The national media’s obsession with the spread of doctored photos of Democratic politicians reached a fever pitch Thursday, when The Washington Post published a story accusing GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik of posting an “altered” image of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Twitter.
The photo in question was indeed altered, but not in a way that made Pelosi look particularly bad. Instead, Stefanik — or one of her assistants — posted a filtered photo of Pelosi along with a petition to “pressure” her to send articles of impeachment to the Senate.
The use of filtered photos is common in the graphics design business. Pelosi’s own political team has used the technique in social media posts about President Donald Trump.
Media outlets have breathlessly covered the increased use of altered and photoshopped photos and images in the political realm. In May 2019, news outlets, including WaPo, vigorously covered a viral video of Pelosi that was slowed down to make the Democrat appear drunk.
WaPo’s description of Stefanik’s image shows it was far different than what Gosar posted.
“The tweet shows a close-up, red-tinted photo of Pelosi, with the lines in the House speaker’s face exaggerated due to the image’s unnaturally high contrast,” wrote WaPo reporter Felicia Sonmez.
Dems obsessed w/ impeachment but won’t send articles to the Senate. Why? It’s bc they don’t want a trial that will EXPOSE Schiff’s illegal COORDINATION with the Whistleblower. SIGN & DONATE to #PressurePelosi to send the articles! https://t.co/g0D2tl9Px3 ????https://t.co/w13xEv1sC9
— Elise Stefanik (@EliseStefanik) January 8, 2020
Pelosi’s own social media team has used the same technique in the past on posts about President Donald Trump.
We would be delinquent in our duties if we failed to #DefendOurDemocracy and Constitution.
This is about patriotism. This is about the future of our country. pic.twitter.com/O1EVzBkdk8
— Nancy Pelosi (@TeamPelosi) December 10, 2019
We take an oath to defend our Constitution – not the president.
— Nancy Pelosi (@TeamPelosi) December 5, 2019
He endangered our national security. He betrayed his oath of office by undermining our elections. And he abused his power.
The devastating testimony corroborated evidence of bribery. No one is above the law. pic.twitter.com/TjBRINfNnY
— Nancy Pelosi (@TeamPelosi) November 16, 2019
Stefanik responded by thanking WaPo for “promoting & advertising” her campaign donation page.
Thanks @washingtonpost for your article promoting & advertising my donation page urging Pelosi to stop her political games w/ beautiful black & white photography! ????
???????????????? flying in!
— Elise Stefanik (@EliseStefanik) January 9, 2020
Stefanik has become a major target of Democrats ever since she squared off against California Rep. Adam Schiff during hearings for the Trump impeachment inquiry in 2019.
Stefanik announced a massive campaign fundraising haul Wednesday. She said her campaign raised $3.2 million in the final quarter of 2019, which is more than she raised in all of 2017 and 2018.
The WaPo story was widely ridiculed on Twitter.
My God. This press reaction is unhinged. https://t.co/oNpwaYbuk3
— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) January 9, 2020
The same people who fact-check dog memes are now discovering that depictions of famous people are not always just untreated photographs. Democracy dies in darkness, and all that. https://t.co/gXNxYMvZU9
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) January 9, 2020
Oh no, the Republicans have discovered Instagram filters, red alert: https://t.co/rSgZIyVMsg
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) January 9, 2020
Good morning, impossibly dumb ‘news’ story https://t.co/Rj9I1J2LEY
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) January 9, 2020
This was posted 7 hours ago: pic.twitter.com/VCP17XZwpE
— Chris Martin (@chrisjdmartin) January 9, 2020
WaPo did not respond to a request for comment.
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