Yesterday was not a good day for the Middle East. Iran carried out another missile test. The U.S. warned that it will defend Israel if its ally is attacked. Indeed, so troubling was the news that Iran even made the front page in Finland. Here’s how the country’s premiere newspaper Helsingin Sanomat (HS) featured these potentially disastrous developments:
HS Reader Spots Fake Iran Pic
So, for Scandinavia’s largest newspaper, known for its quality reporting and astute analysis, the news yesterday wasn’t that a) there was a new round of sabre rattling in the Middle East, or b) that the United States had threatened Iran, or c) that all this sounds perilously close to war.
No — the news was that Iran had doctored a photo.
In fact, not even that.
The real news in Finland was that some geeky reader had noticed there was something fishy about a couple of vapour trails.
Yes. Female suicide bombers are always sexier than males; final battles make for better headlines than slowly grinding violence, even if they never happen; it’s easier just to call everyone ‘al-Qaeda’ than bore your readers with the complexities of a modern insurgency; and the 4000th American killed in Iraq is more newsworthy than than the 3999th.