Sunday, July 25, 2010

Media Manipulation

It's interesting how our perceptions are easily shaped by what we see. Here's a pretty powerful demonstration...

If you wanted to show that soldiers are merciless in wartime, you'd use the cropped picture on the left. But if you wanted to illustrate that soldiers are decent human beings, you'd crop the right-hand part of the original photo.
Simple. And very effective.
Photos speak for themselves, but the implications are scary.
Should we be more sceptical about pictures used by the media?
Just last week, BP was busted with a poorly photoshopped image of its oil spill site from the cockpit of an approaching helicopter. This was on its website, explaining its response efforts through pictures.

+ While the helicopter appears to be above the boats ahead, the readouts on the dash show the door and ramp are open, the parking brake engaged, and the pilot's holding a pre-flight checklist!
+ In the upper left-hand corner, there's an air traffic control tower!
+ Then, look to where the water abruptly changes shades of blue (centre left) in a blur of pixelation, and a disappearing vessel!
And so on...
This is not the first time BP has been caught photoshopping its public image. Every time it does so, it undermines what little credibility it has left. This oil spill is a disaster so large that the only possible approach by BP must be total transparency and honesty. However this shows a company still more concerned with image than reality.

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