BP Caught Altering Images

This is why journalists need unfettered access. America Blog caught them red handed: http://www.americablog.com/2010/07/bp-photoshops-fake-photo-of-command.html

Picture 6

There Are 16 Comments On This Article.

  1. Unfortunately, the media has no qualms about faking photos either. To believe that media access will reveal the truth only reveals naiveté. Perhaps between the lies of deception and the lies of revelation we can divine the truth?

    • @Rikk Flohr, “The media has no qualms about faking photos either”? WTF are you talking about?

      What evidence do you have that news media fake photographs? Of course, there’s the occasional overzealous photographer who isn’t good enough to get that great image so he/she fakes it, but when they’re caught, responsible editors always take disciplinary action.

      Most of us photojournalists continue to meet our standards of ethics and integrity in capturing the truth about the stories we cover. Otherwise, we may as well be art photographers.

      • @Tim, Photojournlists-with few exceptions- are not the media. Media has an agenda-sensationalization-selling ad space-profit.

        As for evidence: from the Mary Decker Slaney race forward there has been a tradition of media-enhancement of image for aesthetics, bias, and political slant. Cloned-smoke clouds over Lebanon comes to mind recently. Or perhaps state-run media like Iran’s missile test photos.

        Regardless of the actions editors take after-the-fact, the photos ran-and lied.

        I am relieved to hear (and take you at your word) that most photojournalists adhere to a higher standard.

        None of this excuses BP and their alleged actions (note the use of the word alleged).

        I, for one, do not trust media, in general, to present the facts any more than the oil company. Both have something to sell.

      • @Tim, my previous reply cut off my last sentence:
        I am relieved to hear (and take you at your word) that most photojournalists adhere to a higher standard of accurate portrayal of the facts.

  2. I would have posted a comment earlier, but I had to clean up coffee that I blew out my nose as I was reading the post at american blogger.

    It is appaling that there are so many people associated with the oil spill that have such low ethical standards that they have to lie, and try to decieve people to save face in the midst of an event that was so poorly handled. They should be sued for every associated cost as a result of the spill.

    I guess before they are sued at least they should be given the opportunity to step up to the plate and make good.

    • scott Rex Ely

      @Ed,Here is a paragraph to consider from Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking “in fact, there is one emotion that he considers the most important of all: contempt. If Gottman observes one or both partners in a marriage showing contempt toward the other, he considers it the single most important sign that the marriage is in trouble.
      “You would think that criticism would be the worst,” Gottman says, “because criticism is a global condemnation of a person’s character. Yet contempt is qualitatively different from criticism. With criticism I might say to my wife, ‘You never listen, you are really selfish and insensitive.’ Well, she’s going to respond defensively to that. That’s not very good for our problem solving and interaction. But if I speak from a superior plane, that’s far more damaging, and contempt is any statement made from a higher level.”

      I can think of very few exceptions that this consideration of contempt doesn’t apply to most relationships. I would include governments and corporations and their relationships, marriages if you will, with their constiuencies, commercial or civic participants. The contempt that BP has spewed on the public with this fraudulent representation of facts using altered images is unfortunately just another example of contempt. According to Gottman our relationship is doomed. Not pretty.

      http://www.enotalone.com/authors.php?aid=570

      • @scott Rex Ely, Great points and very true about the contempt they have displayed. I think we have to allow reasonable thought to control our actions and not allow the contempt by BP to continue unchecked.

  3. All this to avoid re-shooting the command center with the monitors turned on? Given the enormity of this disaster, and the financial/image impact it’s having on BP; spending time faking these images is almost comical in it’s stupidity. You need to have worked for a big company to understand how absurdities like this come about.

    The really sad part of this (aside from the oil spill, the environmental impact and the devastation to the economy) is the number of times corporations do things like this and get away with it. This isn’t just an issue of unfettered access (although that would be nice). This speaks to the overall decline of quality investigative reporting. Companies get away with tactics like this because the major news outlets rely on press releases, controlled interviews and spoon-fed information as their primary news source. It’s the whole “don’t rock the boat, it might upset the advertisers” mentality that has gotten us to this point.

    I can’t help but think back to Steve Jobs’ comment that he didn’t want to see the Internet taken over by bloggers. In a lot of ways, bloggers might be our last hope.

    • @Tom, I posted an extended version of this elsewhere but your comment also resonates with my own feelings so…

      Yes another public relations disaster for BP, one that could have been avoided by hiring a photographer to shoot images of the real command centre in action as the response was being coordinated.

      Unfortunately clients look at Photoshop as a way to save money and cut back on shooting real events. I think as photographers we should be reminding our corporate and PR clients that it is their best interest to produce real (legitimate) imagery and to stay away from the “fix it in post” attitude.

      Good PR is honest PR, the kind that used to be written by journalists that could pass sqruitiny as fact checked news; When PR was taken over by marketing people it all started going down hill, the reality is gone, pushed aside to protect brand image and public. This worked for a while when we all thought of PR as news like content but like anything, push your luck too far, too often and you will loose the good graces of your audience. These days with the blurring of lines between news and PR & news and marketing the natural inclination is to develop distrust for all PR and most news.

      Journalists have (had) a tendency to asume that the audience is intelligent. Marketing people think we are all couch potatoes.

    • @Tom, News is advertising driven, and hurting. One of the first problems was cost cutting, followed by rights grabs. After that there were few good writers and photojournalists left at many news organizations. Considering the current poor pay levels and lack of any future rights, why would any good photojournalists want to stay in the industry, and why would anyone new want to get into the industry? The damage is done, and it is simply left for time to sort out a handful of winners and watch the losers fall by the wayside.

      Corporations are doing to news what governments have been doing for a while. Press releases avoid objective reporting, whether it is the White House, Davos, G8 meetings, or large events involving corporations. Access is restricted, and even then there are fewer news organizations to commit resources to coverage. A pillar of democracy falls to complacency and cost cutting.