KFAI's Andy Driscoll posted on his Facebook page Jan. 22 a fake photo that showed what appeared to be three drones flying over the packed Mall in Washington D.C. during the recent presidential inauguration. The phony photo accompanied the Onion's Jan. 21 satirical post, "Obama Begins Inauguration Festivities With Ceremonial Drone Flyover." Driscoll, who hosts the program Truth to Tell on the Minnesota radio station, shared the photo from Facebook user "George W. Obama."
Driscoll commented a couple of times on the Photoshopped photo, including that he's "never seen three in a cluster formation like that." After commenters questioned the photo and one provided a link to the Onion story and image, Driscoll wrote:
"There's a reason the Onion can make satire out of this photo, which was obviously doctored to give us a laugh (ceremonial drone flyover, indeed! HA!), is that satire is a stretch of the truth. Drone use for domestic surveillance and targeting killing abroad is a very real - and frightening - deployment of US firepower. So - the photo is satire - but why wouldn't a surveillance drone have flown over the crowd of a half-million attendees at the inaugural? A very effective use of the technology, perhaps. So. Have a laugh about formation flyovers of drones, but keep in mind that truth is the basis for all satire."
Later, Driscoll thanked the user who provided the "photo's true source" and added that "The burden of proof for factual and researched content falls to everyone - and this dialogue is a perfect example of how important knowing the facts should be - in all quarters." He continued to post in response to people who called him out for being tricked, writing that he admitted "within five minutes of the original post" the photo wasn't real and that "this photo (absent the Onion source credit) seemed plausible at the time." Further, Driscoll questioned why news outlet CityPages wrote about it, commenting in part:
"Despite the immediate acknowledgement of our error, CityPages, to its everlasting credit, decided this idiocy was worth a major blog post. You cannot believe what this has led to. I certainly can't. Hail to the Internet for its ability to turn the damnedest pieces into a virus. Yike."
He continued on Jan. 25, writing in part:
"Never have I received such widespread publicity for the work TruthToTell does. It is a testament to the vacuous lives some people lead that they believe the last thing they've seen or read. To Chance Neel: The original photo was not accompanied by its source until, thank god, journalist Art Hughes posted the correction that, at first, we all laughed about, but know it is eminently possible for those drones to have flown over the inaugural masses. Thank you all for your contributions. It's been a terrific study in human behavior."
Hat Tip: MSN