After Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a video conference where he got emotional remembering those who succumbed to COVID-19, an image supposedly of The New York Times international edition published on May 21 is going viral on Twitter. In the screengrab of the newspaper, a photo of a crocodile has been used while the headline says ‘India’s PM cried’. Columnist Shobhaa De posted this image and said, “Savage!”. Her tweet has garnered more than 200 retweets so far.

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh also tweeted the screengrab and said, “Dr Jaishankar ji now that you are going to [the] US would you please ensure The New York Times does not spoil the image of Modi ji!! After all, he is more worried about his IMAGE than worrying about the people suffering from COVID!! To him crying at the right time is an art!!”. The tweet was later taken down and an archived version can be accessed here.

Among other prominent individuals who shared the same screenshot were JNUSU President Aishe Gosh, Advocate Prashant Bhushan, Alt News Managing Director Nirjhari Sinha, Rashtriya Janata Dal Bihar’s State Youth President Qari Shoaib. Bhushan and Sinha took down their tweets as of this writing.

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Fact-check

Alt News found that the viral screengrab is a morphed version of the international edition of The New York Times newspaper published on May 21, 2020. In the comparison posted below, one can easily spot the original newspaper did not carry an image of a crocodile with the caption, “India’s PM cried”. Secondly, a trace of morphing can be spotted near the dateline in the viral screengrab.

The International edition originally published by The New York Times on May 21 carries the image of solar panels set up in Binnish, Syria. “There is no alternative. Solar energy is a blessing from God,” is the headline.

The front page was edited for satire by a parody Twitter handle called The Daily New York Times. The handle issued a clarification saying, “Again clarifying that this is *Satire. Don’t take it seriously”.

The reference to ‘crocodile tears’ was made after the Indian newspaper The Telegraph published an article headlined “Don’t blame the poor crocs! They shed tear when they dine, not when they are sad” after the PM’s address. A similar hashtag (#CrocodileTears) was also trending on Twitter.

The front page of the international edition of The New York Times was morphed for satire. This was believed to be true by many.

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About the Author

Jignesh is a writer and researcher at Alt News. He has a knack for visual investigation with a major interest in fact-checking videos and images. He has completed his Masters in Journalism from Gujarat University.