North Korea not the only offender: 6 official photo fudgings
As state manipulators of the media go, few can compare to North Korea, which found it necessary to doctor an official photograph of Kim Jong-il's funeral procession.
Just as governments are finding it easier to use technology to manipulate images, so too is the public finding it easier to spot such digital trickery. Here are six noteworthy attempts by governments to shape media coverage through image manipulation.
4. China and the Philippines' meme-bait
Some state photo edits are so laughably bad that they achieve a higher level of notoriety and become Internet memes: a rapidly spreading idea that results in lots of derivative, often-comical copies, like lolcats or Kim Jong-il looking at things. This year saw two such photoshops ascend to meme-dom.
The first, in July, came from a remote county in China. A trio of local officials had just visited a newly paved road, but as the Wall Street Journal reports, the government official who photographed them "decided the background wasn’t impressive enough and so superimposed the image of the officials on a prettier stretch of asphalt." Unfortunately, the official's ambition outmatched his skill, and the result was a picture where the three men appeared to hover above the road. Chinese photoshoppers, amused and seeing an invitation, took the concept and ran with it, putting the men in a variety of locations including the Moon, a professional soccer match, and the Obama administration's viewing of Osama bin Laden's death.
Just a few months later in September, a trio of Filipino officials were caught in the same bind: Their visit to a typhoon-ravaged coastline in Manila didn't photograph well, so the Philippines' Department of Public Works and Highways tweaked it for a better presentation. The result was much like the Chinese attempt, but one step worse: The trio pasted into the foreground was also visible in the background of the picture. Once again, Internet natives took the bad photoshop and made even more outlandish versions. The officials can now also be seen at the Last Supper, dancing with Michael Jackson, and visiting with Hitler at a Nazi military parade.