New Republic Removes Photoshopped GOP Debate Picture

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See the "original," NYT version (above) and the photoshopped version that appeared on the New Republic's website (bottom). The person third to the right has been photoshopped. (Credit: Charles Apple, NYT, screenshot)

The New Republic has removed a photoshopped image that cut-and-pasted Texas governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry into a month-old photo of the Republican debates.

The “original photo” was from the August 11 Republican debate and published by the New York Times. It pictures Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, Jon Huntsman and Newt Gingrich, according to the photo caption, which credits “Max Whittaker for the New York Times.”

The photoshop was published to accompany the New Republic’s Sept. 7 story on that day’s Republican debate, visual journalist Charles Apple reported.  Apple, also a design and graphics instructor, noted the New Republic didn’t include a photo credit.

Apple explained that the photoshopping replaces Tim Pawlenty’s head with Rick Perry’s. Pawlenty “dropped out of the 2012 U.S. presidential race” in mid-August, Reuters reported. Around the same time, Perry announced his candidacy.

In an update, the New Republic disclosed that it took the photo down. The update states: “I removed the photo above, which I thought was a real photograph, but turns out to be photoshopped.”

Apple told iMediaEThics by e-mail that he didn’t ask New Republic to take action. Rather, he said part of his job is “to monitor, write about and comment on visual journalism. And that includes ethical breaches.” iMediaEthics has asked the New Republic’s Jonathan Chait how he found out about the photoshop and will update with any response.

Apple listed some “clues” to the photoshop, including the different lighting on Perry’s face.  POLITICO print designer Bill Kuchman, who sent Apple the tip, told Apple he noticed the photo problems because “Perry looked off” and the background didn’t feature any “POLITICO logos.”

Also, in the original photo, Michele Bachmann and Pawlenty, who are standing next to each other, are facing and turned in the same direction.  In the photoshopped image, while Pawlenty’s body is still faced to the his right, Perry’s head “pasted atop” is facing straight ahead, StinkyJournalism notes.

Apple criticized the New Republic for the photoshop, stating:

“Shame on the New Republic. And shame on whatever it is that passes for ethics at that organization.”


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New Republic Removes Photoshopped GOP Debate Picture

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