Over the last few hours a photo has begun to circulate on the blogs showing Obama supposedly at the “Open Government Partnership” conference today committing an egregious gaffe by raising his hand to block the face of another world leader.
Here’s a link to the MSNBC photoblog where most bloggers first noticed the image; and here’s the image itself:
Now, many veterans of the Great Photoshop Wars of 2003-2010 will take one look at this photo and see about a hundred things “wrong” with it. Not only does Obama’s hand seem Photoshopped into the image, but Obama himself seems to have been awkwardly pasted in. In fact, under closer inspection, about half the people in the image appear to have been inserted artificially; in other words, the whole scene looks to be constructed almost from scratch.
But I wondered: Since this photo can be found on an MSNBC site, are they punking the blogs — or did somebody manage to punk MSNBC and pass off a hoax photo as the real thing?
So, following the lead in the image’s credit line — “Allan Tannenbaum-Pool / Getty Images” — I went straight to the supposed source…and to my utter astonishment, I discovered that the image is indeed from Getty Images and can be found on their site:
Here’s how it appears on the Getty Images page, with their watermark over the picture:
And here’s the official Getty caption:
Caption: NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 20: U.S. President Barack Obama waves while standing with aother leaders during the Open Government Partnership event at the United Nations September 20, 2011 in New York City.
It still looks fake to me, but that would mean that Getty itself is now putting out faked photos — which is extremely unlikely, especially after the number of times other news wire services were burned by untrustworthy stringers.
The image’s authenticity is further confirmed by the existence on the Getty site — which serves as sort of a “raw feed” of news photos which subscribing editors can browse through — of an “alternate take” photo showing a slight close-up of Obama in the group shot, this time with his hand not blocking his neighbor’s face:
And then there’s this shot, another out-take without the offending hand:
So, what this all means is:
Unless this is some kind of hoax of unparalleled proportions, the gaffe-tastic photo of Obama idiotically waving his hand in a group shot of world leaders, blocking the face of one of them (Tsakhia Elbegdorj, the president of Mongolia, as far as I can tell), really is an authentic photo, and is worthy of Internet infamy.
Have at it!
(And if you have any evidence to the contrary, that it really is Photoshopped somehow, and that the hoax fooled Getty Images, MSNBC, and several other news outlets, please present your evidence in the comments section; in a sense, that’d be even more newsworthy than the already-known fact that our President is a clueless narcissist.)