26 Oct 2005 Journalistic Fakery
From David Almasi:
On October 19, the USA Today web site posted a photo of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that was augmented in a manner in which her eyes virtually glowed and did not appear to be focused. After blogger Michelle Malkin posted the original photo alongside the USA Today version on October 26 – and Malkin’s posting was picked up by the Drudge Report – USA Today editors quickly replaced the doctored photo with the original.USA Today posted this explanation:
Editor’s note: The photo of Condoleezza Rice that originally accompanied this story was altered in a manner that did not meet USA TODAY’s editorial standards. The photo has been replaced by a properly adjusted copy. Photos published online are routinely cropped for size and adjusted for brightness and sharpness to optimize their appearance. In this case, after sharpening the photo for clarity, the editor brightened a portion of Rice’s face, giving her eyes an unnatural appearance. This resulted in a distortion of the original not in keeping with our editorial standards.
It took eight days to notice their standards had been compromised?Regrettably, this seems to be yet another example of people not worrying about slights – even racial ones, usually abhorred these days – when it comes to black conservatives. Secretary Rice holds a very special place in the hearts of her detractors, with cartoonists and commentators feeling free to compare her to Aunt Jemimna, saying she needs re-education to find her blackness and calling her names such as “Brown Sugar.” And they largely get away with it.
Remember when Time magazine darkened the skin tone of a photo of O.J. Simpson? That was “infamous.” When the slight involves a black conservative, however, the criticism is deflected.
These are comments on this most recent incident from members of The National Center’s black leadership network, Project 21.
Mark Quinton Jordan, a financial planner living in Baltimore, Maryland:
I would like to believe that the photo published by USA Today on October 19 was simply the result of poor quality control, but give me a break. I might even be inclined to accept their lame explanation if this type of photo or similar cartoon depictions of Ms. Rice were a rarity in the print media. But Secretary of State Condolezza Rice is a black conservative and a key member of the Bush Administration and, as far as the left and the civil rights dinosaurs are concerned, anything goes.We need only flash back to some of the demeaning and juvenile cartoons of Secretary Rice published during the presidential race and her confirmation hearings to get a sense of how far into the abyss these people will descend in an effort to hurt an opponent. USA Today’s photograph portrays Secretary Rice with a demonic gleam in her eyes. I am convinced that, as we approach the 2006 and 2008 election cycles, we will see an increasing number of these “lapses” and the accompanying excuses.
What else can they do when confronted with the bitter reality of their growing cultural impotence and inability stop an impending political implosion?
Deroy Murdock, a syndicated columnist living in New York City:
First, there was CBS News’ and Dan Rather’s fake documents about George W. Bush’s military record. Then Reuters photo-enhanced a picture of President Bush’s note in which he asked Secretary of State Rice how he could diplomatically excuse himself for a restroom break during the United Nations General Assembly. Now, USA Today has manipulated an image in which Secretary of State Rice herself has had the whites of her eyes lightened to the point that she looks a little crazed and the pupils don’t quite point in the same direction.These developments represent breaches of journalistic ethics. The American people have decreasing faith in the news media, which seem increasingly comfortable twisting and shading the truth rather than reporting it – that is, when they do not simply fabricate things as former anchorman Rather, the New Republic’s ousted Stephen Glass and the New York Times’ expelled Jayson Blair all did.
Also, this journalistic fakery almost always occurs at the expense of Republicans and conservatives. Rather than keep their opinions on their editorial pages, the mainstream media’s liberal agenda now even uses Photoshop to embarass Republicans, free-marketeers and Bush Administration officials. The perpetrators of these misdeeds should be ashamed of themselves and deserve to have their TV shows unwatched and their publications unpurchased by increasingly vigilant American news consumers.