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AP Suspends DoD Over Altered US Army Photo

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the one-big-no-no dept.

The Military 622

djupedal notes a story up at the BBC about the Associated Press's suspension of the use of Department of Defense photos after a photo of General Ann Dunwoody was found to have been altered (before and after comparison). "The Pentagon has become embroiled in a row after the US Army released a photo of a general to the media which was found to have been digitally altered. Ann Dunwoody was shown in front of the US flag but it later emerged that this background had been added. The Associated Press news agency subsequently suspended the use of US Department of Defense photos. 'For us, there's a zero-tolerance policy of adding or subtracting actual content from an image,' said Santiago Lyon, AP's director of photography."

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622 comments

So what was he *really* standing in front of? (0, Redundant)

Hasney (980180) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844315)

I don't know if the FA says what it is (restrictive webfilter here) but can we speculate? Russian flag? Area 51? His giant pet wooly mammoths?

It's a good thing that they're not using altered images anymore, but will this go for touched up photos of celebrities and the like? If not, that for me would be a double-standard.

Re:So what was he *really* standing in front of? (1)

turtledawn (149719) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844339)

I looks like she was sitting in her den, actually. A family photo, more of less. The flag was added, the colors of her digital camo fatigues were contrast enhanced, and the the name and rank on the fatigues were cleared up and smoothed out, presumably for better readability.

Re:So what was he *really* standing in front of? (5, Insightful)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844497)

funny, to me the biggest difference is her face, she's made to look about 20 years younger than she looks on the original.

Re:So what was he *really* standing in front of? (4, Funny)

Bandman (86149) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844643)

Looking at the edited photo, I have to wonder how they found out that it didn't come right out of the camera like that. I mean, I've seen quite a few 'shops in my time, and I got nothing. *cough*

Re:So what was he *really* standing in front of? (4, Insightful)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844713)

Actually, that looks like a standard issue high ranking military officer's office.

Basically, it is a crappy picture of her sitting in her office.

Re:So what was he *really* standing in front of? (5, Funny)

jandrese (485) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844341)

Certainly it would take all of the fun out of the thread to actually read the story and see the original photo.

Re:So what was he *really* standing in front of? (1)

deraj123 (1225722) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844583)

You don't even have to read the story. Just click on the "before and after comparison" link. Two photos, side by side, without having to read anything. (There is a caption at the bottom, but I'm fairly sure you can get by without reading it...)

Reading TFA we'd know HE is a SHE (3, Insightful)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844769)

It is a clear case of "for publicity use" photo cleared for use by someone who has no sense of the "documentary value and purpose" of photos.
I've personally done greater "truthcrimes" for various aging local singers and celebrities.
Not to mention all those thousands of yearbook photos that needed "touching up".

BTW... I'm a bit confused by the photos.
While the left one (supposedly original) is highly degraded - the right one (polished version) has the exact same uniform.
The UCP digital camouflage pattern is identical as well as all the creases.
Now... Maybe someone on CSI (Miami) could "enhance" the left image to look like the right one, but not in the real world.

Sooo.. keeping that in mind, shadows around the left photo's head also appear kinda fake.
As if they were cut/pasted from somewhere else, with some feathering used in the selection.

 
As if someone took photo A of a perfectly looking blank uniform, and photo B of the general's face, and merged them into photos C (sitting in the office, hard at work) and D (posing in front of a flag, being patriotic).

Huh, a woman as general? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25844321)

Didn't know that could happen.

And what clod made that montage anyway?

Unadultered Alterations (5, Funny)

hagardtroll (562208) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844323)

The alterations of of images transposed from within the confines of allocated semiconductor memory is a travesty of trustworthiness that makes on think of the simpler days of the chemical process for capturing images and storage on layered flexible devices. Those recollections also recoup melancholy days of sipping the Tranya amidst the family on late autumn holidays. One weeps for what this has become.

Re:Unadultered Alterations (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25844499)

Strange how they don't have any issues at all publishing altered photos from Hezbollah :

http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/2007/01/hezbollah-busted-re-faking-fake-photos.html [blogspot.com]

I guess for AFP you can fake pictures all you want, as long as it's politically correct. If you're a palestinian shooting on your fellow countrymen, then shooting at the ambulance with an AK-47, then claiming "Israel did it" and AFP will fake the pictures for you.

If you kill people, you can get away with anything. If the genocide in Sudan succeeds in killing all blacks there, the AFP will personally go down and congratulate the sudanese government on a jihad well done (after that some guy named Zawahiri wants to kill a certain "house nigger" that goes by the name of Obama, google it).

But the message of the press is clear : genocide is okay, it is even great (allahu akbar to be exact) ! If you actually do it. You'll only get accused of genocide if you're NOT actually comitting genocide.

BTW you can fake "chemical" pictures too (google "optical printer" for one of many devices used to do that).

Re:Unadultered Alterations (5, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844629)

Strange how they don't have any issues at all publishing altered photos from Hezbollah

Actually, they do have an issue with it, and they're very embarrassed about getting suckered by the perps. That's why they're so touchy about it now.

-jcr

Re:Unadultered Alterations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25844665)

The problem is that the DoD isn't clued-in to the standard kickback structure in the market.

Re:Unadultered Alterations (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844707)

If the genocide in Sudan succeeds in killing all blacks there, the AFP will personally go down and congratulate the sudanese government on a jihad well done

Just exactly what "color" do you think the Sudanese government are?

Re:Unadultered Alterations (2, Informative)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844741)

Damn, you're so dumb you don't know that AP is not the same as AFP and I'm so nice I didn't even notice.

Oh no, not a flag!!!! (-1, Flamebait)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844327)

I thought maybe they airbrushed her to look less like a lesbian... and did a very poor job at it.

Re:Oh no, not a flag!!!! (2, Insightful)

slmouradian (1276674) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844363)

but you need to draw the line somewhere. If adding 'just a flag' is allowed, then why not adding 'just a gun' or 'just a document'. You have to draw the line somewhere. Plus, once an image is edited, it is no longer a photograph as it does no longer simply capture a moment in time.

Re:Oh no, not a flag!!!! (1, Interesting)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844391)

Yes, but this sounds more like a 'portrait' shot than one intended to carry journalistic content.

Couldn't we focus more on some of the outright fraud shots of the last several years carried by media operators trying to make the soldiers in Iraq look bad?

No? Okay. I thought I would just ask.

Re:Oh no, not a flag!!!! (2, Informative)

Ardeaem (625311) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844437)

Couldn't we focus more on some of the outright fraud shots of the last several years carried by media operators trying to make the soldiers in Iraq look bad?

No? Okay. I thought I would just ask.

Their policy covers both. Or are you just trolling?

Re:Oh no, not a flag!!!! (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844565)

But is it reasonable to cover both?

Re:Oh no, not a flag!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25844575)

Actually the AFP has absolutely no problems publishing faked pictures. It just depends on who fakes them. If you're killing Jews, you can fake pictures all you want for the AFP. Feels like 1935 all over again :

http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2006/07/milking-it.html [blogspot.com]

Re:Oh no, not a flag!!!! (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844657)

...is no longer a photograph as it does no longer simply capture a moment in time.

you mean,it's no longer a snapshot.

I can tell from the pixels... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25844329)

... and from having seen a lot of 'shops in my time.

Seriously though, that's unacceptable and the AP responded appropriately.

My eyes, they burn! (5, Insightful)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844331)

That's not only altered, but altered badly. You'd think the US armed forces could afford to hire a decent graphic designer!

Re:My eyes, they burn! (1)

MaxwellEdison (1368785) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844371)

Agreed, I've seen better shopping in one of Fark's photoshop contests. And that ain't saying much. I wonder if this picture has the power to turn into a shop contest cliche now. Take THAT Mr. Bean!

Re:My eyes, they burn! (4, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844589)

In order to protect the public right to be informed, and in light of the Department of Defenses demonstration that they have no moral qualms about releasing doctored photos, we've decided that we're not going to show you anything they release whatsoever. In order to protect you, the citizen, and your right to be informed. Now, please pay attention as this airbrushed supermodel tells you how wonderful Coke is.

Re:My eyes, they burn! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25844483)

Even Iran did a better job when it came to touching up photos: http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/10/in-an-iranian-image-a-missile-too-many/index.html
And they are supposed to be the bad guys...

Re:My eyes, they burn! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25844651)

I wouldn't mid a picture of her in front of a flag, but a billowing flag? Geez, even the government's patriotism is cheesey. Oh well, continue with the torture...

Re:My eyes, they burn! (5, Interesting)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844663)

Actually, I was thinking exactly the opposite. If that original really was that blurry and grainy, and the Photoshop artist made it that sharp and natural looking, it was an incredible job. I'm staring at it, and I don't even know why you would think it was bad. The head is too sharp against the flag?

Re:My eyes, they burn! (0, Flamebait)

schon (31600) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844789)

the Photoshop artist made it that sharp and natural looking, it was an incredible job.

Don't tell me, let me guess:

You thought the CGI spaceships in Babylon5 were realistic and natural looking too, right? :)

Re:My eyes, they burn! (1)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844825)

I agree with him (reality master 101); the give aways for me were the words on the shirt, not the person. I mean, if you gave it more than just a parting glance, I think most people would pick up something wasn't quite right, and the artist was no expert, but it wasn't that bad, either.

Re:My eyes, they burn! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25844819)

I'm staring at it, and I don't even know why you would think it was bad.

That's automatic. Post any photo that's known to have been photoshopped and someone will always say how bad it is. It's guaranteed. The effect works even with pictures that have not been altered.

AP doesn't use altered images? Riiiight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25844349)

"'For us, there's a zero-tolerance policy of adding or subtracting actual content from an image,' said Santiago Lyon, AP's director of photography."

Methinks I remember some kind of scuffle in the news a while back over an AP photographer altering his photos of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.

Re:AP doesn't use altered images? Riiiight... (3, Insightful)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844625)

Do you have any link? I'm not questioning your memory of the story. But I would be interested to know if the AP retracted the photo and disciplined the photographer once his/her photos had been found to be doctored. Because that would then be consistent with their policy, a photographer can break their rules but their HQ should be able to re-enforce their policies after the event.
If anything it shows why they have to be so strict, as a news agency they are doing business on the accuracy of their information.

Re:AP doesn't use altered images? Riiiight... (1)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844755)

Here ya go. [nytimes.com] The actual news agency was Reuters, not the AP. I think this gaff was the one that broke the camel's back, so to speak, in news agencies using doctored photos.

The Thin Digital Line (1)

mini_razor (1306073) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844365)

This happened quite recently with Kim Jong Il as well http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article5101905.ece [timesonline.co.uk] although his was slightly more of a faked photo than just altering the background and touching up her skin. I personally dont have an objection to the photo of General Ann Dunwoody, It is a much better image to have in the press than the original one, but if we do allow it where do we draw the mark so as to have a completely faked photo like the one of Kim Jong Il. Perhaps we need Team America to sort out this issue!

For $DEITYs sake (4, Insightful)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844397)

It's a promo picture: it's practically a logo. Head and shoulders photo alphablended with a neat background. It's not like they were misleading anyone. Do you think the AP logo on their website is a photo? It's a graphical design rather than photo reportage we're talking about here.

Re:For $DEITYs sake (0)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844433)

Seriously, right? Everyone is talking about "where do we draw the line". I would say that if you want to put a picture of a General in the press the photo on the left is completely inappropriate. But perhaps that was the only recent photo? So they dressed it up. This isn't the moon landing.

Re:For $DEITYs sake (1, Insightful)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844597)

But this isn't about whether the image is an accurate image of the General.
It is about the integrity of the Associated Press, they have to be strict otherwise people would be calling their photos into question the whole time.

Re:For $DEITYs sake (0)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844807)

But this isn't an image that will change the course of human history. It really isn't that much different than flying the general to the fanciest New York salon, fixing her all up, taking her to the best photographer, and snapping a beautiful picture (other than cost). My immediate reaction is that this a weird place to "draw the line", especially after all the bs about Time (or was it People) and Sarah Palin's photo.

Re:For $DEITYs sake (4, Insightful)

dsoltesz (563978) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844749)

Yeah, I have to agree with this... I think AP is being pissy for pissy's sake. It's a simple portait (possibly because there's no professional portrait available?) intended to do nothing but show what she looks like. And frankly, a professional portrait done in a studio would have been touched up too. This photo is not trying to capture an event or otherwise document anything really at all. I can guess what happened because I've done it -- grab a person in the hall, take a photo of them, Photoshop into a pretty head shot for their web page or whatever.

Re:For $DEITYs sake (4, Insightful)

kremvax (307366) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844815)

But it's not being used as a logo. It's being used to identify a person.

"For us, there's a zero-tolerance policy of adding or subtracting actual content from an image," said Santiago Lyon, AP's director of photography.

You know, if the army is "promoting" her, in a literal and figurative sense, would it have been so hard to send someone around with a camera and take a decent picture of her in front of a flag?

Photoshoppery from my government, even if it's just to make our leadership appear more endearing to the masses, is a bad habit at the very least.

Obvioius (2, Insightful)

siuengr (625257) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844399)

It's quite obvious that it was altered, and it doesn't look like were trying to hide something. What's the big deal.

100% agree (4, Insightful)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844523)

If the photograph had been doctored to hide something or to give a wrong impression it would have been different. If I was going on a blind date with her, then yeah there might be a problem - but this is clearly just simple marketing.

The clearly rendered US flag and dodgy edging around her hair are just too obvious for this to reflect anything sinister. Maybe the photograph could have been rejected, and reminder of policy sent - but blocking them? that's just nuts.

This is someone trying to score political points and has nothing to do with integrity.

Re:100% agree (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844659)

This is someone trying to score political points and has nothing to do with integrity.

It's called zero-tolerance, that way they have an excuse for suspending someone or something rather then having the fortitude to make a stand.

Re:100% agree (3, Insightful)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844719)

It's probably a good idea to keep top officials incidental information from leaking (like from the background of a photograph).

Remember that famous picture of the couple on the couch and the not so well hidden bottle of "anal lube" on the table nearby? Imagine that, only with some sort of tip that gives someone the last bit they need to go and do X (kill troops, distract a general because they kidnap the dog, etc.).

It's quite obviously an inserted background. Not an attempt to fool.

AND the image on the left is a compressed jpg for the web (and whomever did it did a shitty job at it) so there are lots of spots that are not "clean up" but rather "idiot writing the story doesn't understand compression" artifacts.

Yea, doctoring photos that are supposed to convey an event is bad, but doctoring one that is just supposed to remind you who the heck we are talking about is irrelevant.

yeah... (5, Insightful)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844409)

Because if there's going to be any altering of photos for impact, it damn well is going to be done by the media themselves! Wouldn't want to subvert their authority to alter perception now would we?

Remember Zombietime? [zombietime.com]

Re:yeah... (1)

tchiseen (1315299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844747)

"We never alter images. And now a word from our sponsor, Cosmetic Company X who's never not photoshopped anything."

This isn't new (0)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844411)

I had a lecture once about altered photos and the media. They shop images
Original
http://www.historycommons.org/events-images/a999Kent_State_massacre_2050081722-20864.gif [historycommons.org]
Shopped, before there was shop
http://lh3.ggpht.com/_Z2Bo9vLfJV8/R29OCSaWpGI/AAAAAAAABOg/ocwVYjEXOvo/13+-+Kent+State+Massacre.JPG [ggpht.com]

I'm guessing people are only starting to care now because that one guy added smoke to some pictures, to make it look like a bombing.

Re:This isn't new (1)

viridari (1138635) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844477)

404. Not your lucky day.

Re:This isn't new (1)

iammani (1392285) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844557)

Not *your* lucky day, opens fine for us.

Re:This isn't new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25844673)

nope. 404.

Making an example (4, Interesting)

pzs (857406) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844417)

It's good that they're taking a firm stance and everything, but are they absolutely confident that none of their other pictures are photoshopped? Not everybody who doctors image is a clueless muppet [blogspot.com] .

I hate to say this (5, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844427)

But I think it's AP that are being rather pathetic on this one.

Such a mountain is being made out of a molehill with this story. Certainly if it was like the most recent Israel/Lebanon war where Reuters and co. had been daft enough to fall for doctored photos of Lebanon to make it look like the damage was worse than it was it'd be one thing but here we're talking about a picture of a member of the US military having her picture changed from standing in front of her office wall, to standing in front of a US flag. That really has absolutely no propaganda value whatsoever, I can't imagine even the most over the top patriotic American shouting "OMG SHES IN FRONT OF A US FLAG FUCK YEAH!" at the excitement of seeing the picture in question.

I'm not sure if it's AP's fault for it being blown out of proportion or whether they simply followed protocol on a hardline rule of no doctored photos no matter how harmless (although that has implications of it's own, hardly any photo is a raw image now without at least automatic alterations by cameras) or whether the fault lies at the feet of other media organisations.

When I saw this originally on the BBC the other day I have to admit it's arguably the most pointless slow-news day excuse for a story I'd seen in a while.

You hit the nail on the head (5, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844543)

The AP is making a mountain out of a molehill because they are trying to remove the stain on their industry that they are other so called leaders have put there. As such they need to exaggerate even the silliest of things and scream like a schoolyard brat "see see see"

I gave up long ago believing anything from Reuters when it came to stories involving Israel and for that matter the entire Middle East. They just lost their right to be trusted.

Re:I hate to say this (1)

NVP_Radical_Dreamer (925080) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844623)

The reason they do this is because it'd hard to say where you draw the line. Who says what does and does not change the real meaning of the photo? So in reality the only way to safely keep from altering peoples perception is to not allow changes at all, even cosmetic ones.

thank goodness for editing (-1, Troll)

nimbius (983462) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844429)

had it not been for the quick judgement of the DoD, we may have seen her dog-bone picture frame. Housed within is obviously key links to al-quaeda...

or bush administration DoD members are just so used to casually lying to everyone, it was simply second-nature to needlessly alter a photo before sending it to press

No the AP only care that the Army photshopped (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25844441)

I'm surprised the AP cares considering all of the photoshopped pics they have allowed in the past and this edit just cleans up the pic doesn't alter the content. So apparently the AP only cares when the Army alters pictures not journalists.

Bah (1)

u38cg (607297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844449)

Obvious shoop is obvious.

Picture manipulations (2, Insightful)

Monkey-some (1178115) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844459)

All considerations aside there always had been picture manipulations to stick to a specific trend - I do remember a picture of my mother during her twenties who had been mocked up to look like as a "Hollywood star" -that was the trend at that moment (around the 50's).

Anyhow apart the fact that the picture here had been doctored to look better the whole setup despicts a massive bad taste, yes she's a general, yes we suspect that she's patriotic but putting a huge american flag behind her...and this way.

It somehow reminds me the naive imagery used by -oh irony- by the islamists or those who make money using islamic images styles (you know those tshirts, posters and flags aren't freebies).

Moreover the perspective is very wrong, the whole image is very wrong looking.

Anti-Military (1, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844469)

This isn't news, but just points to another obvious fact about the anti-military bias in the press.

Re:Anti-Military (2, Interesting)

stygianguest (828258) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844631)

And rightfully so. Do not forget that the US military is the single most powerful organisation in the world. Thankfully it's full of our friends.

Re:Anti-Military (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25844691)

Militaries are a necessary evil. Not some magical honour brigade as they're characterised in the US.

Re:Anti-Military (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25844709)

Or it just as equality points to the anti-reality bias of the military.

The US and US flags (3, Insightful)

Zedrick (764028) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844485)

Could someone please explain this to me, why does Americans see the need to constantly surround themselves with US flags?

To most (non-american) people that's just plain bizarre. Outside the USA, you'll only see it in dictatorships that tries to whip up unity/loyalty for to state, but obvously it's not quite the same thing here (since americans spam their surroundings with US flags by their own free will, not by a state decree). Are the majority of the population so bad at geography that they have to see a flag to know what country they're in? Or would people assume that General Ann Dunwoody is Canadian or (gasp!) French if it wasn't for the flag in the background?

Re:The US and US flags (3, Interesting)

Ritchie70 (860516) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844569)

I'm an American and don't understand it myself; it seems like it's gotten more pronounced over the last decade or so.

All I can offer as an explanation is that, as school children, many of us began each day saying the pledge of allegiance, which really seems quite flag-centric.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands...."

Re:The US and US flags (4, Insightful)

caluml (551744) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844677)

many of us began each day saying the pledge of allegiance

Which also I find quite bizarre. Talk about indoctrination from an early age. But I also find the obsession in the US with flags a little disturbing. In the UK, you won't see hardly any flags. Maybe on a few government buildings etc. It's seen as rather tasteless, rather low-brow. Duh, me Tarzan, me light fire, me wave flag.

Re:The US and US flags (1, Troll)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844607)

"""
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation under God, indivisible, With Liberty and Justice for all.
"""

Note what they pledge allegiance to every day in school. First is not the republic, or the nation, or the liberty, or the justice, but the flag.

Makes no sense to me either - pledges like that I also haven't seen outside of dictatorships...

It should be noted that this photo indicates at least one American doesn't surround themselves with flags, since they had to add photoshop one in.

Re:The US and US flags (-1, Flamebait)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844615)

First off, not every American constantly surrounds himself with U.S. flags. Only you American hating individuals believe that. And, it is not surprising you do not understand one wanting to be associated with one's country, because, as you have proven by your post, most people in other countries can't tell the difference nationalism and patriotism.

What is it like to be indifferent your own country? It must be kind of sad and hollow not really caring if your country is turned into is vicious, oppressive theocracy. Or, is it that it is just uncool to actual show you care?

Re:The US and US flags (1)

Zarim (1167823) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844637)

It's pretty common for members of the US military to have the American flag and/or their service's branch displayed behind them in portrait photos like that. As for Americans surrounding themselves with flags, that's not really true. You only really see them every once in a while.

This is a military person (4, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844679)

Actually its common for business execs to have their logo in their picture so why wouldn't a General or even regular soldier have a flag in theirs? Sorry if it offends but many of us are actually very proud of our country, its heritage, and as such don't see reason to not celebrate it which can mean having the flag visible.

I guess its different elsewhere but we surrounded ourselves with the symbols of our freedom when we split from England, notice all the flags pictured then and the importance of some in song?

You did highlight the major difference though, we don't have to do it but we do so out of our own free will. Because of that we may seem excessive but there should never be anything wrong with such pride in one's country.

It would be more embarrassing to me to live somewhere where I would not feel comfortable showing it

I'm an American and a vet (1)

wernox1987 (1362105) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844683)

I think it's sort of silly too, however I see more Mexican flags each day that I do American flags. The immigrant community around here is very, very proud of their Mexican flag I guess....They are nearly every bumper, on huge display in many a pick up truck window and I've even seen them flying over the local park for the Sunday soccer/futbol leagues.

Re:The US and US flags (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25844717)

For those of us in the military and/or defense industry, we're simply proud to be serving our country. Nothing more.

Re:The US and US flags (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25844721)

It's because our flag doesn't suck. If we had the standard 3 colored bars, or the more advanced, logo on three bars, it probably wouldn't happen.

Re:The US and US flags (2, Funny)

thegnu (557446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844763)

Outside the USA, you'll only see it in dictatorships that tries to whip up unity/loyalty for to state, but obvously it's not quite the same thing here (since americans spam their surroundings with US flags by their own free will, not by a state decree).

Oh yes it is the same thing. They've equated patriotism with flag-bearing and equated being upatriotic with terrorism. So stupid people smother themselves in flags.

A quote:
"I'm the only person in my neighborhood with a McCain sign and an American flag"

by which this guy meant that Obama supporters are terrorists. See?

Re:The US and US flags (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844765)

Constantly? I have no idea what you're talking about. I don't know if I've ever been in a photo with an American flag. I doubt most people that I know have been.

In this case, it's a photo of a person in the military, serving the country directly. I think a flag is pretty appropriate in that case.

You're taking a few photos here and there and claiming that everyone does it constantly, when in reality, people only do it when they are fanatical or they have something to say by using it. (In this case, loyalty and pride are being expressed.)

Re:The US and US flags (1, Insightful)

slashkitty (21637) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844787)

Oh please, there is plenty of flag waving in other countries. How many people paint their faces or show their colors at sporting events? http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/44955000/jpg/_44955514_face_getty_220_300.jpg [bbc.co.uk] http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/41791000/jpg/_41791514_swedefan_getty.jpg [bbc.co.uk] http://xahlee.org/Periodic_dosage_dir/lanci/wc2006/wc2006_it_face-s.jpg [xahlee.org]

I don't get it. (1)

Planar (126167) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844501)

Are they really calling a US flag "actual content"?

talk about chicken salad... (1)

gmac63 (12603) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844503)

Talk about chicken salad from chicken shit. That is one hellova good retouch job to get that level of detail from such a poor picture. Must be some secret CIA imaging system...

holy Crazy Eddie! (2, Insightful)

viridari (1138635) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844507)

That photograph is horrible, both the original and the CGI monstrosity that it spawned. It looks like something you'd see on a Realtor's business card or a Brooklyn electronics shop ad.

Not Surprised (5, Informative)

doomicon (5310) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844509)

I served in the Army for 7+ years. Three years of which in a PAO (Public Affairs Office), that handles press releases, photo's, etc. Most people have this idea that there is this all encompassing control in the Army, as well as a focused strategy of deception. Believe me.. there isn't, they aren't that smart (like most companies we all work for).

This picture is photoshopped badly because just like any small shop in the civilian world, some SPC or PFC got a request for a photo of Gen Whats Herface, thought it would be "cool" to use this new app on my computer. He then shows the photo to the Captain(or Major) who is the "Manager" of the office... He's technically a dud (like most Managers) and thinks it's awesome. So they hand it over.

Point is, don't forgot the U.S. Army isn't unlike most Corporations when it comes to things other than "War (Training, etc."), they have bad manager's, are poorly run, make mistakes... I've personally NEVER seen a case where they were trying to cover something up, or lie, and I was working during the Cuban Camp setups in Central America (sh!t hit the fan with that one). Nobody even thought about lying or being deceptive, there was just this idea that you just don't do it, because we're soldiers, it's a black eye when the truth does come out, and it always does. (Now, when it comes to Operational Information, ie War. that is different. You don't have press releases that will tell the enemy 'Hey we'll be there next Friday, act surprised')

On the flipside, when deceptive things happen or poor photoshop jobs are released, it's usually poor decisions by LOCAL offices or commands. It's not an all encompassing strategy.

Just my personal experience :-)

Re:Not Surprised (1)

acedotcom (998378) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844641)

I didn't realize the Pentagon was a LOCAL office...thanks Army guy!

Re:Not Surprised (4, Insightful)

db32 (862117) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844735)

I can't for the life of me figure that anti-military nonsense out. How the hell can people maintain 1. The military is a huge evil system hell bent on massive deception and evil lies while also maintaining 2. The military is a bunch of clueless incompetents that don't know their ass from a hole in the ground. The only thing I can get out of this is the people trying to maintian this kind of nonsense are actually saying "We are the biggest bunch of braindead morons for being so easily decieved by a bunch of incompentent fools".

Honestly, from my experience I would almost expect things to have gone the other direction from what you lay out. The Captain/Major says "We need a photo of Gen Whosits, but she is too busy for us. Go dig up a picture of her and make it look like a nice handout picture". Given that you can walk into almost any government building and see pictures of the entire chain of command for that organization all the way up to the President, and almost every one of those photos are identical with the person sitting in front of a flag with perfect lighting etc... My guess it was downward directed because the Gen was too busy to actually stop to have one of these pictures done so they found an existing picture and turned it into one of these.

For all their college education so many of the stupid ideas come from the officers...poor enlisted folk just get blamed for the execution of such goofball ideas.

you've got to be kidding. (1)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844517)

It actually took more than 2 seconds for them to notice that the picture was edited? i've seen better photoshops that where with one eye closed, using the trackpad on a laptop.

Re:you've got to be kidding. (2, Insightful)

halivar (535827) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844555)

Especially considering all the fake photos AP has accepted from its Palestinian office (cloned smoke clouds, same dead kid used in several photographs, etc.). Honestly, AP has no credibility on the issue of altered photos.

Re:you've got to be kidding. (1)

iammani (1392285) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844617)

The accepted photos did not have the US flag, did they?

Then let me take the privilege to start the conspiracy: May be, AP does not like the US flag and is controlled by, er, Al Qaeda.

Sharpening (3, Insightful)

Fanro (130986) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844537)

Forget the background, how did they add so much sharpness to the blurry original?

Is it actually possible to get such a big improvement, or is the left picture just a blurry reproduction of a sharper original?

If there is a tool that can do that, I'd have some pics myself I would want to touch up.

Re:Sharpening (4, Informative)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844697)

I'm guessing the left picture is not the original, there's severe compression artefacting for one. But the flag is not the only alteration, you'll notice heavy airbrushing over the face as well as general tonal alterations - although done considerably better than the background switch. The shiny highlights from the flash used have been toned down and they've removed a number of lines on her face, especially around the eyes.

Happens Every Day on TV (1)

DieByWire (744043) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844567)

The networks 'alter reality' every day during sports broadcasts - the ads you see on stadium walls on TV are often superimposed over the real wall. What you see is not what the guy in the stadium sees.

I don't have any problem with superimposed first down lines, etc, that help you understand the play - I doubt many people mistake those lines for ones that are actually there. But changing the image of something that's happening live and and not being up front about it seems dishonest to me. Without disclosure, it makes me wonder, "What else have they changed?"

Altered or just enhanced??? (1)

rwrife (712064) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844577)

I think there is a difference between altering something in order to change the context of the photo and enhancing the photograph. This is clearly a case of enhancing the photograph to correct the poor lighting and to remove the junk in the background. I think the AP has gone overboard by calling this "altered". If the original photo had her standing in front of a Nazi flag and they changed it to be a US flag, then that would be a different story.

pixelated camo gear (1)

Langfat (953252) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844587)

Where can I get me some of that pixelated camo gear?! that shit is awesome!

Hello?!? (1)

Zuke8675309 (470025) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844591)

Hello Pot! This is Mr. Kettle calling!

Where is the line to draw? (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844593)

I have seen photographers alter photo's by adding different lenses to their apparatus. Before digital camera's, they did things during the development. In some digital camera's I can select a frame to go around the person while I take the picture.

So what is alteration and what is not? Taking a picture is already an alteration in my eyes.

I doubt they will stick with that... (1)

physicsphairy (720718) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844605)

Considering how often the AP hilariously augments their stories with badly 'shopped images, it's obvious at least some of them just do a google image search for something that looks like a related press photograph.

Do you think Reuters [zombietime.com] ever got blacklisted?

This just in! (1)

Jazon Bladen (938809) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844633)

The US Department of Defense suspends the AP for digitally manipulating news! More at eleven.

pot... kettle... black... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25844639)

I imagine this means the AP will no longer ever show pictures of celebrities...

Overblown and then some (5, Interesting)

Ritchie70 (860516) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844655)

If the AP really has a policy regarding altered images then they did the right thing.

But the reality of this situation is probably that someone needed a press-suitable head shot of the General, snapped a quick pic in her office and edited in a background. They also appear to have smoothed out her face, but that is part of a professional portrait photo these days.

The exact same image would likely have been fine if it had been done at the local Wal*mart portrait place in front of a flag backdrop and the guy there had blurred the focus a little to have a similar effect on her face.

There are photos that are fact reporting, and there are photos that are PR head shots. This is a PR head shot, and nobody should think that it in any way reflects reality.

My boss, a low-level director at my company, had a head shot done recently for PR reasons. I barely recognize him in it.

I feel sorry for General Dunwoody in this; she was just made the first US female 4-star general three days ago, and now she has to put up with this stupidity.

They don't have stock publicity photos? (2, Insightful)

Ixitar (153040) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844681)

I cannot believe that the US Army does not have stock publicity photos of their generals with the US flag in the background. One would hope that people would be smart enough to use one of them instead of doctoring a photo.

That's OK.... (1)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844793)

Reuters will take it.

Thou shalt not get caught. . . (1)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844799)

AP and most news agencies are worse than worthless. I think the only thing going on here is that somebody tried to pass off such an incredibly LAME Photoshop job that even the AP people couldn't swallow it. (Hair lines are hard to cut & paste convincingly, as this picture shows). There are standards to be kept up when lying to people. If terrible jobs like this are allowed to make it through, then the whole thing falls apart. --I mean, heck, even the people at the AP caught this one, and the LAST place you want people suspecting a lie are those actually working within the news agencies. They have to be the most effectively programmed drones in the fleet, because if too many of them can't be sold and if any of them happens to have a conscience, then you'll start having big problems.

On the benefit side, by running a story on the condemnation of false pictures, the public will nod with approval and feel secure in the *cough* impeccability of the press.

That's my take, anyway. I can't place much fault with the military on this one. It looks like a thoughtless bit of half-baked PR to me.

-FL

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