March 20, 2006

Mark Warner Sartorial Scandal - New Evidence

Hatched by Dafydd

Over on That Other Blog, Scott Johnson has posted on the New York Times Magazine's possible digital manipulation of former Virginia Governor Mark Warner. The charge -- and it appears well substantiated by circumstantial evidence -- is that the Times used PhotoShop to alter Warner's appearance when they put his mug on the cover of the magazine; his charcoal-grey jacket appears to have become deep maroon, while his white shirt transubstantiated into pink, making him appear rather less a serious candidate for president than he would prefer.

Why would they do this? Perhaps because the House of Pinch is worried that Warner could outflank Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) on the sane side, just as Sen. Russell Feingold (D-WI) has already outflanked her on the lunatic fringe. It's not particularly surprising that the New York Times might support the senator from New York over the governor from Down There.

Here is the infamous photo:

Mark Warner On NYT Magazine Cover

Gov. Mark Warner as he appears on the cover of the New York Times Magazine

You can see how subtle the changes are. If you didn't know that the coat and shirt were a different hue in reality, you wouldn't be able to guess just from the picture. Although the consensus of Power Line readers who have experience in printing covers for nationally syndicated news magazines was that there probably was some manipulation of the colors, there was some skepticism by a few commenters.

But recent new evidence from the edit-bay floor of the New York Times printing facility casts a new light on the controversy. Big Lizards believes that a newly recovered photo -- evidently an earlier version -- makes it somewhat clearer that the Times deliberately manipulated the Warner photo, and likely to make him look bad.

We've run the two versions atop one another for easy comparison; the differences are subtle but we think unmistakable.

There is a slight effeminacy in the photo they actually ran (caused by the color choices -- maroon and pink); this is a bit over-emphasized in the earlier version. The Times wisely chose to tone it down for the actual cover.

To continue, read on....



The version of the Warner picture actually used
on cover (top) and earlier version (bottom)

As you can see, the earlier picture (bottom) lacked some of the subtlety that made the manipulation so effective. The first version was a little more raw, and you can clearly see how it was toned down marginally for the version that actually ran (top).

The colors of the first version are too stark; they grab the eyes more than they ought (particularly around the shirt collar), and they don't blend quite as well. In spots, the colors are almost vivid. On the later version, this has been largely muted, and it's at least a little more believable.

But viewing the two side by side, it's clear that the Times was indeed playing with our perceptions of Gov. Warner... and it really appears that they were not trying to enhance his appearance so much as make him look just slightly off, as if there were something wrong about him -- though you can't quite put your finger on it.

Likewise, we do see something a little more Harvey Fierstein about the earlier picture... though again, there doesn't seem to be any one thing we can point to that conveys the impression. It's more the overall gestalt.

As propaganda, this was very well done indeed. I doubt if it could ever have been so thoroughly proven without the blogosphere -- led by Power Line, as usual. Well done, chaps! A tip of the hat, and I really mean it.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, March 20, 2006, at the time of 5:13 AM

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The following hissed in response by: RBMN

I'm still watching a color TV that was made in 1978, so I thought everyone looked like that. No?

The above hissed in response by: RBMN [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 20, 2006 8:26 AM

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