Sunday, May 15, 2011

Anchorage Daily News journalist Julia O'Malley: "Photoshopping", "lightened pictures" and "reading comprehension skills" - A journalistic failure

By Patrick

Yesterday I was on the little twitter thing upon which I dutifully tweeted out my last post to numerous receipients such as Julia O'Malley, journalist for the Anchorage Daily News, who is also on twitter (click on pictures to enlarge)

The reason for tweeting Julia O'Malley in particular was of course her "Make.It.Stop." article at the Anchorage Daily News dated April 14, 2011, in which she claimed that Sarah Palin was indeed pregnant. I published a detailed response to this article on April 17, 2011 in my "Shame.On.You." post. Curiously, Julia O'Malley presented as her main proof at the beginning of her article a picture from March 2008 in which Sarah Palin looks "obviously pregnant", according to Julia O'Malley.

Julia O'Malley chose to respond to my tweet, and the following twitter conversation proved to be a truly enlightening venture. Unfortunately, Julia O'Malley also chose to delete most of those tweets just several minutes after our twitter conversation had finished - and she did so for good reason as she made some very ill-thought comebacks to my questions. However, and fortunately for us, I do know how to make screenshots, and I make them very, very fast. It would have been a real shame if this conversation had been lost, because rarely has a journalist provided better proof for for his or her ineptitude as far as Sarah Palin's pregnancy with Trig is concerned.

Julia O'Malley's first response to my tweet is still online:

"Ghosts and aliens", sure. Oh yes, anyone questioning Sarah's account of her pregnancy can be officially designated as part of the craaazies and lumped in with all conspiracy theorists.

Julia didn't have to wait long for my response:

I was referring to this passage in her "Make.It.Stop." article in which she said:

I read Scharlott's piece. It contains lots of innuendo and some widely-circulated Photoshopped pictures. What is missing from his investigation: facts.

In my "Shame.On.You." reply at Politicalgates I point out that Professor Bradford Scharlott did not use any photoshopped pictures in his academic paper about the Trig pregnancy hoax at all.

It now turns out that Julia O'Malley apparently has a very different understanding of the word "photoshopped", because she explained in her response to my tweet:

So Julia O'Malley believes that "photoshopping" pictures is the same as "lightening" pictures. Interesting!

Let's take a look at what Wikipedia says about the term "photoshopping":

Photoshopping is slang for the digital editing of photos. The term originates from Adobe Photoshop, the image editor most commonly used by professionals for this purpose; however, other programs, such as Paint Shop Pro, Corel Photopaint, Pixelmator, Paint.NET, or GIMP, may be used. Adobe Systems, the publisher of Adobe Photoshop, discourages use of the term "photoshop" as a verb out of concern that it may undermine the company's trademark.

Despite this, photoshop is widely used as a verb, both colloquially and academically, to refer to retouching, compositing (or splicing), and color balancing carried out in the course of graphic design, commercial publishing, and image editing.

In popular culture, the term photoshopping is sometimes associated with montages in the form of visual jokes, such as those published on the website and in MAD Magazine. Images may be propagated memetically via e-mail as humor or passed as actual news. An example of the latter category is "Helicopter Shark," which was widely circulated as a so-called "National Geographic Photo of the Year" and was later revealed to be a hoax.

Excuse my, Julia, but from this explanation alone it is obvious that "photoshopping" is in general widely understood in the first place as a method to digitally manipulate photos in a way that they afterwards show something profoundly different than before. In your article, you deliberately left the impression that pictures which were used by Professor Scharlott were manipulated in such a dishonest way, an impression which is completely false. One can lighten digital pictures even with the smallest editing programs - and even if you for example develop colour photo negatives in a shop, they are usually lightened automatically for printing. No serious photographer would regard this as "photoshopping."

Interestingly, Julia O'Malley apparently believes that it's better to keep her interpretation of what constitutes "photoshopping" a secret, because she deleted her tweet shortly afterwards. Which is a shame, because a significant portion of her readership in Alaska will now continue to believe that Professer Scharlott dishonestly manipulated pictures.

I then gave what I considered to be a very appropriate reply to Julia O'Malley:

However, the ineptitude of Julia O'Malley didn't stop there. The conversation went on.

Kathleen then twittered her over Kathleen's "ScarahPlainUSA" twitter account:

To which Julia O'Malley responded:

"I can't be responsible for reading comprehension problems."

While it is regrettable that the readers of the Anchorage Daily News are apparently expected to interpret articles in the way that Julia O'Malley meant them to be interpreted despite her flawed use of technical terms, it is even more regrettable that Julia O'Malley then chose to delete this tweet as well. If it weren't for the mysterious procedure which we call "screenshotting", her readership would have never known.

As Julia O'Malley used her "own" picture in her article to prove that Sarah Palin was pregnant (a picture which cannot be reproduced without permission, as the Anchorage Daily News explicitly states), I thought that it was just fair to point Julia to a picture which showed Sarah Palin non-pregnant on March 26, 2008, three weeks before she officially gave birth to a baby weighing six pounds, two oz. on April 18, 2008:

I was talking of course about this picture from March 26, 2008, just about three weeks before officially giving birth to a six-pound baby (click to enlarge):

Sarah Palin on March 26, 2008, at the Alaska State Museum in Juneau. See our recent post about the ADN-article by Julia O'Malley for the extensive documentation regarding this picture.

Julia O'Malley was not shy and tweeted back:

Julia O'Malley apparently had forgotten that she herself used a picture in her article as one of her main pieces of evidence for the assertion that Sarah Palin was in fact pregnant.

I also thought it was just fair to remind her that a journalist should not put his reputation on the line for a serial, proven liar such as Sarah Palin:

To which Julia O'Malley responded:

Responded , blocked me and then deleted her tweets.

Which is a real shame, because I sent more tweets which contained hard and very inconvenient facts, for example:

It seems that a few simple tweets really got under Julia O'Malley's skin:

Was it because her answers were simply curiously illogical?

Just for the record here are Julia O'Malley's tweets to me that she has since "tweleted" (tweets that have been deleted because the tweeter realises that their responses make them look stupid):
Julia O'Malley was an almost embarrassingly lightweight sparring partner. I am quite shocked that journalistic standards at the Anchorage Daily News, the largest newspaper in Alaska, have fallen so low.

Julia O'Malley and other journalists such as Dave Weigel from Slate, Justin Elliott from Salon, Jason Linkins from Huffington Post and Megan Carpentier from Raw Story are unable to grasp the fact that it's not enough to brand the doubters of Sarah Palin pregnancy, called "Trig Truthers" by the Palin camp as some sort of mad conspiracy theorists. It's instead necessary for them to deal with facts in a rational, open and transparent way, and sadly, none of these people are willing to do that. This epic failure of journalism will make for a highly interesting case study one day, and I am sure that somebody is already busy taking notes.


Please re-tweet:!/politicalgates/status/69826379516088320!/politicalgates/status/69825250690465792!/politicalgates/status/69823018284761089!/politicalgates/status/69818674072137728!/politicalgates/status/69815216707346432


"Babygate" has been covered in much more detail in previous posts. Far more pictures and other documentation exists. You can find all this information here:

Read all posts at Politicalgates about Sarah Palin's faked pregnancy with Trig - FOR THE COLLECTION, CLICK HEREHEREHEREHEREHEREHEREHERE,HERE AND HERE.

Read the old post at Palingates about the faked pregnancy with the pictures still intact HERE.

We break the "Spiral of Silence" - Read the details about the "biggest hoax in American political history!"

In addition, please don't hesitate to watch the excellent video-documentaries about "babygate" which our reader Lidia17 created - HERE, HERE and HERE.

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