The Drudge Report published a peculiar image on its homepage yesterday, featuring the Star Wars character Jar Jar Binks peeking out over a set of photoshopped ballistic missiles. The headline read “Iran Rattles,” indicating that the story was meant to be taken seriously.
The large image linked to a sombre story from Yahoo about Iran saying it would not yield to “useless” threats from Donald Trump, who was also called “an inexperienced person.” How exactly Jar Jar Binks plays into the Drudge Report’s take on the story is still unclear.
The absurd image was first noticed by Twitter users, who promptly called out the site for not checking the image thoroughly enough.
— Mike Silangil (@msilangil91) February 2, 2017
Of course, there’s a chance that the Drudge Report was indeed aware that Jar Jar Binks was hidden in the photo, but it’s worth noting that the site is not typically known for its humour. In the past, it’s been accused of fear-mongering by outlets like New York magazine and the Huffington Post.
It’s also worth pointing out that the original image with a dozen missiles was inspired by a 2008 Iranian government blunder, when the state was caught using a photoshopped image of its missile tests. As the Atlantic Wire reported, people began humorously editing the photo to an even greater extent, eventually adding the Star Wars character Jar Jar Binks. By 2012, the photoshopped images became so ubiquitous that even Iran’s state-influenced Mehr News Agency used the image that included Jar Jar Binks.
Whether the Drudge Report was referencing this entire saga remains unclear. We’ve reached out to the Drudge Report for comment about its odd use of this image and will update if and when we hear back.