Obama makes people disappear

President Obama, alone in the gulf
Does it matter that The Economist photo above was altered?

The photo was "Photodoctored" to eliminate the people standing next to the president.

This does make a nice cover, with Obama alone at the beach, possibly lost in thought, with oil rigs in the background

A deputy editor at The Economist said this was done...
"...not to make a political point, but because the presence of an unknown woman would have been puzzling to readers... I wanted readers to focus on Mr Obama, not because I wanted to make him look isolated. That wasn't the point of the story."
The article appears in the British magazine The Economist. The story that the photo illustrates is critical of Obama's supposed anti-business actions regarding British Petroleum and the Gulf oil spill.

So, was the photo-cropping deceptive, or not?

Here's President Obama not alone, at the beach, maybe listening to a woman standing next to him, in the original photo

If they couldn't get the photo they wanted, why didn't they use an illustration?

If they didn't use an illustration, did they use a photo because photos are "real?"

Could they have explained that their cover photo was altered, but run the original photo inside? (They didn't do that.)

If we believe that they were just altering the photo for the sake of good design, what else should be altered for the sake of good design? What if Obama was wearing a hat that obscured his face? Should news sources be allowed to airbrush out the hat and insert his face?

Is this a slippery slope, or is this just the reality of today's photographed news?

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