Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Condi Rice and Mystique: Separated At Birth?

Oooh, this is scary:

Michelle Malkin
spotted that photo in a USA Today article. (As of today, a week later, that picture is still up.

And yes, the picture was doctored. Michelle found the original for comparison purposes:

As Michelle eloquently asks, "what the ^$%#@+! is going on?"

Here's one last comparison shot:

It makes you wonder: is USA Today trying to tell us something?

UPDATE: As my wife points out, following the USA Today link now shows the correct photograph, and includes the following disclaimer:
Editor's note: The photo of Condoleezza Rice that originally accompanied this story was altered in a manner that did not meet USA TODAY's editorial standards. The photo has been replaced by a properly adjusted copy. Photos published online are routinely cropped for size and adjusted for brightness and sharpness to optimize their appearance. In this case, after sharpening the photo for clarity, the editor brightened a portion of Rice's face, giving her eyes an unnatural appearance. This resulted in a distortion of the original not in keeping with our editorial standards.
Hmm, interesting!

Ms. Malkin, as I expected, is on top of this, with lots more links, and some reader explanations as to why USA Today's story makes no sense. For example: the "brightening" effect is clearly on the eyes alone, which could only have been done deliberately. One reader split the two images down the middle and combined them:

Do you see any brightening, or any coloration difference, between the left and right sides of Condi's face? Neither do I.

Presumably, someone did this as a joke -- and either left it in until it was too late, or else thought no one would notice. This does no good to USA Today's reputation either way.

UPDATE II: Samantha Burns (and her sidekick Igor) go into this in far greater detail. I encourage you to check out the work -- the photo-editing is fascinating, at least to me. But the conclusions are: yes, of course the photo was deliberately edited, around the eyes only; no, it wasn't pixel-by-pixel editing necessarily, it could have been done with a 'sharpening' filter; and therefore, no, it wasn't necessarily deliberate malice, but possibly just an attempt to make Condi's eye-liner etc. stand out more. (If so, it was embarrassingly bad.)

This explanation makes sense to me; if I was on a jury, deliberating on whether or not USA Today had malice aforethought, I'd now have a hard time convicting.

On the other hand, I'd have to agree with anyone who thinks that it's mighty funny to see this, in a major newspaper, just before Halloween. (And isn't it a strange coincidence that things like this only happen when they can make Republicans look bad? Or am I missing the equally silly bad-editing jobs done on Democrats?)


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