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Media's Take on the News: 3-12-03 to 4-24-03

When Mao Tse-tung swam the Yangtze at the age of 73, observers were amazed at the speed he was travelling.

He was known for swimming the river but the film footage showed him cutting through the water at remarkable pace for a man of his age. Photos from the same day also raised suspicion as they appeared to show a detached head bobbing on the water.

There were enough witnesses to authenticate it was the Chinese leader but there is still debate among historians today about whether the video was altered to make him swim faster or whether the government had frogmen in wetsuits and flippers underneath towing him along.

The art of deception has been widely used to prop up ageing statesmen who want to appear virile and has helped numerous leaders who were ill -- even dead -- give the impression they were still in command.

The Iraqi government's media campaign over the past two weeks has attempted to show Saddam Hussein is alive despite American attacks on his bunkers, government buildings and palaces. Saddam has appeared a number of times on state television delivering speeches to the nation and meeting with senior aides and his two sons, Uday and Qusay. In images shown yesterday of the 65-year-old dictator, he is dressed in military uniform and is smiling and laughing.

Intelligence sources told CNN yesterday t