This week's edition of the The Economist sports a cover image of President Obama standing alone on a Gulf Coast beach, staring at the ground with his hands on hips, an oil drilling rig on the distant horizon looming over his bowed head.
As the New York Times' Jeremy W. Peters writes: "It was the ideal metaphor for a politically troubled president."
Except, as Peters points out, the photograph had been doctored by The Economist. President Obama wasn't standing in isolation. He was actually with Cmdr. Thad Allen, the leader of the federal response to BP's oil spill, and Charlotte Randolph, President of Lafourche Parish, both of whom were briefing him on local and federal response efforts.
Take a look:
Left: Economist cover with doctored photo.
Center: Undoctored photo (Larry Downing/Reuters).
Right: Undoctored photo superimposed on cover.
This isn't the biggest deal in the world, but there's really no excuse for bending facts to support a narrative. Digital image processing can be a great way to make a point, but it's wrong to create a fake image and pass it off as real to an unsuspecting audience. That's the kind of thing we'd expect from the Iranian government -- and they really aren't the guys you want to emulate.
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