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I count myself lucky having been privileged to know Chris for several years.  Lucky because, in the crazy oft-dishonest/self serving world of what counts as today’s corporate journalism, Chris maintains the integrity of the great reporters of yore, the ones who reported back in the day when we really did have a Fourth Estate.

It is precisely thanks to the net, to Chris and others like her that, from time to time, major stories make the leap from Kos or HuffPo to Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow or Ed Schultz.  Time and again, the NYTimes et al have ignored important stories, only to jump on them once a blogger like Chris proves something substantive.

With this as background, it was with extreme dismay that I read Chris’s excellent and disturbing report yesterday, http://www.dailykos.com/... on how the U.S. Coast Guard had not only deliberately posed photographs of a pseudo-pristine Pass Christian beachfront but that they’d  crossed the line by placing photo-shopped images of an oil-free beach on their website. Knowing Chris, I knew she had not made her accusation lightly. In fact, I have never known her to post a story she has not thoroughly researched so I was astonished, in following yesterday’s comments, to see her labeled a conspiracy theorist and worse.

I called Chris immediately whereupon she expressed her enormous frustration with the Kos community and the fact that, in living up to her agreement to protect the confidentiality of one on-site national journalist along with that of the workers who spoke with the students (I think we all know what happens to whistle-blowers, especially those who are poor and unconnected,) her own integrity was called into question.

Chris has since shared other images with me, all of which attest incontestably to the fact that things are not as they seem in these now official Coast Guard photos. She plans to post additional photos tomorrow to address and dispel the specific points that led to the skeptism of yesterday’s commenters.

Folks, what’s important here is not the stroking of individual Kossacks egos - - i.e. those who might be more invested in proving diarists wrong for their own sense of self aggrandization - - but the fact that this is a huge story.

I for one refuse to swallow the tale that, after the worst oil spill in history and one that as of August 1, has been going on for 103 days, things are peachy-keen down south. That after millions of barrels of oil gushed forth into the Gulf, three quarters of the oil has magically evaporated, swam away upon the backs of phantasmagorical whales or simply willed itself away.

Perhaps slamming those who question and ignoring obvious reason is enough for some of you to sit down to a nice dish of Creole Shrimp gently simmered in a reduction of oil and Corexit.  As for me, I plan to enjoy my veggies and free-range chicken while I read whatever it is Chris writes, ever grateful that she affirms my need to question the Orwellian fantasies fed a frightened public
.
So Chris, stay on the trail, whether it’s with your superlative breaking stories for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), nipping at the heels of Glen Beck and David Barton or challenging staged government photos.

I’ve known conspiracy theorists and madam, you are no conspiracist.

Originally posted to Save Ohio Now on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 02:04 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well I missed all the excitement yesterday, but I (14+ / 0-)

    would always doubt anything the government puts out....it's just who they are.  Sounds like your friend is someone I need to follow more.

    Thanks

    "...I enjoy helping people who are vulnerable. And I enjoy crushing bastards.".Julian Assange

    by Sydserious on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 02:11:08 PM PDT

  •  True or not (6+ / 0-)

    It's pretty easy to verify the story. Someone just has to take a walk along that beach.

  •  I missed the kerfuffle yesterday (12+ / 0-)

    but I'm not surprised. Some people are just Contrarians, no matter what. I respect Chris immensely, and thank you for bringing my attention to her diary and this story. I'm off to read it now!

    There is no more important struggle for American democracy than ensuring a diverse, independent and free media. - Bill Moyers

    by StepLeftStepForward on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 02:25:58 PM PDT

  •  I missed that diary yesterday. (9+ / 0-)

    I love Chris Rodda's work.

    I'll go read it now.

    It's a dangerous line President Obama walking right now by selling the Gulf as safe and clean.

    Especially when the science is not in. Then reports like this are trickling out:

    DOJ gags scientists studying BP disaster.

    It's not a fucking conspiracy theory.

    "Trying to hold back the revision of history is always a good thing." -- Peter Christopherson

    by jethrock on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 02:28:41 PM PDT

  •  Uh (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    virginislandsguy, second gen

    Chris has since shared other images with me, all of which attest incontestably to the fact that things are not as they seem in these now official Coast Guard photos. She plans to post additional photos tomorrow to address and dispel the specific points that led to the skeptism of yesterday’s commenters.

    Great, I look forward to to seeing them.  If I see evidence of the photoshopping, I will accept that as true.

    What I will not do is accept the words of anyone without first looking at the evidence.  The evidence posted in the original diary did not support its claims.  If subsequent posts change that, great.

    Until then, please stop telling me I need to trust anyone without the necessary evidence to back it up.

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 02:28:58 PM PDT

  •  Our Gov't? Fake Photos? Mistruths? (4+ / 0-)

    Shirley we jest.

    This is a great diary.

    Here is a great quote:

    (Wo)Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.

    Winston Churchill

    And, psst, we all know the oil is under the sand.

  •  I admit, the "conspiracy theorist" insults (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jethrock, StepLeftStepForward

    were a little over the top, but those commenters in that diary had every right to analyze those photos, come up with an alternative explanation, and comment about it.

    You're watching Fox News. OH MY GOD--LOOK OUT BEHIND YOU

    by rexymeteorite on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 02:32:52 PM PDT

  •  I believe there's a straightforward way (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Empty Vessel

    to address this, as I suggested in that diary.

    If the photograph was photoshopped, show the discontinuities in it, just like the HuffPo article did when they showed that BP's photographs of its command center were photoshopped.

    There's nothing personal about this, and holding a diarist to the standards we'd hold any journalist from any outlet is a form of respect.

    But trying to conflate being skeptical of Rodda's "proof" with believing that everything is peachy-keen in the Gulf is not respectful.  It's insulting. It's also purposefully deceptive, since both skepticism of Rodda's arguments and skepticism of BP's claims were often expressed in the same comment.

  •  Good job. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sydserious, Save Ohio Now

    And I agree, I've never seen anything to indicate Chris is ever less than meticulous and honest.

    I can now guess who some of the 'CT' shouters were, and it doesn't surprise me in the least.  I think some of the trollery is getting a bit too blatant around here of late.

    Note to self: Quit insulting people. Note to others: If I insult you, please remind me that I'm trying to stop doing that.

    by Ezekial 23 20 on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 02:48:53 PM PDT

    •  Actually a caveat. (0+ / 0-)

      Only a couple of the folks talking CT are ones I expected.  There were some I never would have thought would go there.

      Note to self: Quit insulting people. Note to others: If I insult you, please remind me that I'm trying to stop doing that.

      by Ezekial 23 20 on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 02:53:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Having read the article and many of the (3+ / 0-)

    comments, I didn't see anyone getting nasty or personal, just challenging Chris' claims. I imagined it would be much worse.

    Personally, I have no idea if they were photoshopped or not. I do think the selective choice of photos by the 'recovery' site is abominable, but not at all surprising. I look forward to the next diary.

    There is no more important struggle for American democracy than ensuring a diverse, independent and free media. - Bill Moyers

    by StepLeftStepForward on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 03:12:35 PM PDT

  •  Well after reading Chris Rodda's diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    virginislandsguy, think blue

    I can't tell that any of the images were actually photoshopped... It does however appear that they chose to use images that do not show the muck.

    I work in film production... both live action and post production. So I know a thing or two about cameras and photoshop.

    Photographs can be deceptive. When you take a photo you are flattening a three dimensional space into a two-dimensional space. Many different things can alter the perspective of the image... from filters, to lenses, to angles, to light, to position, to how much of a zoom the photographer uses from his actual position.

    All of these things can alter the "reality" of the images. Many of these things are used by photographers to create in camera "tricks"

    The positioning of the "yellow thing" the "white tent" and the "white boat" from two different angles with two different cameras is not evidence of moving things  around in photoshop.

    Neither image is the "true" perspective.

    While I love Chris Rodda's work... I don't see any evidence of the images being photoshopped. What is more likely is that they chose to use "clean" images that did not  show the oil and the mess on the beach.

     

    "Trying to hold back the revision of history is always a good thing." -- Peter Christopherson

    by jethrock on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 03:14:28 PM PDT

    •  I didn't say anything in the background was ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Save Ohio Now, jethrock

      ... moved around. I only posted the photo of where those things were actually positioned to make it clear where the photographer was standing in the other photos, which would have been impossible to explain going only by the photo taken by the Coast Guard photographer. The photos I will be posting tomorrow will show what's missing where the water is in the Coast Guard's photo, which I'm confident will make even the most skeptical take a second look. I think showing that something is completely missing will be easier to see and far more convincing than comparing things that are there in both photos.

      •  But you also stated that the photographer had (0+ / 0-)

        been there well before the students arrived.

        A lot of movement can happen in fifteen minutes.

        I'll look forward to your diary tomorrow. I typically love your writing.

        "Trying to hold back the revision of history is always a good thing." -- Peter Christopherson

        by jethrock on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 03:39:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You've misunderstood (0+ / 0-)

          The photographer was there in Pass Christian on a different part of the beach taking the other photo, which is at the end of my diary, at 11:49 a.m. The photo that everyone is talking about was taken at 1:05 p.m., when the students, who I know were definitely there between 12:09 p.m. and 1:17 p.m. (the times of their photo arriving and photo leaving), were there. That's how they have all those photos of the photographer posing and taking photos of those two workers.

          •  Do we know that everybody's clocks (0+ / 0-)

            on their cameras were set to the correct time?

            "Trying to hold back the revision of history is always a good thing." -- Peter Christopherson

            by jethrock on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 04:10:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  YES!!!! I made this clear in the comments. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jethrock

              I absolutely checked the cameras, and compensated for things like one student's camera not being set for daylight savings time, etc. I spent two whole days establishing the exact time of all the photos. And, besides the times on the individual cameras, the students' photos and videos all back up each others times because they were taking pictures of each other taking pictures. For example, a student was shooting a video from 1:00 to 1:22; another student shot some photos of the student while she was shooting the video. The times of the photos and video match. Another student, at the same time, caught an ATV in the background of one of their photos as it was pulling up where the student was shooting her video. The time of that third student's photo also matches the time you see the ATV appear in the video.

              I also went one step further in verifying the time using the clouds in the Coast Guard photo. We know the Coast Guard photo was taken at 1:05, so I checked the positions of the clouds in all the students' photos taken in the same direction between 1:04 and 1:06, and the clouds match.

              When I say I checked and double checked everything, I mean everything. This is why I didn't post my diary until Friday, even though I've had these photos since August 2. It took me 12 days to check everything I needed to check.

  •  but we were told that most of the BP (0+ / 0-)

    oil spill is GONE!

    i'm not sure who's nuttier, the people selling the good news or the people selling the bad news.

    :::: as i scurry away, hiding my elegant tin hat:::

    cause god knows, I don't want to get another flashing warning about CT from dKos. or, even worse, be reported to the admins!

    wake up y'all. time to smell the tar. we've been lied to about elections and votes cast, wars, oil, bail outs. and who knows what else.

    and you wanna get picky about the US Government photoshopping some photos?

    Obamabots are another matter completely, though. They're the political version of teenage girls passing out at a Backstreet Boys concert...

    by pfiore8 on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 03:17:22 PM PDT

  •  Having now looked at the prior diary (0+ / 0-)

    I think all the optics and camera experts need to take another peak at the blow up and compare it to what they learn from the student pictures. From the water there has to be a somewhat short sloping rise to a break, followed by a more gradual, nearly flat run to the tree line. There is a guy in a green jacket by one tent leg. We can see all of him in the student picture, which helps us to estimate the slope of the fore beach as opposed to the upper flatter beach.

    In the blow up, we see, faintly, the reflection of the yellow thing in the water right at the water's edge. The poles sticking out of it are also reflected into the water, but with their thicknesses and angles somewhat seriously askew. The thickest one is definitely reflected at an angle from the non-reflected original. We see the top of the tent also reflected into the water. The top of the guy near the leg is clearly visible, but not reflected in the water at all.

    There is enough information there to do some ray tracing, Without doing any, however, I think that the arguments that it is all straightforward optical effects are not iron clad. The straightening of the angle of the thick post and the two to its right in their reflections is a bit problematic, especially when combined with the fact that we can see the reflections of the leftmost 3 posts where they intersect the yellow thing, as well as the tent top, but not the guy in green.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt -

    by enhydra lutris on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 04:08:56 PM PDT

    •  Thank you, enhydra lutris (0+ / 0-)

      You're doing exactly what I had hoped other people would do -- looking at the photo themselves to see if they see any anomalies.

      I noticed the thing about the posts too, but thought that if I started getting that picky, it would just look like I was grasping at straws and exacerbate the conspiracy theorist accusations. What is your take on the reflection of the worker in the forefront? Shouldn't we be seeing at least some green in it from his vest like there is in the reflection of the worker in the background?

      •  To answer your question... No (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        virginislandsguy

        Shouldn't we be seeing at least some green in it from his vest like there is in the reflection of the worker in the background?

        We are talking about the Gulf of Mexico which is in constant movement.

        The only way that we "should" see a clear reflection of both workers is if the water was completely still.

        Which is pretty hard especially when you are standing in the water moving a shovel around in it. Note the ripples all around the shovel.

        "Trying to hold back the revision of history is always a good thing." -- Peter Christopherson

        by jethrock on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 04:53:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not talking about a clear reflection (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jethrock

          I'm talking about just some reflection, or even a hint of that color in the water, only because the vest is such an incredibly bright green.

          There's going to be something in my diary tomorrow about the ripples, because the students' photos show that there really weren't any ripples anywhere on that beach that look anything like what's in front of the worker in the background. You'll see what I mean tomorrow.

          But, anyway, this is what I was hoping would happen yesterday -- that other people would download the high res photo and start looking at it for themselves, and we could compare opinions and observations, so I'm happy that that's starting to happen here.

        •  Before I start, I have lived my whole life on (0+ / 0-)

          or near the pacific ocean and its bays and harbors, ok. I know about ripples, waves, monster surf and tidal waves. I also know a tad of physics and classical optics, have taken photos on and over water, have some telescopes and binos etc., etc. and spend a lot of time outdoors, always have.

          Ripples will mess up outlines, but not necessarily colors. Look at the workman to the left, on the beach. You can see the colors in his reflection and you can also see that there are plenty of ripples. Now, look at the guy with the shovel. You can see his reflection only as an outline. There are ripples, but not worse than near shore where the other guy's reflection is. The water is unlikely to be shallower than inshore where the other reflection is, and I will attach a shot of mine over a small sierra lake where you can see that the colors run right up to the bank, regardless of depth.

          I don't find this conclusive because it might be the interaction of the flash, the depth and some sort of polarizing filter. It is, however, an artifact that needs a conclusive explanation by one of the photo experts, becasue it is otherwise anomalous. Anomalies in digital photos are automatically suspect. It could also be a filter with no flash.

          The reflection in the guys glasses has been described as reflection of the flash, but then the camera must be aimed low from the light and dark patterns on his person. Look at his left shoulder. Not flash from front and below, hence sun. Look at his shadow. Spread by ripples and possibly flash too but visualize the angle of the sun from the shoulder and shadow (behind and to our left)  Look at the sun on his left foot and the shadow of his left foot, not distorted by the flash, but you can see the shadow of the shovel caused by the flash on his foot. Now look at the dude on the beach. Where is his sun? Nothing has a shadow but his shovel so the sun has to be at the angle of his torso in the direction in which his shovel is pointing - definitely not the other guy's sun, or so it seems.

          Here's the picture I promised. Colors don't depend on depth of water, and the reflection of the guy on the beach shows that they don't depend on ripples alone.

          mirrorlake2

           

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt -

          by enhydra lutris on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 06:50:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  See (0+ / 0-)

        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt -

        by enhydra lutris on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 06:51:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  proving a negative (or jpg) (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lineatus, jethrock

      I think that the arguments that it is all straightforward optical effects are not iron clad.

      I think it's not the obligation of the skeptics to have iron clad arguments that photoshopping didn't happen.  I think it's the obligation of the person who's accusing the Coast Guard of manipulating its image to provide iron clad reasons to believe that the image has been manipulated.

      •  Well said. nt (0+ / 0-)

        "Trying to hold back the revision of history is always a good thing." -- Peter Christopherson

        by jethrock on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 07:36:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  So let's work together and prove it one way or .. (0+ / 0-)

        ... the other. We all want the same thing -- for BP and the government to stop lying about the condition of the Gulf. Even if all that can be proven is that the Coast Guard deliberately cherry picked the location of their photos to make it look deceptively clean, which there hasn't really been any disagreement on from the start, this is still a major issue. This beach has been declared safe and reopened for fishing and shrimping, for chrissakes, even though thousands of dead fish just washed up there only a few days ago. (They're blaming that on the water being too warm and saying it has nothing to do with the oil or dispersant chemicals.)

      •  Two different sources of sunlight qualify, IMHO. (0+ / 0-)

        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt -

        by enhydra lutris on Sun Aug 15, 2010 at 05:08:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  So very well said, Save Ohio Now! Especially so (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Save Ohio Now

    this:

    Folks, what’s important here is not the stroking of individual Kossacks egos - - i.e. those who might be more invested in proving diarists wrong for their own sense of self aggrandization - - but the fact that this is a huge story

    Information shared from sources living in the midst or from those attempting to shine a light on what is not being reported could save lives and/or further misery.

    Frankly & sadly, I've lived long enough to know to question what lies beneath the spin and to follow up those with the courage who try to bring truth to surface.

  •  Thank you ever so much. (0+ / 0-)

    It can be frustrating, even here on Kos.

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