The Half-Truth, a Little of the Truth and a Lot of Stuff Besides the Truth
Sometimes facts can be disinformation. Taken out of context, a quote, a number, a statement or a picture can be deceiving, while factually correct. Lies work more effectively, when they are supported by something factual; something real, something true.
A picture, published by the pro-Kremlin disinformation outlet Sputnik, is a good example of this. Two smiling young men, in front of the burning Notre Dame. The picture itself has been discussed – doctored or not? Sputnik reassures that it is an authentic picture of two young students at the scene, and states that they "did not attract the attention of our correspondent neither during the photo shoot, nor when the photo was published".
Funny, did the photographer shoot only one frame? Didn't Sputnik have any other choice, than to publish this very picture? As Kremlin Propagandiste Extraordinaire Dmitriy Kiselyov would say: "A coincidence? I don't think so!"
Of course, the reality is that this picture was carefully selected among dozens, even hundreds of frames shot by Sputnik's photographers. Because this one suited Sputnik’s narrative. And Sputnik didn't then have to instruct the trolls – they knew how to use the photo.
Half-Truths and Full Lies
The French news agency AFP performed an investigation on the story of the picture. It was picked up by far right American and French sites and used to "prove" the Muslims' reaction to the fire. The two young men in the picture describe to AFP how they in a few hours became the target of international racism.