What a difference 8 years makes. St. Peter's Square in 2005 vs. 2013. #NBCPope

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Check out that sea of smartphones as Pope Francis addresses visitors to St. Peter’s Square. What a difference eight years makes! Or does it?

The Washington Post reports that the top image was indeed taken in St. Peter’s Square in 2005. But it was during the funeral procession for Pope John Paul II, not after the election of Pope Benedict XVI.

There was no one addressing the crowd from the balcony, for example. So, the comparison isn’t quite accurate.

While the iPhone had yet to be introduced in 2005, there were many handheld recording gadgets in St. Peter’s Square after Pope Benedict’s election.

Other images, taken during the announcement of the election of Pope Benedict roughly two weeks after the funeral show a number of recording devices — camcorders and digital cameras. It’s a small, but arguably notable difference.

Now if only WaPo would apply those fact-checking skills to its other stories.


Another point worth noting: At WaPo, the caption for the 2005 photo reads, “People fill Via Della Conciliazione boulevard about half a mile away from the facade of St. Peter’s Basilica.” The 2013 photo appears to show a view much closer to the Basilica.