The news media has always been the source of controversy and criticism, especially now during the times of so-called ‘fake news’. A number of studies suggest that more Americans actually have a negative view of the media rather than a positive one.
Some people blame the media for being biased, subjective and not trustworthy, and there are a couple of examples that could certainly back those claims up. Users on the internet have been posting pictures of how the media can manipulate the truth by leaving out specific information or parts of an image that immediately brings a whole new meaning to a photograph.
The following examples are manipulative and a perfect example of how perspective matters. Two different reports or shots from the same event can be captured in an entirely different way.
When photos are taken with a professional camera and saved in a specific file format, it’s possible to greatly adjust certain values such as saturation and sharpness afterward. That has definitely been the case here with a photograph from Klavs Bo Christensen. The oversaturation leads to a much greater contrast and making the area look worse than it actually is.
2) Staged picture
Forget about zooming in, cropping certain details out or getting another perspective of an event – this widely spread picture was simply staged. Photographer Ruben Salvadori was in Palestina to cover conflicts between Israeli troops and Palestinians. One of the young Palestinians in the area agreed to take a photo, but Salvadori’s work was definitely misinterpreted by some media channels.
3) No shoes, no socks
Sometimes, manipulation can be quite funny. This news anchor for a tv station, for example, decided to go sock- and shoeless for his presentation duties during a live broadcast. Anchors who wear shorts underneath the table are apparently quite common, but this man takes it one step further.
4) Misleading cover image
This particular cover of The Economist has been the center of quite some controversy, to say the least. The magazine shows us a picture of President Obama with a rather dark and grim background, giving the impression that he’s extremely worried about the situation. In reality, however, he was simply talking with someone else while bowing his head down.
5) Entirely different perspectives
This famous photograph that was taken in Southern Iraq, 2003 has been manipulated countless times. We see US Marines who are simply helping an Iraqi soldier by giving him some water, but the weird positioning of one marine’s barrel makes it look like they’re threatening him if the right side of the photo is cropped off.
6) Playing around
It turns out that zooming in is one of the most manipulative practices to alter the perspective of a photograph. The picture above was widely shared and shows a solder and a frightening kid – but in reality, the child is only afraid that his buddy who’s playing with the soldier, will lose the game.
7) Caged in
A disturbing photograph of a young boy seemingly behind fences was massively shared on the internet as a form of protest, but some argue that there’s room for misinterpretation. After all, it was a zoomed in photo of a local protest and not someone who was actually locked up.
8) Theresa May’s bus
The prime minister of Britain, Theresa May, has definitely been one of the most talked about international politicians of the past year due to the Brexit. A promotional photograph shown above shows her behind a background and large crowd, but in reality, it’s just a bus and a couple of dozen supporters.
9) Doppelgängers in the crowd
It turns out that not even the sports section is safe from photographic manipulation. A local newspaper not only Photoshopped a billboard of a competitor out of the picture, but they also added several doppelgängers in the crowd to give the match a more high-profile feeling. Unfortunately for them, this is clearly a case of bad Photoshop work.
10) Perspectives matter
If there’s one thing that this list proves, it’s that camera angles and perspectives are absolutely essential if you want to spread a certain message. Just like with a number of other political rallies – and practically every politician does this – the crowd is a lot less impressive than the photograph would suggest.
11) Kate and William’s third baby
When Kate Middleton and Prince William from the United Kingdom presented their baby to the rest of the world, there were a couple of remarkable images. Even though baby Prince Louis was supposed to be the focus of the story, one photographer captured what seemed to be a middle finger from William – but in reality, he was only signing ‘three’.
12) Photoshopped newspaper images
Unfortunately, there are plenty of newspapers around the world – both smaller and larger – that are using Photoshop images to make it more fitting for a certain headline. The following is even considered to be war propaganda by many, showing the conflicts in Syria. The man and woman who are standing in front of the ruins have been taken out of another picture and put in a completely different perspective.
13) It’s the whole story that counts
Omitting certain details from a story a picture tells is a common manipulative practice. The first photo on the left was taken in Sauda Arabia and is completely staged. It went viral on the internet with people thinking that it was child ‘sleeping between her parents’, but that wasn’t the case.
14) Trump’s inauguration
This photo was taken during the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, and it shows Mike Pence who is seen waving at the crowd. Except – there really isn’t much of a crowd, according to a zoomed-out photo. It’s incredible how something simple such as zooming in can make such a large difference.
15) Merging two photos together
It’s no secret that some reporters and photographs like to get creative with their pictures, especially in war zones. This soldier is simply pointing somewhere to help this man. Another picture is taken shortly after with the man running towards the soldier, but the two photos were merged together to give it a more aggressive impression.
16) Making the smoke seem worse
The manipulation of the photographer Adnan Hajj, who worked for Reuters, has been covered by the mainstream media. He took a picture after a bombing in Libanon but adjusted that photo by darkening the sky as well as the smoke. The man was also known for copying rockets and placing them somewhere else in the sky. After he was caught falsifying the photos, he was fired by Reuters.
17) Controversial filter
The photo that was taken of OJ Simpson after he was arrested has been seen by millions, but Time magazine decided to add a filter that sparked an outcry of national controversy. The cover is severely darkened, which makes it seem like Simpson has a darker skin color. Some people accused the magazine of racism.
18) The case of the missing pole
This tragic photograph of the events after the Kent State Massacre in 1970 won a Pultizer-prize, but was airbrushed and altered. Although there doesn’t seem to be a manipulative element, the photo is one of the most popular examples of adjusted photographs. In the original photo, you can see a fence pole directly behind the woman’s head. The photographer airbrushed it and removed it, although you can clearly see the alternation because a proper Photoshop didn’t exist back then. Major magazines such as LIFE, People and Time decided to use the altered photo instead of the original one, which led to a vast amount of criticism and controversy by its readers.
19) Extra rocket
In the original picture on the right, shared back in 2008, we see three launching missiles in Iran. However, the photograph that was used by a large news outlet was blatantly Photoshopped with an added rocket. Defense analists had to review the photograph and confirmed that it was clever digital altering. It was this photo that sparked an international debate about photographic ethics.
20) Removed camera
In 2014, photographer Narciso Contreras openly admitted to Photoshopping an image he took in Syria after he was reprimanded and fired from The Associated Press. The Pulitzer-prize winning photographer removed a fellow journalist’s camera in the image, which severely changes the connotation of the picture.
21) Paris tax protests
Admittedly, there are only so many ways that someone can take a picture, but it looks like this news reporter is standing further away from the crowd than usual in order to make it seem more impressive. In reality, only a couple dozen people showed up for this particular protest.
22) Big crowds
Politicians like to impress with pictures of themselves in large crowds. A good photograph can make fifty people look like five hundred, which can be seen here during an event with Hillary Clinton and Warren Buffet in Omaha.
23) Rescuing a piglet, or not?
This photograph of North-Korean soldiers who are rescuing a piglet through strong waters because of a flood doesn’t seem wrong at first, but there’s a picture that was spread across the internet that has been altered via Photoshop. A soldier who seems to be holding a rifle has been added to the picture after it was taken.
As you can see, it’s important not to just take photographs in the media as facts, but to look at them critically. Manipulating images is surprisingly easy and shockingly effective!
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