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Where are the Pajama Bloggers, Now?

What's wrong with the picture on the right, below? For starters, it's been faked. The picture is linked directly from a Fox News "Photo Essay" montage of stills from Thursday's debate. Check the URL. Follow the link, as long as it stays live. I've mirrored it locally here. The picture on the left is a similar picture, from AFP, probably taken just a moment earlier or later. Notice anything unusual about the difference in height that shows in the two pictures?

Un-doctored photo from AFP wire
The AFP version of the pose.
Faked photo from Fox News Photo Essay []
The Fox News version of the pose (mirrored here).

I first saw someone pointing to this picture on MeFi. It took me a minute to get it; then I did. I've taken the original illustration and added some visual aids to help make the issue clear. The brazenness of it astonishes me, and I'm wondering why only a few folks have cottoned to this. Hopefully, not only will that number grow, but other organizations will take some time to comb through their archives and compare to other Fox photos. (Of course, if they've been doing it themselves...) So far, this has been linked from KOS (albeit by a MeFi-ite), and just a few other blogs. I think that it's so far out there that most people don't believe they'd actually do it. Why we still fail to believe something like this, I don't know.

Comparison of AFP image and AP image doctored by Fox News
Comparison shot from, with visual aids added; original at

After looking more closely at the pictures, I can see both (roughly) how they did it and what they used as their alignment point. Note the placement of George Bush's right elbow in the two pictures. Note also that the lapel pins align quite nicely. After carefully selecting an image that allows the President's body to be moved upward without affecting the Senator's, they nudged him up until the lapel pins aligned.

This would be a trivial piece of work for your run of the mill Fark photoshopper.

So, here's the question (and yes, this might be a silly question): If the election is supposed to be about issues, why did Fox News bother to alter a photograph to make the president seem taller than he really is?

Another question: Where are those noble pajama bloggers, now?

ADDENDUM: Some wannabe pajama bloggers seem to think this indicates a "Typical libdem perspective on the importance of crime"; and yes, I guess I'd have to agree. The fact that most "libdems" don't take the systematic, relentless attempts by Fox News to abet a consipracy of oligarchs in hijacking the American government more seriously than one admitted mistake by a beleaguered news magazine does represent a major problem of perspective.

ADDENDUM 2004-10-04: I couldn't find it, but someone else did. Here's the original AP photo, and yes, it does appear to have the same characteristics as the Fox photo. But given their history of frat-boy partisanship, I still find the idea that they would systematically warp the presentation of reality to be eminently plausible.


Debates often â??reward form over substance,â? especially considering that effective communication skills are a very important part of the presidency. But exaggerated emphasis on form to the detriment of substance, producing desperate deceptions such as this one by Fox, should be a wakeup call to the moral vagrancy of some associated with an otherwise touted â??moralâ? campaign, and the need to investigate issues more critically.

According to them, Bush is now the same height as Kerry.

In Gore Vidal's 1954 novel Messiah, the narrator, a disciple of the now-dead John Cave is dismayed to see that any possibility of the truth surviving has disappeared when the institution created by his followers had revised his vital statistics to make him taller than he had been.

Kerry's line-of-sight doesn't change between the two pictures: His head is in the same attitude, his gaze declined.

If you compare the effects of this in the two shots, it's revealing in two ways:

  1. It confirms that the differences can't be an artifact of changed angles, as some have apparently insisted.
  2. It has the unexpected benefit (to the Bushites) of making Kerry look deferential to the President by averting his gaze. Because while in the AFP shot (and presumably the original AP shot), the attitude of his head and the angle of his gaze would have him looking Bush more or less in the eyes (if Bush had been willing to look back, that is), in the doctored picture, he's looking at Bush's collar.

And I haven't even gone into the aggression evident in Bush's body language in these shots...

And I haven't even gone into the aggression evident in Bush's body language in these shots...

We're waiting with bated breath....

Ah, forget it, escoles. You're busy and I get the picture. Body language or not, Bush doesn't like Kerry.

I know that neither Bush nor Kerry are standing perfectly straight, but allegedly Kerry at 6' 4" stands four inches taller than Bush (6' even). So if the Fox photo were not retouched, Bush would seem to be elevated somewhat (on toes perhaps?) or else Kerry would be slouching quite a bit. Rather a stretch,... but then we're not getting a full body shot. And, gee, celebrity photos are touched up all the time. I wouldn't put it past them.

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