New LGF photo controversy: Debunked? (Update: Bloggers insist it’s a p-shop) (Update: Video evidence?)

posted at 4:49 pm on August 9, 2006 by Allahpundit

One of my very best tipsters, RLW, sent me a link to a photo page he found at the Daily Mail. Check this out:


Note the kid in the red hat and the kid in the orange shirt with blue writing on it.

Now compare to the suspected doctored photo (I’ve added a red circle around the guy who was supposedly ‘shopped in):


There’s the kid in the red hat next to the kid in the orange shirt with blue writing. It’s the same room, albeit at what looks like a different time of day.

Now back to the first one. Is the guy in the red circle here the same guy, thus proving that it’s not a photoshop? You make the call!


God, this is fun. Someone really needs to put the Zapruder film on YouTube. We’ll have it figured out in 20 minutes.

Update: The guy in the Daily Mail photo is either standing on something or is quite a bit taller than most of the other people in the room. I can’t tell from the scale how tall the guy in the Times photo is. Taller than the people next to him, for sure, but maybe not that much taller.

Update: Rusty reports that Adnan Hajj and Issam Kobeisi are, in fact, two different guys.

Who doubted it from the get-go? The same guy who would never ever steer you wrong, come hell or high water.

Me, that’s who.

I really hope I’m wrong with this latest debunking, though. Because now that it’s been on Drudge, if it turns out it’s not a photoshop, we’re going to look like the biggest bunch of cranks this side of a Loose Change convention.

Update: I raised the brightness of the photo by 50% and got this, which I think is inconclusive:


Reader G. Granny says she played with the contrast somehow and got this, which definitely points away from my theory:


Update: By the way, the Times’s photo was taken at Tibnin hospital, in case anyone wants to do a little recreational googling. Tibnin is occasionally spelled Tibnine, so look out for that.

Update: Wise words from a few days ago:

Let’s not ruin LGF’s scoop by tossing out wild allegations about every single picture Adnan Hajj and Reuters have snapped in Lebanon. Where there is good reason to suspect further forgery, of course, say so.

But bloggers should be a little circumspect about just offering new claims of fraudulency based on little else but speculation and wishful thinking and just wanting to contribute…

LFG scored big on Reuters. Really big.

Let’s protect that score and not piss it away by taking wild, wing-and-a-prayer shots on goal that ultimately give the upper hand back to Reuters.

Update: Codemite ups the ante with an image analysis that claims to prove the Times image is a photoshop.

I was with you on Hajj, boys, but I’m afraid nothing short of a confession’s going to convince me on this one. I called Hajj’s work the worst photoshop ever; if this one’s doctored, it’s the dumbest photoshop ever. And until someone explains to me why the Times would be this dumb, I’m not sold.

We’ve already had one e-mailer write in to say the black guy was ‘shopped in to obscure the face of a woman who obviously wasn’t wearing her headdress, the photographic evidence of which could have gotten her killed by Hezbollah. A fine theory, but one which doesn’t explain why the woman’s face wasn’t simply pixellated or cropped out instead. Pasting people into images is a firing offense for the culprit and hugely damaging to the credibility of the organization he works for. Do you really think Tyler Hicks cares that much? Or that the Times would be willing to risk that damage by doing this on the sly when they could have just pixellated her and copped to it?

The Daily Mail must have different standards when it comes to that sort of thing, too, because there’s a woman with no head covering right there in the middle of their photo.

I encourage everyone to re-read Ace’s words and think carefully about this stuff. Charles was entirely in the right to toss it out there for public scrutiny, but we really are heading into boy-who-cried-wolf territory here. If we aren’t there already.

Update: Google Jedi Dan Riehl sniffed around and found NBC video from Tibnin hospital. The resolution’s not high enough to tell if it’s the same guy, but it’s worth noting that this is the first image of a black man (or woman) that I’ve seen on the Lebanon newswire since the conflict began. Except, of course, for Tyler Hicks’s photo, which happened to be taken in the very same building at around the same time. Quite a coincidence.


You’ll also note he’s wearing a light-blue pullover, similar to the color of the garment draped over photoshop guy’s left shoulder.

Rusty e-mails with a new screencap at :46 of the video:


Same guy? Different? Two different guys?

Update: Rusty and I both think the Times is going to settle this matter one way or another within the next few hours. But it should be noted for the record, in case it is debunked (or in case it isn’t, I guess), that Charles himself was skeptical of this one.

Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air



Trackback URL


I don’t know if it is a hoax or not but I have to say that the larger face looks kind of odd. The left edge of his face has a very straight line and the top and right side of the face look like they were sloppily cut and pasted from somewhere else. The edges don’t look right.

Could it have been cut and pasted from another photo at the same site?

tommy1 on August 9, 2006 at 5:07 PM

I should clarify. I mean the top and right edges of the head look off – not the face.

tommy1 on August 9, 2006 at 5:09 PM

The more I look at it, the more I think it’s the same guy.

Allahpundit on August 9, 2006 at 5:10 PM

I wonder if there is a good way to compare the height of the individual in the first image to the height of the guy in the second image.

I agree that it looks like the same guy in both photos but the big face doesn’t seem quite right either. I can’t possibly conceive of why anyone would want to cut and paste a head from one photo of somebody at the scene onto another person’s body, but that is kind of what it looks like.

Notice the white cloth at the bottom of the man’s head. I wonder if the white glint at the top of his head is the same thing. Could his face be superimposed on a woman’s body?

Who knows. It’s strange.

tommy1 on August 9, 2006 at 5:16 PM

I agree with AP..same guy.

labwrs on August 9, 2006 at 5:20 PM

No way, I don’t think it’s the same guy:

1. The black guy has something white right under his chin. It’s up high and would’ve been visible even at a distance. There’s no glimpse of white showing around the neck of the guy in the back of the room.

2. The guy in the back looks like he has a beard. His face is paler – certainly not dark brown. He also has a longer face, whereas the black guy has a round face.

3. The guy in the back looks like he’s in dark clothing, not the light tan of the black guy.

4. What’s that bright blue thing over the black guy’s shoulder?

Redhead Infidel on August 9, 2006 at 5:31 PM

I dont think so. The one in the back of the room is arab with a beard. The other guy is a black man’s face photoshopped onto something.

BelchSpeak on August 9, 2006 at 5:32 PM

The guy in the second photo certainly looks ‘shopped.

A couple things…..

1) The lighting/refection on him is different than with everyone else in the photo. The shadows just don’t seem to be the same as everyone else.

2) He looks “too in focus” compared to everyone else in the photo. If the photographer were using a digital camera and given the man’s position in the composition, the camera would not have had him in such sharp focus. If the camera were a standard SLR with manual focus, the focusing apparatus in the lens is in the center and the elderly woman in the center of the image would naturally be in sharper focus when you consider the F-stop setting and field of depth.

If you notice, everyone else seems to be slightly in a soft focus. I suspect that is due to the low light situation and the slower shutter speed. There are no hard shadows to indicate that a flash was used.

3) The top of his right shoulder is perfectly horizontal. There is no deviation in the pixels when I enlarge it. That’s not natural.

4) The area around his head at the 12 o’clock to the 3 o’clock postion is odd.

5) As to the white spot on top of his head, I’m reading a 255/255/255 in the image. That doesn’t seem right either. If it were a white cloth of some sort, it still wouldn’t register as pure white.

6) As to him being the same guy in the 3rd photo, its hard to say if its him or not. There’s just not enough detail in the image (especially at 72dpi) to tell.


GT on August 9, 2006 at 5:45 PM

First. Two different guys between the two pictures.

Second. The first guy in the lower right does look cut and pasted to me. Hard to be sure when dealing with a low resolution picture like this. The clothing under the head seems to be more like the other women in the picture rather than the men.

But the color band on the right side of the head doesn’t seem to fit in with the background. That color band also appears similar to the color of the head scarf worn by the the woman in the lower left/middle of the picture. But I’m stretching into speculation now.

Lawrence on August 9, 2006 at 5:49 PM

Slightly OT: I haven’t been able to get to LGF all afternoon. Is it just heavy traffic or is Charles under attack?

Retread on August 9, 2006 at 5:49 PM

Heavy traffic on LGF! Once there were 10,000 online and just now 8000.

I took a quick peek and left so someone else could have my spot in the tube…

MamaAJ on August 9, 2006 at 5:54 PM

We’re talking about the black dude, right?

Not the same guy, IMHO. If he was in the shadows, black skin would show up much, much darker. Ask any photographer (except one for Reuters)- black skin absorbs more light. So under normal photography, the skin in the far back in the shadows would appear exteremely dark.

Or I could be wrong about everything. But hey, I blog for humor not accuracy. Personally, I suscribe to the Single Click Theory. A single click took one picture, bounced off the second picture, and took the third…

RightWingDuck on August 9, 2006 at 5:58 PM

The guy in the back seems to be holding something up to his mouth – like a microphone, directing and organizing people there.

Rick on August 9, 2006 at 6:02 PM

No offense Allah, but how can you think these are the same guy? Even if you were 100% right, how can you tell anything about the guy way in the background? I have really good eyes, but I can’t make any claims about the man in the back for sure, but if I were to go strictly on what I can make out, he appears to be a lighter skinned Arab with a beard. Not a black guy, like the man in question in the bottom right of the other photo.

Again, I just don’t see what you’re seeing about background man that makes you think it’s the black guy… please elaborate if you could. You may be right, but I’m not seeing it.

What I sam seeing is the blown up version of the black dude’s head at LGF showing what seems to be almost as crappy a photoshop as Hajj would do…. Is Tyler Hicks responsible for this (his photo)? Perhaps my call for his firing should be back on. I took it back and laid the blame of last night’s scandal on the production editors of the Times’s little slideshow, but maybe Hicks is as guilty as anyone.

RightWinged on August 9, 2006 at 6:17 PM

I’m confused. Is the guy with the green underpants near the kid in the orange shirt below the red circle? How about the the purple burkha that is brushing up against the guy on the periphery of the red circle? And speaking of circles, my mind is going around in circles trying to make sense of all this.

p.s. And is Up the opposite of Down or is it just 3 miles east of Philadelphia?

pjcomix on August 9, 2006 at 6:18 PM

Sorry, but I know folks want to be careful not to make wild allegations, but the odd cut outs at the top right and left of the black guys head looks like a very sloppy cutout, and I am a photo novice. The coloring “halo” around his head, the lighting. Nope, a paste over. Maybe somebody that should not have been there? It may not be the same guy from the back of the room, but I would say that is a obvious photoshop.

jcon96 on August 9, 2006 at 7:11 PM

I am a little concerned at the overcautiousness I’m seeing here. Yes, we all know we don’t want to go to far out on a limb here band have something backfire, but I think everything that was questionable we’ve all labeled as such, everything that was a smoking gun we’ve labeled as such, and anything that was just odd we’ve labeled as such… BUT THIS IS AN OBVIOUS PHOTOSHOP!

Again, I understand the need for caution, but come on! How can anyone not see that this is a photoshop. Just look at the blown up version of the head on LGF, or see my negative of that same blow up. Photoshop all the way. As for the “why”? I have no clue. I still don’t understand the purpose of Hajj’s smoke PS.. it didn’t really change much. All I know is that this is a black man’s face pasted on the head of a woman wearing a headscarf.

Your move NY Times, someone’s head has to roll. Will this be Hicks’s fault? Or is did some editor do this? Will you get the right guy or find a scapegoat? The anticipation is a killer.

RightWinged on August 9, 2006 at 7:55 PM

If it’s not a cut and paste head, it’s intended to fool jaded eye people into accusing it of being a cut and paste head.

Perchant on August 9, 2006 at 7:56 PM

You’ll also note he’s wearing a light-blue pullover, similar to the color of the garment draped over photoshop guy’s left shoulder.

Allah, you’re crazy man. You’ve done a great job through all of this, but I’m saddened by the over cautious attitude today, when this is so obviously a photoshop. I will feel like a real ass if it turns out not to be, but I can’t see how this photo could possibly be real. You can see the woman’s scarf all around the back of his pasted head, and all the way down to his chin and tucked in to her shirt.

Even if the man in the blue pullover in the NBC video was the same man who’s head we see in the Times/Hicks photo, it is still a photoshop. I know, what was the purpose, right? But what was the purpose of the Hajj smoke PS? It really didn’t do anything. It was just darker, and a little more.. poorly done and leaving clues by photoshopping buildings.. but would the original or his PS make anyone view the scene differently. I don’t think so. I don’t know the intention of this Times photoshop, but I can’t see how this could possibly be real… what is coming out of the back of the guy’s head?

RightWinged on August 9, 2006 at 9:06 PM

I will feel like a real ass if it turns out not to be, but I can’t see how this photo could possibly be real.

If Hicks denies it, how many of you guys will accept his denial?

Or we then in for a round of “Hicks lied”?

Allahpundit on August 9, 2006 at 9:11 PM

(reply to your last comment Allah August 9, 2006 at 9:11 PM) I don’t know if this is Hicks doing or an editor, but it is almost undoubtedly photoshopped… how can you not see it man?

Same guy? Different? Two different guys?

It doesn’t matter who any of these “black guys” are, hell it could be Joe Lieberman in blackface paint… it doesn’t change the fact that the Times photo in question is such an obvious photoshop. Check out the enlargement, including the negative I created. I’m this close to saying I’m 100% certain it’s PSed, but skeptics (well, just you really) are the only thing keeping me from going all the way.

RightWinged on August 9, 2006 at 9:36 PM

Wow! You’re missing it!

Forget the dude at the bottom right. The dudette at the bottom left–that’s Queen Amidala! Come on; that’s clearly Natalie Portman in the character of Amidala.

Questions about.

developing …

Axe on August 9, 2006 at 10:35 PM


Axe on August 9, 2006 at 10:37 PM

That is one crazy image. The guy doesn’t have a right arm. The right half of his garb has fabric with what appears to be signatures ( autographs ) written all over it…or maybe it’s some writing that solves the mystery of this puzzle.

Perchant on August 9, 2006 at 11:02 PM


The right half of his garb has fabric with what appears to be signatures ( autographs ) written all over it…or maybe it’s some writing that solves the mystery of this puzzle.

Lol @ the writing solving the puzzle. I called my mom earlier today to check out all what’s been going on in the blogosphere the past couple days, and showed her our new friend. She doesn’t know anything about photoshop, but she could clearly tell that this was not real. Anyway, she saw the writing too, Perchant, and she almost said word for word what you said about that writing solving the mystery.

Here’s my question about that fabric though… Does it remind anyone of a Sean Jean jacket? Or one of the other “hip-hop” clothing jackets? I can’t think if it’s P. Diddy (I hate saying/typing that) or Kanye west or who, but I’ve seen a jacket made out of fabric that looked very much like that before. Still trying to see if I can find anything like it.

RightWinged on August 9, 2006 at 11:16 PM

It’s a fake.

I’ve blown it up, because I can’t figure out why this man has something pasted to the back of his head, visible as a white bar on the top of his head and some misc. cloth above his right ear. That’s not a head-covering I’m familar with.

In fact, Hot Air powers-that-be, your new post, the smoking gun? whoever prepared that image had to remove those artifacts. They aren’t forground, and they aren’t background.

The fact that he is wearing womens clothes doesn’t help. Men don’t cover themselves that way, and they don’t cinch below their necks in modesty; those are muslim women’s clothes (regional).

It’s a fake. But I’m surprised by my guess about how it was constructed. I think Randy might be correct: To create that image, you’d have to paste a man’s head onto an image of a muslim woman. Nice call RightWinged; made me actually look.

(And that other woman really does look like Amidala :)

Axe on August 9, 2006 at 11:37 PM

PS. The guy in the background can’t possibly be the same guy, because he’s wearing different clothes. The “Man’s” … shawl? in the foreground touches his neck, and wraps around his chest, and the man in the background has none; the man in the foreground has a white scarf that is also not present on the man in the backkground.

This really is a photoshop Allah. I’d put a smiley here, but I’ve used my quota.

Axe on August 9, 2006 at 11:41 PM

*above his left ear.

Axe on August 9, 2006 at 11:42 PM

Re; The light blue cloth draped over the shoulder of the male/female/whatever in the original photo.

You’ll notice that in the picture of the woman holding the baby, that the baby is also swaddled in a light blue blanket. Could it be that the male/female/whatever has one of those blankets?

Re; The alternate angle shot with the man in the background.

That man is two tall, to light skinned, and has an obvious 5 o’clock shadow.

Just my opinions though.


V5 on August 10, 2006 at 1:37 AM

Anyone else who emailed the Times gotten a reply yet? I haven’t heard back yet, but I can’t wait until they’re forced to admit the PS. I just wish everyone could see the obvious – that this is without question a sloppy ass photoshop.

RightWinged on August 10, 2006 at 8:17 AM

By the way, I’m sorry about my obsession over this photo, but I fear that the Times is going to get away with this, especially with the breaking terror bust news overshadowing everything.

RightWinged on August 10, 2006 at 8:29 AM