Hyderabad: Social media users are sharing a photo that looks like the front page of the US daily The New York Times. It has a photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the headline "Last, Best Hope of Earth" and "World's most loved and most powerful leader is here to bless us".
The caption below the photo reads, "His highness Modiji is signing on a blank a4 paper to bless our country….har har Modi."
Users shared the photo and wrote, "World Most Powerful Leader Our Beloved PM Narendra Modi Ji... Thank you New York Times."
The claim is false.
NewsMeter noticed that the date on the viral image was 26 September 2021 so we checked The New York Times e-paper for that day and found that it did not have Mr. Modi's photo. The NYT front page for 26 September had the photo of a sunset with the caption, "Frankfurt, Germany. After 16 years, Angela Merkel leaves behind a Changed country full of pride and prosperity- and anxiety." The photo was credited to Lina Mucha. See the original copy of The New York Times below:
Evidently, the image has been replaced with the photo of Mr. Modi and the text has been doctored in the viral post.
The viral photo also had a spelling error - September had been misspelled. It is unusual for The New York Times to make a spelling error on their front page.
We also noticed the language in the caption was informal. It is unlikely that NYT or for that matter any newspaper would use words like "Modiji" and "har har Modi". The grammatical errors and poorly framed sentences with snarky references are unlike the standards of NYT.
Further, NewsMeter found that earlier a similar image – the NYT front page with the picture of a crocodile in tears and the headline "India's PM cried" – had been doing the rounds. We had debunked the claim.
We performed a reverse image search to find the photo of Mr. Modi signing a document and found several articles but none of them directed us to NYT. A News 18 report had carried the photo on June 2021 and Zee News had carried the same image for a different article on 8 August 2021.
Hence, the viral image of The New York Times front page with Mr. Modi photo, calling him "Best hope of Earth" is fake. It has been photoshopped.