The photos depict the hosts of ABC-TV’s Live with Kelly and Michael, Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan, descending down the ramp of a roller coaster and riding a bicycle in front of a picturesque beach that happens to be completely empty. Here is the second faked photo in the story.
iMediaEthics suspected that both photos were fake, and our suspicions were confirmed when we viewed a behind-the-scenes video of the photo shoot that revealed Ripa and Strahan being photographed in front of a white screen rather than the roller coaster track and the beach locations depicted in the two published photographs.
The cover story stated: “Go behind the scenes of Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan’s fun-filled photo shoot for PARADE in the exclusive video…” There is no mention of the photo shoot being a stage set and not the actual locations. There is no mention of the other Photoshopped details added such as the addition of a white star to the coaster car.
While both photos were credited to Peter Yang, there was no disclosure in the credit line from Parade that the backgrounds were Photoshopped.
Back in April, news outlets including The New York Post and the New York Daily News published a doctored photo of Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon without disclosing that the background image was phony.
iMediaEthics wrote to Parade seeking comment, June 4, at 1:09PM. They responded the next day June 5, at 4:52PM. Parade Editor-In-Chief Maggie Murphy wrote:
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“And we thought people would accuse us of photoshopping Kelly’s spectacular legs! (Which we didn’t.) The photo opening our story ’93 Days of Summer’ portrays exactly what the article says: Michael and Kelly ‘climb aboard a tandem bike for their photo shoot.’ For readers who wanted to learn more about that shoot, we invited them to watch our behind-the scenes video, which made it totally clear how and where we shot the two daytime stars.”
iMediaEthics notes that saying “Michael and Kelly ‘climb aboard a tandem bike for their photo shoot’ ” leaves out a critical fact. The photo shoot was not at a beach but in a studio. To require readers to click on a video to learn this fact does not conform to well established ethical values for photography in news publishing. There needs to be clear labeling that states an image is a “photo illustration” or “photo composite” when there is Photoshop fakery.
This lack of disclosure is especially important as Parade is distributed in Sunday newspapers and is therefore seen as part of the news. With a circulation of more than 30 million, the magazine Parade should be held to ethical standards of disclosure in labeling fake images.
UPDATE: 3:25PM Added additional information about Photoshop work on the coaster car.
UPDATE: 6/6/2013: 2:40PM : Yesterday, June 5, at 4:52PM, Parade’s editor-in-chief responded to iMediaEthics inquiry. We added the response in the story.
UPDATE: 7/13/13 12:10 PM : Added info about Parade’s circulation