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