Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Digital manipulation in politics and culture

The Internet demands skepticism. Anyone can publish any "fact," and sites like these:

help us separate fact from fiction.

Media can also be manipulated. For example, Fox News broadcast excerpts from President Obama's recent West Point speech, then accidentally posted a version with the applause removed on their Web site. (Some claim it was not an accident, but the poor quality of the editing supports Fox' assertion -- they would have done a better job if it were intentional).

Images are easily modified. These photos of President Bush reading a book upside down on 9-11 and John Kerry at an anti-war rally with Jane Fonda are Photoshop fakes:


Or, Consider these before and after shots taken from an eye opening Dove soap commercial:


As the commercial shows, makeup plus Photoshop can drastically alter an image. (Stretching her neck is the coolest step).

One might argue that the first examples are the most important -- in a democracy we should be able to trust our news media. But the second has social implications as well -- it sets unrealistic goals for appearance.

Can you find other examples of deception on the Internet?