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The Condi Photo Kerfuffle

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*****Yes, I changed the title so as not to “demonize” USA Today*****

Sloppy work or a literal “demon-eye-zation” of a conservative by a mainstream media company? Take a look at these Condi photos:

Here is the photo of Rice that USA Today posted:
Doctored photo
See the eyes? For those of you who, like me, are Stargate SG-1 fans, no Condi is NOT a Goa’uld! 😉

Here is the original photo, which blogger found on Yahoo Espana:

Original photo

Note to readers; this is not at all unusual for this newspaper. And it’s not even that great a job! Very unprofessional. I could do better in five minutes than this hack job of an edit. Shame on them!

Hat tip to Michelle Malkin.

David Flanagan

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  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    Thanks for catching this one, David! I heard about it on the news this morning, but hadn’t visualized it adequately – it’s great to find it here on Blogcritics! (If one can use that word to describe seeing such a juvenile excuse for photo-journalism!)

  • http://gratefuldread.net Natalie Davis

    I must agree — photoshopping the pictures to make Rice look creepy is tantamount to changing the fact in a story’s text. But this is the work of one media outlet regarding one conservative. How do you justify slamming the entire MSM and charge them with treating conservatives in general in such an unethical fashion?

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    By one media outlet you mean the single largest circulation printed publication in the US. And I think the point is that if USA Today thinks they can get away with it, why shouldn’t we assume that others are doing the same thing every day?


  • Liberal

    On the other hand, maybe they were just trying to clear up the cloudiness in her eyes that has resulted from her heroin addiction.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    All the more reason to put her in the white house. maybe she’d legalize heroin.


  • Liberal

    Good idea, Dave. We’ll need all those jail cells for the current White House staff.

  • ss

    On the one hand:
    With Rice it’s really worse than that. Back when there was a controversy over her testifying before the 9/11 commission she was scowling in EVERY picture in every paper. Since the Administration told everybody the Europeans found her charming on her first visit over there the picture above is the first one I’ve seen where she hasn’t been smiling.

    On the other hand:
    For people fond of telling others who were born disadvantaged that ‘Life’s not fair’ and blaming people without cars for not evecuating when there’s a hurricane, conservatives cry long and loud at the slightest underhanded stunt pulled by a reporter.

  • http://sussfr.blogspot.com Matthew T. Sussman

    OK, OK, tinfoil hats off, everyone.

  • Nancy

    I think they were just trying to get the yellowy tones out of the whites of her eyes. She still came out looking pretty good. If they’d wanted to “demonize” her, they could have emphasized wrinkles, or done any number of other unflattering things.

  • http://www.fifthdentist.blogspot.com The Fifth Dentist

    USA Today: a paper with a real political slant. Not quite as much of a left-wing manifesto as say TV Guide or Good Housekeeping or the ingredients label on box of Crest toothpaste… You’ve really gone over the edge.

  • Nancy

    LOL – 5th, they’ve never seen “demonize” until they’ve seen what a good photofixer can do w/a simple computer program & a little subtle imagination. 30 more lbs? Bad hair day? Bad complexion? Suit too tight in the wrong places? The mind boggles.

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    Rice and this administration are not conservatives. They do not believe in smaller, cheaper, less intrusive government at home, true federalism, the individual above the state, and avoiding harmful entanglements in other nations’ affairs. Your point about media irresponsibility-both left and right- is well-taken, but I disagree with your characterization of her as conservative-more a ‘divine right reactionary’ in practice. (By the way, Rice has done more than her share of using the media to manipulate facts and distort the truth.)

  • http://www.suddennothing.net LegendaryMonkey

    I tend to agree with Nancy on this one… it looks to me like they were trying to clean up the picture and really screwed the whole thing up. But whatever the reason, I can’t believe it actually got released like that. Looks like shit. Hell, *I* could do a better job!

  • http://gratefuldread.net Natalie Davis

    Excellent point. The Bushites portray themselves as conservatives, but they really are not.

  • Nancy

    It’s just too obvious to be an actual attempt. A real ‘demon’ attempt would be much subtler.

  • http://www.markiscranky.org Mark Saleski

    besides, they forgot the horns.

  • Nancy

    Also the patent-leather cloven heels. BTW, a propos of nothing, has anyone else seen the photos of her California cousin, Constance? Another looker-! And almost her twin.

  • http://www.scottcsmith.net Scott C. Smith

    Condi looks creepy in her normal photos. Look at that scowl. If she smiled the bottom half of her face would crack off.

    I don’t buy the whole conspiracy angle. Probably a mistake. The so-called liberal media has been pretty friendly to the Bush administration, for the most part.

  • http://viewpointjournal.com David Flanagan

    No doubt that Condi is a very intense individual. One of the most intelligent individuals in Washington, speaks five languages, was a concert pianist as well as a highly rated figure skater in her younger years… The woman has made history several times over so far, and she’s still relatively young.

    And I need to point out that, despite all the press photos that libs in the media love to print of Condi, she has a very high favorability rating overall. You might not like her, but any honest person has to respect her.



  • Nancy

    I would respect her a lot more if she’d stop pimping for Smirk. However, nothing can detract from the fact that she’s one sharp cookie in senses of the word.

  • http://www.gasbo.net Stargate News Australia

    Intelligent woman v media, could we expect anything less of them.

    Sad very sad, if the good folks of the US dont want Condi Rice, we’ll have her skills down here thanks

    Nicely caught David, nicely caught

  • Bill B

    Re # 17

    Another looker-!

    Eeeew! I’ve never found her in the least bit attractive. After gazing at the larger of the two pics for more than a few seconds I’m scrambling for a barf pot under the sink!

    As far as the topic goes I think it’s somewhat ridiculous.

    Her eyes are pretty freakin dark. It seems a lousy attempt to brighten them up.

    I’m a tad more concerned about the utter lack of the MSM’s so-called investigative journalism. It would be nice if their investigative journalists would grow a few sets and start doing some investigative journalism.

    Their reluctance to meaningfully pursue any truly meaty issues (lord knows there’s a few on the table) weighs on my mind a bit more than this dastardly dip into photoshop.

  • billy

    i dont think they are demonizing her. look at her. i have seen unleashed, rabid barking pit bulls that id rather approach than this woman.

  • http://cybermenace.blogspot.com The Cyber Menace

    Funny, I thought I was the first to pick up on the Goa’uld angle. But at least I provided a pic, ha ha. For anyone who wants to get another laugh out of this whole thing, they can take a look at it over at my blog: The Cyber Menace. http://cybermenace.blogspot.com

  • http://www.viewpointjournal.com David Flanagan


    Great blog! I love your side-by-side comparison of Condi and one of the early characters from the Stargate SG-1 show.

    I’m a big Stargate fan, so when I saw the photo early this morning (about 7:30am EST), it was the first thing I thought of. 😀 Perhaps, rather than being Goa’uld, Condi is actually Tok’ra?

    That I’d be okay with. She’s certainly as intelligent and influential as a Tok’ra, don’t you think? 😉


  • http://www.viewpointjournal.com David Flanagan

    I’m amazed that Stargate News Australia so quickly found my post on Condi’s photo. It’s an honor and a pleasure to have you post a comment here. Believe it or not, I received a response from USA Today regarding my post.

    Here is what they say regarding the picture:

    I’d like to explain how that happened. USATODAY.com, like other news organizations, often adjusts photos for sharpness and brightness to optimize their appearance when published online. In this case, a USATODAY.com editor sharpened the photo and then brightened a portion of Rice’s face. Those changes had the effect of distorting the photo and failed to meet our editorial standards for accuracy and integrity. The photo has been replaced with a properly adjusted copy and an editor’s note has been published here: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-10-19-rice-congress_x.htm. The photo did not appear in the USA TODAY newspaper.

    The editors of USATODAY.com will make every effort to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again.

    Kinsey Wilson

  • http://www.viewpointjournal.com David Flanagan

    FYI – I blew both photos up to 800% of their original size, then posted a side-by-side comparison of the eyes so that readers can judge for themselves. The photo can be found here.



  • RogerMDillion

    “Hat tip to Michelle Malkin.”

    It’s the same article. That’s fine if you want to spread the message, but be honest about it. Give her full credit.

    “One of the most intelligent individuals in Washington,”

    Yeah, she’s so smart that she thought a memo entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike inside US” was a historical document.

    Tonya Harding was a highly rated figure skater in her younger years, so don’t set the bar too high.

    There is no way the right is going to elect Condi president.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    >>There is no way the right is going to elect Condi president.<< Why not? She's got everything going for her. It would be so easy compared to some of the alternatives. Dave

  • RogerMDillion

    “Why not? She’s got everything going for her.”

    Yeah, except race, sex and possibly orientation, if the rumors are true. Are you that unaware of who is in the Republican base?

    I’ll bet $20 that if she gets in the race, she won’t win the nomination. If you need, pick a third party you trust like Berlin or Al, and I’ll send my check the day Condi announces.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Race certainly isn’t an issue for the GOP. Sex also a non-issue. Look at the Bush administration – full of powerful blacks and women. Sexual orientation you may have a point on, but on the other hand the GOP is basically run by gay men, so who knows.


  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com/ Eric Berlin

    I see no evidence of demonization here. Only conspiracy-spinning that is silly when coming from any political quarter.

    Also: if you click through to the USA Today site, the photo looks much different. Now, anyway.

  • http://www.viewpointjournal.com David Flanagan


    If you see one of my comments to this post, you’ll see that a USA Today VP sent me a note letting me know that this was not an intentional manipulation of the photo, just an error when they were “sharpening” the image. They have since uploaded a better image.



  • http://www.viewpointjournal.com David Flanagan


    It’s not the same article at all. Read the text and you’ll see for yourself.

    And Michelle got her information from another source too, just as I saw it on her site and wanted to comment on the issue on my site. You see, that is the way blogging works. You tell two friends, then I’ll tell two friends, etc., etc. 😉

    If I wanted simply to steal all the credit, I would not have referenced or pinged Ms. Malkin’s blog. I made sure that you and she knew that I had read the post, then posted my own thoughts on the issue to my blog.

    I call that SOP.



  • http://www.templestark.com/blog Temple A. Stark

    >>this is not at all unusual for this newspaper.

    Explain please. A loaded charge thrown out needs something more.

    So do you believe USA Today’s VP?

  • RogerMDillion

    Other than the mention of Stargate, it is the same article. You didn’t bring anything new to it. It’s one step above the misnamed Notable Quotables.

    And if Malkin got her information from another source, then why bother hat-tipping to her? You should mention her source, which you failed to do. I call that LAZY.

    Nalle, maybe you don’t know how the system works, but the electorate doesn’t get to vote on who gets into the administration.

    Notice how many women or miniorties have been nominated for Pres or VP by the GOP. Has there been no one qualified to run from the right until Condi that represents either group? I know Quayle set the bar high, but be honest.

    If $20 is too much, we can change the bet to a post approved by the winner of at least a couple of paragraphs where the loser declares that they were wrong and that the other person is more knowledgable about politics.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    >>Notice how many women or miniorties have been nominated for Pres or VP by the GOP. Has there been no one qualified to run from the right until Condi that represents either group? I know Quayle set the bar high, but be honest.<< Elizabeth Dole was a serious contender but circumstances worked against her. In addition, the first 5 women to serve in the House of Representatives were all Republicans, as was the first woman Senator. By my count a total of 83 Republican women have served in the House, along with 11 women GOP Senators, plus of coruse countless governors and other office holders. There are currently 5 female Republican Senators in office and 25 Republican women in the House. Seems to me like the GOP is not at all averse to putting Women in national office. As for blacks, remember that the Republican party has a relatively clack constituency, but when they do get an african american interested in running for office they put themselves behind them 100%. But do you think that Colin Powell or J. C. Watts would not be taken seriously and get votes in a Republican primary? There remains substantial resentment in the GOP over the departure of so many african americans from the party. The first black congressmen and senators were all Republican, but when southern Democrats regained authority and instituted Jim Crow laws they were driven out of office until the 1960s by which time they had learned to play along with the Democrats if they wanted to go anywhere, even though the GOP was formed and built on equal rights for all races. Dave

  • Baronius

    Dave, don’t forget how many conservatives would enjoy watching Dems squirm, not being able to support a black woman. And in fairness, there would probably be a few Republicans who just couldn’t bring themselves to pull the lever. It’d be a heck of a sociology experiment.

  • RogerMDillion

    Dave, the issue was Pres or VP, which by my count there has been a total of zero. Try and stay on topic.

    “do you think that Colin Powell or J. C. Watts would not be taken seriously and get votes in a Republican primary?”

    They would. Hell, Keyes got votes. Win the nomination, no.

    It’s comments like Baronius’ that illustrate the mindset of the right. The Dems aren’t obligated to support a black woman just because she’s a black woman. Of course, that will be the attack because that’s how the right sees her. Criticism against Gonzales as AG brought cries of racism. Criticism of Miers brought cries of sexism. But Rice isn’t going anywhere, even if she takes over as VP for Cheney.

  • http://www.nrlc.org/ Anthony Grande

    This is a good sign. Condi isn’t even President yet and the liberal media is already after her.

    Comment 38, I would bet my life that there would be more Dems not voting for her because she is Black.

  • http://www.nrlc.org/ Anthony Grande

    “Criticism against Gonzales as AG brought cries of racism.”

    Show me when and where a said this. I mention Gonzales every time someone calls Bush racist.

  • RogerMDillion

    “Comment 38, I would bet my life that there would be more Dems not voting for her because she is Black.”

    Of course, because that’s why you would not vote for somebody. My first thought would be because of her political views and history. Thanks for demonstrating how the right sees minorities and women.

  • http://www.nrlc.org/ Anthony Grande

    Roger, you answered “of course”???? You must have misunderstood my comment. Read it again.

  • http://www.chancelucky.blogspot.com chancelucky

    I look forward to a run for the presidency by Dr. Rice.

    1) As the head of the NSA she kept the president well informed about possible threats prior to August 6, 2001 and later helped coordinate a close working relationship between the CIA, the FBI, and the White House. In particular, she helped oversee the establishment of the Dept of Homeland Security and its absorption of FEMA.

    2) She’s been an excellent Secretary of State. Through her diplomatic efforts, US popularity and cooperation with our traditional allies is at an all time high. She has helped to temper the extremists in Iran and Syria. She has worked closely with Russia to keep that fledgling democracy stable as well (it was her academic specialty) In Iraq, she has done an excellent job working with the new government there in setting up benchmarks for US withdrawal with honor. Now that they have passed their constitution, I expect to see even more rapid progress. It has been especially fortunate that the Dept. of Defense has done so well in taming the insurgency there to make the Secretary’s job easier.

    3) as for the Ferragamo thing. She’s not the head of FEMA and even the president needed a vacation that week.

  • http://cybermenace.blogspot.com The Cyber Menace

    Hey man, aren’t you guys paying attention? She’s a Gao’uld, man. Americans can’t be voting in people the media thinks has been taken over by power-hungry and egotistical beings that want to conquer the galaxy, man. After all, most conservatives are evil aliens anyways, who are guilty of alleged crimes even before charges are made, and can somehow make hurricanes into racist fanatics out to get the black people of New Orleans, man. What’s the matter with you people?

    – The Cyber Menace

  • Joe Yowsa

    I would guess that started out as a mistake but someone thought it was funny, so he or she left it that way. USA Today to their credit corrected it ASAP. Compare that to the Wash. Compost that finally got around to admitting that little lying Joey was the “anonymous source” for their hack Pincus back in June or July of 2003. However the Compost hasn’t quite figured out the difference between a whistle-blower and a liar yet. But then they’re “managed” by that imbecile Leonard Downie Jr.

  • Joe Yowsa

    I would guess that started out as a mistake but someone thought it was funny, so he or she left it that way. USA Today to their credit corrected it ASAP. Compare that to the Wash. Compost that finally got around to admitting that little lying Joey was the “anonymous source” for their hack Pincus back in June or July of 2003. However the Compost hasn’t quite figured out the difference between a whistle-blower and a liar yet. But then they’re “managed” by that imbecile Leonard Downie Jr.