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.
1) 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.
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.
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) 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.
6) 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.
7) 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.
8) 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.
9) 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’.
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) 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.
12) 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 waa s child ‘sleeping between her parents’, but that wasn’t the case.
13) 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.
14) 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.
15) 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.
16) 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.
17) 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.
18) 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.
19) 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.
20) 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.
21) 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.
22) Create a diversion
Sometimes when you’re watching an important news segment, there might be an ‘accidental’ moment of an ‘inadvertent’ photo. However, it’s really all about distraction. Creating a ‘funny’ or ‘cute’ diversion helps us quickly forget about the important and sometimes scarier reality.
23) Americans fed different news stories
Time Magazine has become notorious for showing Americans an entirely different ‘pressing’ news story versus the rest of the world. They constantly give Americans a ‘dumbed-down’ version of world news while giving the rest of the world an entirely different message altogether.
24) Fake war coverage
In this ridiculous footage, CNN Anderson Cooper dubs in sound effects and adds chaotic video to the correspondent in Syria. When watching the video, you can see how the correspondent is actually in a very safe situation but the CNN version portrays it in a complete opposite way.
25) Regurgitated news scripts
Hilarious comedian Conan O’Brien did us all a favor by compiling news broadcasts from across the country. In the footage, it shows that the same exact silly script is used in ‘local news’ broadcasts everywhere. This is just more proof that you cannot trust the authenticity of what you’re watching on the news.
26) Unrealistic expectations
This concerning video shows us all what goes into making those models look so flawless. So many times, people compare themselves to these ‘perfect-looking’ people on the media. However, most of us should realize that they are not perfect at all. No one is! Take a look at the work that goes into ‘perfecting’ this female model.
27) Constant Photoshopping
With the invention of Photoshop, our perception of reality will never be the same. Take these side-by-side covers featuring Beyonce. On one cover, she has lighter skin and lighter hair. While the one right next to it shows her with darker skin and darker hair.
28) More photo alterations
“When Stalin began to consolidate his power in the 1920s, the Soviet regime strived to remove all “enemies of the state” from history. Pictures were altered using razors, other photos, and airbrushes. At the time of this photo, Trotsky was still a powerful figure in Russia and held the powerful chairman of the Supreme Military Council position. The image was later altered by removing supposed enemies of the Soviet state. Four people, including Trotsky, were removed,” says Spark Notes.
29) Fill in the blanks
This news story was so hot off the press that they forgot to fill in the missing text. The article was clearly written before the event happened, and once it did, they were in such a hurry to get it out that they forgot to put text where the ‘xx’ holders were.
30) ‘Irrelevant’ information
Sometimes news outlets will leave out important facts, calling them ‘irrelevant’ if they don’t fit their agenda. In this example, someone called out news station KHOU to let them know some facts about the person in the article, however, they replied saying that it was ‘irrelevant’ to their story. Seems relevant to us!
31) Staged photo-op
After the horrible attack at Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, France, leaders from 40 nations gathered in a hyped display of solidarity against terrorism. However, things aren’t what they seem. In the first photo, they were shown supposedly leading an exciting crowd. Then, the real photo was released showing that it was actually just a staged photo-op.
32) Green screen mishap
Green screens. They’re great for movies and special effects, but for news broadcasts? Not so much. Never trust the background of a news broadcast, because chances are–it’s fake. This correspondent learned the hard way when she wore a green shirt to a green screen news broadcast. The color instantly fades into the green screen and now she’s just a floating head.
As you can see, it’s important not to just take photographs or broadcasts in the media as facts, but to look at them critically. Manipulating images is surprisingly easy and shockingly effective! Keep in mind, 90% of the media in the U.S. is owned by just 6 large corporations.
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