Journalism At Its Best – Same Bomb In Different Stories – UPDATED!

Updated @ 13/8/2015 : Added an additional point about the timing of the news video clips, and the correct model of the rocket. Be sure to read the second part of the story – When A Russian Rocket Refused To Kill Ukrainians.

Screenshots of this old tweet from Libor Smolik are making their rounds in Facebook and Twitter again. They poke fun at journalists by showing how they so easily manipulate opinions by simply changing the context of a picture. This example claims that journalists used the same bomb in different stories, with wildly different viewpoints :

Journalism at its best! From the left; Russian bomb in Ukraine, Ukrainian bomb in Russia and, Israeli bomb in Gaza!

This picture of a dud rocket was said to be of a Russian bomb in Ukraine, a Ukrainian bomb in Russia and an Israeli bomb in Gaza!
This picture of a dud rocket was said to be of a Russian bomb in Ukraine, a Ukrainian bomb in Russia and an Israeli bomb in Gaza!

And here are the headlines (and translation) at the bottom of each screenshot :

Ukrainian : Росія завдає удар (Russia Strikes A Blow)

Russian : Украинские каратели обстреляли своих граждан (Ukrainians fire upon their own citizens)

English : Israel Launches Airstrikes in Gaza – War On Gaza

So did journalists really misuse this picture to tell different stories? Let’s find out!

 

Did This Really Happen?

Amazingly, this is a true picture of a dud rocket that sliced through the side of this KUNG Command Post but failed to explode on impact with the ground. The earliest picture of this miraculous event was posted on the 10th of September, 2014 by a Ukrainian soldier called Andrew Zaharov.

This picture was taken and shared by Ukrainian soldier Andrew Zaharov on this Facebook page.
This picture was taken and shared by Ukrainian soldier Andrew Zaharov on this Facebook page.

REUTERS photographer, David Mdzinarishvilli also took a photo of the dud rocket, which he pointed out fell near the village of Dmytrivka in eastern Ukraine. So we know for sure this rocket was fired at Ukrainian soldiers, either by pro-Russian separatists or Russian “volunteers“.

The picture of the dud rocket was taken by David Mdzinarishvilli of REUTERS.
The picture of the dud rocket was taken by David Mdzinarishvilli of REUTERS.

What rocket was it? Well, despite much controversy, we have positively identified it as a 9M55K rocket from a BM-30 Smerch. If you want to know how we came to this conclusion, please take a look at When A Russian Rocket Refused To Kill Ukrainians.

 

Did Journalists Use The Same Bomb In Different Stories?

The short answer is NO.

Image searches by yours truly and many Internet sleuths have failed to turn up any evidence of this event being covered by Ukrainian Channel 5Russia 24 or Al Jazeera.

Note that all three screenshots are EXACTLY the same, which would have been impossible if those were taken from actual news videos. The only possibility is that whoever created this superimposed the headlines and overlay graphics over the same picture.

Why do all three video screenshots look EXACTLY the same?
Why do all three video screenshots look EXACTLY the same?

Also note that the screenshots appear to show the same video clip being displayed on both the Ukrainian Channel 5 and the Russia 24 channel at exactly the same time – at 12:01. How likely is that? 😀

We managed to trace the origin of the photo used in the tweet to this news post by the Ukrainian Channel 62, with the following (translated) information :

Ukrainian law-enforcers, who are near the village of Dmytrivka of Donetsk region, came under firefrom Russian Hurricanes. Fortunately, one of the rockets hit the headquarters car, did not explode.

The original picture of the Russian dud rocket
The original picture of the Russian dud rocket

As you can see, this is the exact photo used in the tweet. It would be easy enough to overlay whatever graphics you want to make it look like it was taken from a news report.

 

You Won’t Find Them In Gaza

It is possible for Russian and Ukrainian media to post polar opposite opinions of the same story in their coverage of the Ukrainian Civil War. However, it would be ludicrous for the photo to be “accidentally” misused in the Gaza War.

For one thing, that is a truck-launched rocket, not a bomb which an Israeli aircraft would drop in an airstrike, as the fake Al Jazeera headline claims. In addition, neither the Israelis, nor the Palestinians, use BM-27 Uragan rockets or the ZIL-131 truck with a KUNG command post attached.

A Russian ZIL-131 Truck With A KUNG Command Post
A Russian ZIL-131 Truck With A KUNG Command Post
A Russian ZIL-131 Truck With A KUNG Command Post
A Russian ZIL-131 Truck With A KUNG Command Post

They are completely out of place in the Middle East. A news post about such a miraculous event involving a rocket and a vehicle that does not exist in the region would be immediately dismissed as a hoax. An experienced news organisation like Al Jazeera would not have made such a stupid mistake.

For more on this story, take a look at When A Russian Rocket Refused To Kill Ukrainians.

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