Russia’s Channel One aired a segment yesterday about Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s recent meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. But one part of the news broadcast was pretty weird. Take a look at Kim’s face in the screenshot on the left. Kim has been photoshopped to look like he’s smiling. And it’s not even a very good photoshop job.
The strange photoshopped image aired on “News of the Week” with Dmitry Kiselyov on Channel One, a popular TV news channel that’s backed by the Kremlin and makes the occasional veiled death threat against “traitors.”
The edit was first spotted by Fake_MIDRF, a pro-Ukraine Twitter account that spots fakes in Russian media. You can really see the difference in the photo posted to Twitter by Russia’s Foreign Ministry, and the photo that was played on Russian TV, which is available on YouTube.
It’s unclear why Channel One would bother photoshopping the image, since they also aired plenty of positive footage showing Lavrov’s meeting in North Korea. But this isn’t the first time that Channel One has aired fake news footage. The same channel was ridiculed back in February for running video game footage during a news segment about the war in Syria.
President Trump is scheduled to meet with Kim Jong Un in Singapore on 12th June, and old alliances die hard. North Korea wants to be recognised as a real player on the world stage, and they’re getting precisely that. But countries like Russia and China don’t want North Korea to get too cosy with the US, not that there’s much likelihood of that anytime soon.
You can watch a short clip of yesterday’s show here.
Russia wants its citizens to believe that countries like North Korea, an old friend from the Soviet-era days, would never abandon it to strike an alliance with western global powers—even if state-run media have to photoshop an awkward smile on Kim’s face to do it. But in the end it simply makes Russian media look less trustworthy when they’re caught manipulating photos. It’s fake news, as the American president might say.