Bloggers at Newshounds helped Huffington Post writer Glenn W. Smith uncover what they claim to be the original photo that was doctored by a conservative voting organization.
Smith, whose Huffington Post bio identifies him as "writer, campaign manager, activist, think tank analyst and political consultant", was able to use the alleged original photo to call out the King Street Patriots, a group dedicated to "mobilizing the conservative electorate." Smith claims that the group doctored a photo in one of its promotional videos. But, King Street Patriots says that they found the image; and they were not aware of any alterations to it.
The King Street Patriots' video image shows a woman wearing a green shirt in the foreground holding a sign that reads "I Only Got To Vote Once." Behind her is a woman holding a sign that appears to say "I'm With Stupid."
Another image, touted to be the original photo, was found on the website "Red and Green," the metro DC chapter of an organization focused on "a number of social and political concerns including District of Columbia (DC) Statehood, economic and political justice issues, health care and human rights." The image is reportedly taken from a 2000 vote recount rally/protest in Florida. In that photograph, the sign held by the woman in the foreground reads "Don't Mess with our Vote," and the sign held by the woman in the background reads "Gore/Lieberman." Two photos on "Red and Green" show the woman in a green shirt holding her sign. See them here and here.
See The King Street Patriots' video and the "original" and "doctored" photos on the Huffington Post's website here.
Smith argued in a column on progressive blog Firedoglake that the sign is clearly doctored because the "I Only Got To Vote Once" slogan appeared to be written in Comic Sans, a computer font.
But, Catherine Engelbrecht of King Street Patriots wrote in an e-mail to StinkyJournalism that the organization found the image from a Google Images search of voting-related images. "The photo was one of the first that came up in the search," Engelbrecht explained. "We used it exactly as it appeared online. We did not alter it in any way whatsoever. When we recognized there were questions about the photo, we took it out. It was added as a filler between personal testimonies of voter fraud and its omission does not change whatsoever the message of the video. "
Bloggers found the "original" photo for Smith. Both Newshounds and Digital Dupes created pages devoted to uncovering more information about the real photo. The "original photo" was found and posted on Newshounds' forum Newshounds is a watchdog site focused on FoxNews's reporting.
Digital Dupes' page seeks the identity of the woman wearing a green shirt pictured in the video. Digital Dupes identifies itself on its website as "an experiment to try to use the power of social networking to uncover a truth and correct the record," to expose fake and misleading photos and videos. Digital Dupes cited examples of Shirley Sherrod and ACORN's videos as areas where misleading videos could have been corrected more quickly.
The video is still on TruetheVote.org, one of two King Street Patriots initiatives. Smith noted that the video is off the King Street Patriots website "soon after the deception was revealed." In response, Catherine Engelbrecht of King Street Patriots wrote in an e-mail to StinkyJournalism that the organization replaced the original video with another video which is almost the same - minus the image of the photo in question.
"When we recognized there were questions about the photo, we took it out. I don't know exactly when the video was posted, but it has not been for very long. It hasn't been removed; it has been replaced with the same video less the one and one half seconds of footage wherein the photo appeared," Engelbrecht wrote.
The Houston Chronicle recently reported that True the Vote's video has been in the media because True the Vote has "challenged the validity of 468 voter registrations." Engelbrecht wrote to StinkyJournalism that they became a subject of Glenn Smith's reporting "after we reported having found large numbers of inaccurate, incomplete, or fraudulent voter registrations.'
StinkyJournalism has written to Dog Canyon, a website Glenn Smith started, for Smith's contact information. We also reached out to Digital Dupes for more information, but e-mails sent to the contact e-mail address on the website bounced back.