12/24/09 11:16 PM

Think Progess Uses Doctored Photo to Smear Fox?

Updated! Most people are familiar with the dubious practices of Think Progress, but their latest smear is so drenched in irony that we couldn't resist exposing it:

O’Reilly Uses Doctored Photo Of NBC President

...O’Reilly has added his own doctored image to the Fox repetoire, in a segment attacking NBC President Jeffery Zucker — apparently just for being the president of O’Reilly’s greatest rival:

The image is stretched to make Zucker look unflattering. Compare O’Reilly’s photo to the original:

Of course, like any such attack from Think Propaganda, the report quickly spread through the Fox hater echo chamber: Now for the truth. Here's a clip taken right off the broadcast that includes the offending photo:

Did you catch it? Here's the Think Propganda screengrab again:

And here's a screengrab taken directly off the Fox News Channel broadcast clip you just saw:

To make it crystal clear, the Think Propaganda "screengrab" is on the left, the actual Fox broadcast on the right:

No, your eyes do not deceive you. It wasn't Bill O'Reilly or Fox who altered the photograph. It was Think Progress! They squeezed it in on the sides, darkened it up a bit, and then claimed it was a Fox photoshop job. While all along it was Think Progress who "unethically" doctored the image, just to smear Fox with another lie.

Now that they are caught, will they fess up and apologize? What about all the others who gleefully repeated their lie? Post your predictions in the comments.

UPDATE: Inside Cable News takes on our analysis with one of their own. They chalk up the excessive skinniness of the Think Progress screen grab to variations among cable providers, which doesn't explain why this one Think Progress screengrab shows a distortion not present in any of their others. Or what cable provider would broadcast such obviously squeezed images. Although ICN tries to concoct an explanation that would absolve TP, they basically concede our main point--that Think Progress used an image that was excessively squeezed.

ICN notes that even correcting for the squeezed image posted by TP, their comparisons still show a small vertical stretch in the Fox graphic. We take their point, but it's certainly far less of a differential than with the obviously squeezed TP image, and barely noticeable without the A/B comparison. This time ICN does not make the argument that it could be the result of variations among cable carriers, but this slight variation is far removed from the grotesque differential suggested by TP's use of an obviously squeezed screengrab. They should not be let off the hook for that.

A third point ICN makes is that Zucker's right ear is not visible in the Fox slide, which they cite as clear proof of a photoshopping job. Well, it's obvious Zucker's head was digitally placed into the box design with a blue background (The Factor uses these for head shots) and removing the original background could inadvertently remove Zucker's ear as well. But there is no reason why Zucker's ear would go missing if someone were just stretching the image, so this conclusive final argument from ICN isn't really proof of intentional stretching at all. Just proof of something we already knew: Fox changed the background color.

What do you think? Was Think Progress right all along? Or did they skew their argument by using a doctored image? Comments are open.

Johnny, winning the lottery has better odds.
December 3, 2008, 3:45:43 AM EST – Like – Reply

Fox Fan
This can happen when you have the incorrect aspect ratio set on your TV. If a program is aired in 16X9 (HD's default ratio) and the viewer's TV is set to 4X3 the image will be horizontally compressed. However, since O'Reilly isn't broadcast in 16X9 even on FNC HD (it is 4X3 with filler on the sides) this "mistake" is obviously purposeful.
December 3, 2008, 7:19:19 AM EST – Like – Reply

I was over at ICN and they said that the photos proved that it was photoshopped and that you owe Think Porgress, a left wing smear site an apology. I didn't hear ICN asking for an apology when photos of Fox News personalities were photoshopped so don't expect any type of outrage from ICN...
December 3, 2008, 9:41:23 AM EST – Like – Reply

johnny dollar
I have updated my post to respond to ICN. I think they raise interesting points, but not all of them are valid, and none of them convinces me that Think Progress didn't deliberately use a docotred, squeezed image to smear Fox.
December 3, 2008, 9:48:08 AM EST – Like – Reply

This can happen when you have the incorrect aspect ratio set on your TV.
Fox Fan | 12.03.08 - 7:24 am | #0
I hate it when that happens...
December 3, 2008, 1:27:33 PM EST – Like – Reply

Screen captures are a bit of a dodgy thing...I've made many in my time...But sometimes they simple come out looking wrong....So I'd give TP the benefit of the doubt here.  
But as we know from previous experiences...FNC are well known for their liberal use of Photoshop their perceived enemies....So I have no problem believing that O'reilly's staff doctored this photo.
We also know FNC are well accustomed in the art of editing out negativity towards Republicans in videos they air.
December 3, 2008, 5:37:50 PM EST – Like – Reply

johnny dollar
AlabamaDem, you are welcome to give TP every benefit of a doubt, and Fox none. But must you continue to masquerate as a "Dem from Albama"? If I'm right, you'd need to take a transoceanic flight to qualify for that name!
December 3, 2008, 5:43:37 PM EST – Like – Reply

Johnny, thank you for the welcome...But I really don't know what you mean in the rest of your post.
Fox Fan made a good point about the 4x3 16x9 thing...But maybe the person who took the screen shot was forcing a 16x9 picture from the original 4x3 picture. I know I do this and the picture ends up stretched...So maybe this should be taken into account.
There is documented evidence that FNC Photoshop stuff...So it's not to much of a leap of faith to assume they (FNC) did the same here.
December 3, 2008, 6:06:12 PM EST – Like – Reply

johnny dollar
AlDem, I was born at night, but not last night. Don't think i am unaware of what's going on.
December 3, 2008, 6:15:07 PM EST – Like – Reply

Johnny, I was also born at night...and like you, not last night...But I'm totally unaware as to what your talking about.
I found this site from a video posted on TVNewser a week or so ago.
December 3, 2008, 6:27:54 PM EST – Like – Reply

johnny dollar
Your multiple IPs and European grammar don't exactly suggest Tuscaloosa. But let it be as you say.
December 3, 2008, 6:42:10 PM EST – Like – Reply

Johnny, I'm originally from Europe and educated there...Well spotted....I'm trying hard to erase these habits.  
Please don't start me on IP addresses...I'm currently at loggerheads with my ISP over them.
December 3, 2008, 7:01:35 PM EST – Like – Reply

david smawley
Hey AD, how bout that Palin inspired win in Georgia, all the cable news channels covered the story last night and all day today. Sorry your script doesn't play out anywhere here in the USA. Maybe in enlightened European expresso shops it has legs. Please keep it there.
December 3, 2008, 7:07:33 PM EST – Like – Reply

...FNC are well known for their liberal use of Photoshop their perceived enemies....
Liberal use? That implies a large number. I know of two. One of those two guys a few months ago (that was clearly done in jest) and this one on the head of MSNBC, if it even is a photoshop. As the video shows, if BOR did photoshop it, he made the guy look better. How many can you name AD?
Speaking of photoshops, how about those nitwits at CNN who actually did a segment on one of their shows discussing the Sarah Palin Bikini/AK47 photo? It was a photoshop of course, but CNN never mentioned that, the one commenter said that Palin should not pose for pictures like that one.
December 3, 2008, 7:29:04 PM EST – Like – Reply

There is documented evidence that FNC Photoshop stuff...So it's not to much of a leap of faith to assume they (FNC) did the same here.
AlabamaDem | 12.03.08 - 6:11 pm | #  
Documented? A google search pulls up only the item about the two NYT reporters who did the hit piece on Murdoch.  
There is also documented evidence that K"C"O lies on his Countdown show, so it would not be much of a leap of faith that he will lie again tonight, and tomorrow, and the day after, and next monday, and next Tuesday.
December 3, 2008, 7:46:23 PM EST – Like – Reply

"A third point ICN makes is that Zucker's right ear is not visible in the Fox slide, which they cite as clear proof of a photoshopping job."
The photo doesn't look to me like a dead straight on shot but rather that he has his head and body slightly turned towards his right, which would account for his missing ear. Add that to his obviuosly small and flat ears and I would be more questioning if both of his ears were equally prominent.
December 3, 2008, 11:07:43 PM EST – Like – Reply

Your multiple IPs and European grammar don't exactly suggest Tuscaloosa. But let it be as you say.
johnny dollar | Homepage | 12.03.08 - 6:47 pm | #  
I wouldn't assume for one minute that there was any attempt to hide that.  
"Mum" and "dodgy" are obvious enough that even a Brit with a FOX grudge (or a Yank wishing to pretend they are a former Brit poster here) would avoid those expressions.
Little controversies at blogs, such as 'is he or isn't he', are just the sort attention garnering cat-and-mouse games that feed the ego of a troll.  
They may have rare moments of insight and sincerity, but only when they wish to drink the intoxicating elixir of their own insight and sincerity... self-righteousness. With YOU they will NEVER be honest brokers. You don't merit it, deserve it, or offer any benefit for it...
December 4, 2008, 7:17:12 AM EST – Like – Reply

The only question I have is:
Does this 'Think Negative' get their panties in a wad when a show such as "Countdown' photoshops BOR's head onto a small body?
Or do they think? "That's just a Hoot!
December 4, 2008, 10:05:00 AM EST – Like – Reply