Nutroots accuse Hillary of darkening footage of Obama to make him look “blacker”; Update: Rush audio added

posted at 4:25 pm on March 4, 2008 by Allahpundit

Not quite as stupid as the subliminal-message accusations over the weekend but in the ballpark, and worthy of a Sean Wilentz follow-up piece at TNR on Team Obama’s race-baiting should his campaign dare to pick this up. From the swamps of dKos to, of all places, the politics blog at Fox News: Even if you believe Hillary would stoop to this sort of race-baiting, does anyone think the benefit she’d gain from it would outstrip the cost? How’d that work out vis-a-vis Bill’s Jesse Jackson comment in South Carolina? Watch the ad again, or just compare the side-by-side images in the frontpage screencap to see how marginal the difference is. He doesn’t look “blacker,” he looks grayish and enervated, as though he’s ill. Given the endless amount of ink that’s been spilled on him being the first black candidate with a legitimate shot at the White House, what does darkening his skin by 5% or whatever the variable is here do to motivate any racist that isn’t already motivated against him?

Answer: Nothing, but the left’s chomping at the bit to demagogue the hell out of the GOP on all matters racial in the general election, so Hillary will have to do for now. Or, of course, Rush Limbaugh, who committed the impardonable sin of waiting a few minutes to apologize for a caller’s comparison of a presidential candidate to a monkey. Ahem.

Update: Charles Johnson thinks it’s all attributable to video transfer artifacts.

Update: Here’s Limbaugh’s “Curious George” segment, first the exchange, then the apology.



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I’m not sure Rush was actually apologizing. He sounded like he was being “mock” serious, as he does sometimes when trying to prove a point. I also think it’s entirely plausible that Rush didn’t know about Curious George since he has never had his own children and seems to have been little interested in comics and cartoons growing up. My husband was the same way and our children’s interest in comics and animated movies just mystifies him. It is surprising to me the references my husband misses because he just never picked up a comic book or watched cartoons as a child.

I can absolutely see how the little girl saw a similarity with Curious George – it’s the ears. There have been many monkey caricatures of Bush emphasizing his ears, too.

inmypajamas on March 4, 2008 at 10:34 PM

That’s really something Rush needs to stamp out, immediately and throughly. A white girl and her white mother saying on nationally syndicated radio that black Obama looks like a monkey. Comparing Bush to a monkey is just as asinine, but you’ve got to remember that America has a very ethnically hostile past toward blacks that still hasn’t totally dissipated. Insults of certain types can be levied toward whites that won’t hurt as much, as if similar such insults are levied at blacks, hispanics, asians, etc., due to the past of occasionally violent repression in this country and the nation’s power structure. Rush Limbaugh was very professional, and very astute, and very fast, in getting an apology up and out, along with a rebuke of the caller (who may, or may not, have actually put any thought into what she was saying). Anybody (i.e.: Media Matters) that accuses Rush of wrongdoing in this should be excoriated as a liar most blatant.

Virus-X on March 4, 2008 at 10:45 PM

He’s never watched The Simpsons? Wasn’t he on The Simpsons?

Ortzinator on March 5, 2008 at 12:04 AM

A quick examination of the two images using “the Gimp” (Linux’s version of Photoshop) reveals three things:
a) The “original” image has an oversaturated red channel — color sampling the white collar reveals this. The “blackified” image has a normalized red channel — the collar has identical RGB components.
b) In the “blackified” image, the intensity map has been normalized to maximize grey scale visibility to humans. In addition, the darkest and lightest pixels have been “chopped” out, and the midrange stretched over the entire intensity range. It looks like the lightest and darkest 5% of the pixels were removed from the “original” to make the “blackified”
c) In the “blackified” image, the median and average intensity is at about 95/255, while in the “original” image, these intensities are at about 120/255. In other words, the image has has brightness reduced by about (120-95)/120, or about 20%.

You combine all these things, which look like really good things to do when cleaning video, and you get the rather ghastly results we see here.

It also seems that sharpening has been done (either that, or the “original” picture didn’t come off of an HD TV.

This stuff all looks like mistakes a tyro videographer would do if they didn’t know about the differences in color response between a computer LCD screen and an NTSC television signal. I know when I was making marching band videos I always had to view the result on a CRT TV with the controls set neutral before declaring a rendering as gold.

unclesmrgol on March 5, 2008 at 12:09 AM

Much ado about the “light and dark Obama”. It’s not that complicated.

In under 5 minutes, I made this: http://screencast.com/t/uDifxMIPN

Darkening the light one and lightening the dark one, by the simple adjustment of saturation and lightness in an antique copy of Photoshop.

Yes. I know it’s video, but any junk consumer program will have the same adjustments, and, for that matter, an analog TBC has the exact same adjustments. You don’t even need a computer to do this tweak.

Was it done deliberately? I don’t know.

But it was done, simply, and probably in a matter of seconds.

heldmyw on March 5, 2008 at 4:35 AM

How dark does the left want their chocolate or is it chocolatee’ to provide a sense of class, of Semisweet to make the message easier to swallow.

MSGTAS on March 5, 2008 at 9:28 AM

He’s never watched The Simpsons? Wasn’t he on The Simpsons?

He was on Family Guy

Erockk on March 5, 2008 at 9:34 AM

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