iMediaEthics' 2010 Best Fake Photos Stories

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The Dominion Post, a West Virginia newspaper, won the top spot in StinkyJournalism's 2010 Best Fake Photos Stories

iMediaEthics has written dozens of stories this year about fake or doctored photos in the media, the use of Photoshop, and misleading images.  Just below, find ten of the more interesting photo fakery cases that we reported in 2010.

10. West Virginia Newspaper Photoshops 3 Politicians out of Front-Page Photo

In this May story, iMediaEthics reported about West Virginia newspaper, the Dominion Post, which Photoshopped out three politicians from its front-page photo (original photo on the left, fake photo published by newspaper on the right).  The newspaper reportedly explained its Photoshopping as part of a policy that prohibited the publication of photos of political candidates. See the whole story here.

9. Fake photo of University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban exposed by Birmingham newspaper

On the left, see Dorothy Davidson’s doctored campaign photo, which Photoshopped Davidson into the original photo on the right, of Alabama football coach Nick Saban and his wife found on his charity’s web site. (Credit: Birmingham News, Nick’s Kids)

This August story reported how the Birmingham News uncovered a fake photo of University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban. The original photo (on the right) pictured Saban and his wife. The Photoshopped version showed Saban with political candidate Dorothy Davidson.  See the full story here.

8. Largest-circulating Egyptian newspaper defends fake photo

The original photo (top) compared with the doctored photo, printed in Al-Ahram (below). (Credit: Charles Apple’s blog)

Al-Ahram, the largest circulation Egyptian newspaper, defended its decision to Photoshop the above image.  The original photo (top) picture the political leaders in their accurate walking positions.  Al-Ahram edited the photo (below)  to put Egypt’s president in the front of the other leaders.  See full story here.

7. Lance Armstrong’s real T-shirt doesn’t curse, Outside Magazine uses Photoshop

Lance Armstrong tweeted his complaint about Outside magazine photoshopping a fake logo on his plain T-shirt–complete with abbreviated curse words–for its cover. Outside defends itself by pointing to a small font disclosure on the cover–see small text circles in red and enlarged in yellow box above. (Credit: Outside magazine)

Outside magazine Photoshopped the above image of athlete Lance Armstrong.  Armstrong’s real T-shirt didn’t curse, although Outside edited the image to show his shirt reading “Big F****** Deal.”  Armstrong was not pleased.  See the complete report here.

6. Bloggers Discovered BP Doctored 3 Photos

Gizmodo pointed out one of the tip-offs in the third and most recent Photoshopped image posted by BP. (Credit: Gizmodo)

In this July story,  iMediaEthics reported how bloggers discovered fake photos published by BP following this year’s oil spill. See above red circles where editing is visible.  Or, check out the full iMediaEthics story here.

5. British political campaigns staged photos : Actors portray police, doctor, nurse

ACTORS PORTRAYED POLICE IN CAMPAIGN MATERIALS: The Liberal Democrats have admitted to staging at least three photos for candidate campaign materials. This screenshot from the BBC’s coverage shows nearly identical photos in two different candidates’ campaign materials. (Candidates on left).

iMediaEthics reported in May when British political campaigns used staged photos.  The Liberal Democrat candidates used actors to portray nurses and police officers.  See complete story here.

4. Fake photo of alligator found in marijuana raid published by Metro Times

Detroit weekly newspaper, The Metro Times, published the above photo of a small alligator as having been found during marijuana raids. However, the newspaper has since removed the photo from the story and blogged to announce that the photo is fake. (Credit: Metro Times)

In this September story, iMediaEthics reported how a Michigan newspaper admitted publishing a fake photo of an alligator found during a marijuana raid.  See complete story here.

3. Reuters called out for editing two photos of attack on Mavi Marmara

Note the three circled elements of the original photograph published by AP–weapons and blood–are cropped from the Reuters’ version of the same photograph. (Credit: Little Green Footballs, with iMediaEthics’ emphasis)

Reuters was criticized in June for publishing cropped photos of a Mavi Marmara attack.  The edited photos remove blood and a knife from the images.  See the complete story here.

2. The Economist Photoshops Obama Cover Photo

The Economist doctored the cover image on the left. See original Reuters photo on the right. (Credit: New York Times)

The Economist’s June 19 cover story doctored a photo of President Barack Obama to crop one person out and remove another from the image.  The original photo (on the right) features two people not seen in the Economist’s photo on the left. See complete story here.

1. TIME Posts Twitter Photo with its 2010 NYC Storm Blog; Photo’s Really from 1976

See above a detail of a screenshot from Time’s blog about the tornado photo. As the Huffington Post’s Craig Kanalley noted, the photo isn’t from Sept 2010 as Time first reported, but from July 1976. (Credit: Time)

In September, a Time magazine blogger was duped by a photo posted on Twitter of a tornado. A Twitter user posted the above photo from 1976 as a joke, and Time published it as if it were a real image of storms that hit New York this fall.  See the whole story here.


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iMediaEthics’ Best Fake Photos Stories of 2010

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