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Did Fox News darken Barack Obama?

Barack Obama in an image from Fox News (above) and his own website.
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During one of my regular surfing expeditions through the Internet, I came upon the photo of Barack Obama above, which appeared on a Fox News election page ranking the net's list of the top eleven conventions in U.S. history from 1832 to the present. The first thing that struck me was how, well, dark his rather light skin tone looked -- particularly compared to a typical shot from Obama's own website, seen beneath it here. I wondered: Is Fox News purposefully darkening Obama photos, or choosing ones that exaggerate his blackness?

A quick glance through the Fox News site garnered mixed results. An August 16 piece offered evidence of support by juxtaposing an Associated Press snap of Obama in semi-shadow with one of John McCain glowing in stage lights that further emphasized his paler skin tone. But another item from the same day shows Obama looking much lighter toned in appearance.

As a result, it's impossible to say with certainty whether Fox News' occasional use of darker Obama photos has been coincidental or not. Still, the operation has already reported on claims of a similar bit of touching-up. A March 4 post looked into assertions that Hillary Clinton's campaign darkened Obama's appearance in an advertisement, using side by side shots to make the point.

The issue, then, is like Barack Obama himself -- neither black nor white, but somewhere in between. -- Michael Roberts

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