If you were wondering whether the reluctance of major news outlets to echo tabloid claims about John Edwards was a demonstration, or a failure, of professional ethics, you’re not alone. Fortunately, Byron York (last seen tracking down rumors of a Letterman Top Ten List about Edwards with the grim relentlessness of a senile Ahab hunting the white whale in the fishstick section of his grocer’s freezer) has volunteered a few guidelines to help us navigate the terra incognita of internet-era journalism. In what we might call The York Doctrine, Byron proposes that using tools such as Photoshop to digitally alter an image (say, by adding smoke to a photograph of the Baghdad skyline) is corrupt, and should be considered a firing offense unless it supports a story that might be scandalous enough to bring down the one man in America with a better head of hair than Byron! In that case, it’s evidence.
By now, it’s well known that the big news outlets — the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, as well as the broadcast and cable networks — have largely ignored the story. Some observers have speculated that those outlets would report the news if theEnquirer published the pictures. And now, sure enough, Perel has published a picture — just one, a fuzzy image the Enquirer calls a “spy photo,” of a man who appears to be Edwards holding a baby.
…We’ll see if the new photo changes any minds at the big media institutions. It’s more likely that editors and reporters who don’t want to report the story will continue to not report the story, perhaps saying the picture is not clear enough.
Although, to be fair, our go-to expert on all matters Photoshop, Gavin at Sadly, No! didn’t appear impressed by the quality of the workmanship:
For starters, we see clear use of the Reduce Noise filter, apparently with the Remove JPEG Artifact box checked. Woo!
Still, Byron’s not the kind of guy to take Fake for an answer.
But is there anything else? Maybe the Democratic National Convention, coming up in a little more than two weeks?
Or my birthday, coming up next month? Maybe you could fake a little something for that? Huh?
So the Enquirer continues to hold off on publication of the Beverly Hilton photos. And the big press outlets continue to stay away from the story, although the local Edwards press, like the Charlotte Observer, are moving closer to the story.
In fact, they sat right down next to it and did that whole “pretend to yawn and stretch and slip your arm around the story’s shoulder” thing.
In any event, more and more people know about it through the Internet — and now, late-night comics have been making their share of jokes about it.
So the Newspaper of Record has no choice now but to devote its front page to the issue; Leno made a quip.Posted by scott on August 8th, 2008