Sunday, July 31, 2016


Transmission

Photoshop Wars: U.S. Ambassador 'Attends' Russian Opposition Rally...And The Moon Landing

A photoshopped image of U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Tefft allegedly attending an antigovernment rally in Moscow. REN-TV later admitted the image was a fake.
A photoshopped image of U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Tefft allegedly attending an antigovernment rally in Moscow. REN-TV later admitted the image was a fake.
By Carl Schreck

It was a report guaranteed to inflame Kremlin supporters: the U.S. ambassador to Russia, John Tefft, attending a Moscow rally of opposition activists, like a shepherd keeping watch over his antigovernment flock. It even included a photograph purporting to show Tefft at the event.

But there was one major problem with the report by the Kremlin-loyal national television network REN-TV: Tefft was not at the protest in Moscow’s outer Marino district. And the image showing Tefft talking to reporters against the background of the September 20 demonstration was a fabrication.

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow responded snarkily to the report on REN-TV’s website, saying Tefft had spent the day at home and publishing photoshopped images showing Tefft speaking to the same reporters against the background of famous historical events -- including U.S. General Douglas MacArthur’s return to the Philippines in 1944 and the Apollo 11 Moon landing in 1969.

Russia’s state-owned and government-loyal media apparatus has long portrayed Russia’s opposition as fifth columnists who do Washington’s bidding, and responses to REN-TV’s posting of the article on Twitter fit this narrative.

“The U.S. is explicitly and openly controlling paid-for opposition events. That’s who Navalny is working for!” one Twitter user responded, in a reference to leading Kremlin critic and anticorruption blogger Aleksei Navalny, who was among the rally's organizers:

Following the U.S. Embassy’s response to the article, REN-TV on September 21 slowly walked back its report. First, it edited the report to state that it is “unknown whether these images are real or a common photo montage.” 

A cached version of the original report is still accessible. It reads: “No matter how hard the American diplomat tried to get lost in the crowd, the media asked him why he showed up to this event. The short answer: He came to look at the development of democracy in Russia and judge its scale.”

Later in the day, REN-TV followed up with an item conceding that the photograph was a fake circulated on Twitter and apologized. 

The image of Tefft used in the photo mashup was taken from an interview he gave on February 28 at the site near the Kremlin where Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was shot dead the previous day:

Putin and his supporters have accused the United States of orchestrating the ouster of governments and installing pro-Western leaders in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union over the past 15 years, allegations Washington calls baseless.

Tefft, in particular, has been vilified in Russia as a “diplomatic diversionist” who foments unrest in what Moscow perceives as its sphere of influence, including Georgia and Ukraine. 

REN-TV is majority-owned by National Media Group, a pro-Kremlin media conglomerate controlled by Yury Kovalchuk, one of numerous influential businessmen and officials sanctioned by the United States in response to Russia’s role in the Ukraine conflict.

The U.S. Treasury Department calls Kovalchuk the "personal banker" to senior officials, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.

National Media Group’s board of directors is chaired by former Olympic gymnast Alina Kabayeva, who has long been rumored to be romantically involved with Putin -- a suggestion that she and Kremlin officials have dismissed and declined to comment on.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Gordon Ball from: Ottawa Canada
September 21, 2015 18:05
It would not be the first time Moscow has generated propaganda.

by: Oak Eggar
September 21, 2015 19:22
This will end in tears .
Putin wants a confrontation with democracy , he hates it. The Russian people will have no say ,it's breed into them ,they have been serfs to dictators now for a hundred years and it will not change.

by: Jack from: US
September 21, 2015 20:02
RFERL promulgates: "Putin and his supporters have accused the United States of orchestrating the ouster of governments and installing pro-Western leaders in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union over the past 15 years, allegations Washington calls baseless."

So it was not Washington mafia who appointed foreign crooks and criminals like Saakashvilli to rule over their newly acquired Ukrainian serfs? It is not Victoria Nuland who regularly visits Khyiv to give orders to Ukrainian serfs? It were Martians all along..
In Response

by: George
September 23, 2015 12:41
No and no. In Ukraine, executive and admistrative posts are elected positions or are appointed by the legitimately-elected government and president. Sometimes these appointments have to be approved by Parliament. Why are Ukrainians serfs? And what does Victoria Nuland have to do with any of this? And where is Khyiv? Your English gives you away. Your name is not Jack, and you are not from the US. So why don't you start being honest before making accusations about others.
In Response

by: Jack from: US
September 23, 2015 14:13
I said on multiple occasions that my father was Russian soldier and my mother is Chechen. My father fought against US-and Saudi-sponsored Muslim terrorist in Chechnya and Daghestan. My father killed more than 200 CIA operatives. My mother became Christian because she saw how retarded Islam is
In Response

by: Ben Thayer from: Donthat
September 29, 2015 14:58
@Jack....so in other words your belief system is based on oral tradition rather than experience. That's what I like....someone who can think for themselves.

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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