April 23rd, 2009
05:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Magazine takes heat for doctoring Obama pic

(CNN) - A magazine is taking heat for making undisclosed alterations of a photograph of President Obama in a bathing suit.

Washingtonian Magazine changed the color of the president's shorts and made a few other touch-ups, but media critic Howard Kurtz calls the small adjustments "unethical."

"While the alternations of this picture might seem to some people to be kind of minor, it is absolutely unethical," he said. "It is dishonest. It is not journalism. You cannot present a news photo, particularly of a president, but of anybody, and alter it through digital technology without being honest about it with readers."

Cathy Merrill Williams, the publisher of Washingtonian, disagreed, saying the publication was merely trying to convey a concept.

"When you're in the magazine business you're trying to get across a concept or an idea," she said. "Changing…the color of his shorts didn't change the overall image portrayed. It was President Obama in a bathing suit walking."

The White House is officially not commenting on the altered photo.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (284 Responses)
  1. djdjdjs

    Wow ! This President does not look weak. Wow !

    April 23, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  2. penelope

    It's wrong, and they should be held accountable. When I look at a picture I don't want to have to question what have they changed, what isn't real. First I don't think they should change pictures, colors or anything under any circumstances, second if they do for some reason it should be prominently disclosed. The picture does show our President has more class than this magazine, he looks better in navy blue, not red. A sophisticated person doesn't wear red trunks.

    April 23, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  3. Jen King

    So if the washingtonian people are saying that it's insignificant what color the shorts are and doesn't matter, then why change them to begin with?

    I hate digital/photoshop photography just for this reason. You don't really know anymore if what you're seeing is the truth.

    April 23, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  4. CAMI


    Stacy: "Doesn't he have anything to do besides go out in Washington all the time? Movies with his kids, coctail parties on Wednesday nights, etc… Doesn't he have a job???"

    Did he give up being a husband/father/family man when he became President? What a ridiculous statement. I'm sure your job, if you have one, expects you to be there 24/7/365. How absolutely moronic to not want the man to have some down time with his family and friends. It's not like he can't be reached if need be. Sheesh!

    As far as the pic goes – he is a nice looking bit of humankind, no matter what he's wearing, although I'm sure he'd prefer not to be on the cover in his bathing trunks.

    April 23, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Hot hot hotie.go obama

    April 23, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  6. arithmetic is liberal

    I find it very interesting how we choose to scrutinize the journalistic integrity of changing a bathing suit from black to red, but no one questions the journalistic integrity of the major news outlets in the lead up to the war in Iraq.

    April 23, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  7. Robert

    two things:

    A) Who cares.

    B) Interesting. When the media treats our president like a celebrity – in a positive fashion even, a lot of people get upset about it, but when our president chooses not to act like a president and behaves like a celebrity by doing things like going on Leno, no one cares? I think that says a LOT about the sheeple bleating about in our country.

    April 23, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
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