Lashawn Barber links to Bucktowndusty who exposed USA Today for doctoring a photo of Condaleeza Rice by making her look more menacing. Bucktowndusty even goes further using two images of O.J. Simpson, a before and after shot where in the after shot he looks far more menacing and sedicious. As a Graphic Artist I can attest to the fact that this is a common practice among politicos. I've personally witnessed such practices by local candidates out here in sunny Southern Cal. They purposely find the worst photo of their opponents, then, usually in a subtle manner after the first draft of the proof will continue to make suggestions throughout the revision process focused around the photo to make it darker, "grainier" or to fade it more, etc. Some though arent as round about or subtle and right off the bat request that their opponents photo be darker and sometimes smaller than his/her own within the campaign literature being designed. Amazing!
I did one once for a local candidate for the Los Angeles city council, who was a friend of the owner (my boss) of the print shop I worked in. He (the candidate) gave me a picture of himself and his opponent. Of course his picture was a nice 8x10 glossy 4 color headshot, but seeing how crappy the photo was of his opponent (a small almost wallet sized b/w image) I naively asked his staff for a better photo, adding that it will not reproduce properly during the press run. To my surprise I was pulled aside and clued in to what was happening by my boss. So I went ahead and finished the layout for the mailer and called it a day. Oh, in case you were wondering, this candidate was a Democrat to boot.
That was my first and last venture into political advertising. The entire process was utterly rediculous, I mean misleading and sometimes down right false information being printed in some of these flyers and mailers. I couldn't stand it. So hearing about USA Today pulling such tactics doesn't surprise me at all. Believe it or not it happens far more often then many realize. Just take a look through some political oriented mags or mailers that you receive sometime and you will begin to notice it more and more. Sort of the darkside of technology I guess.
More in-depth info on the manipulation of the Condi photo:
Michelle Malkin: USA TODAY REMOVES DOCTORED PHOTO