Lib Photographer Admits Making McCain Look Sinister for Mag Cover

UPDATE at end of post: Atlantic editor responds.

Media watchers are well-aware that it's not only words that can be used to spread propaganda, but oftentimes it's the pictures involved in the articles.

For months, people around the country have been noticing the always flattering photos of Barack Obama, and, by contrast, pictures that make John McCain either look older than what he is, or sickly...or even worse.

On Friday, the photography website PDNPulse published a virtual exposé about a professional photographer that admitted taking an intentionally diabolical looking picture of McCain that she hoped would be on the cover of October's Atlantic magazine (emphasis added throughout, photo courtesy The Atlantic, h/t NB reader Drew Hallowell):

When The Atlantic called Jill Greenberg, a committed Democrat, to shoot a portrait of John McCain for its October cover, she rubbed her hands with glee.

She delivered the image the magazine asked for—a shot that makes the Republican presidential nominee look heroic. Greenberg is well known for her highly retouched images of bears and crying babies. But she didn’t bother to do much retouching on her McCain images. “I left his eyes red and his skin looking bad,” she says.

However, that's not the picture Greenberg hoped the Atlantic would use:

After getting that shot, Greenberg asked McCain to “please come over here” for one more set-up before the 15-minute shoot was over. There, she had a beauty dish with a modeling light set up. “That’s what he thought he was being lit by,” Greenberg says. “But that wasn’t firing.”

What was firing was a strobe positioned below him, which cast the horror movie shadows across his face and on the wall right behind him. “He had no idea he was being lit from below,” Greenberg says. And his handlers didn’t seem to notice it either. “I guess they’re not very sophisticated,” she adds.

Here's the picture she wanted The Atlantic to use (courtesy PDNPulse):

Fortunately, they didn't. However, Greenberg, given her known political leanings, thinks it was wrong for The Atlantic to use her for this assignment:

I am a pretty hard core Democrat. Some of my artwork has been pretty anti-Bush, so maybe it was somewhat irresponsible for them [The Atlantic] to hire me.

Just how irresponsible? Well, if you go to Greenberg's website, which she calls "The Manipulator," and continue to hit your refresh icon, you'll see some truly disturbing pictures of McCain, along with some truly disturbing captions.

These include one that says, "I Called My Wife A C*** In Front Of Reporters," and another that was discussed in the PDNPulse piece:

[S]he goes on to explain that she’s thought about replacing McCain’s mouth with bloody shark teeth and displaying the image on a billboard with the message that the candidate is a bloodthirsty war monger.

Keep on hitting refresh at the front page of her website, and that picture will appear.

And this is the woman The Atlantic hired to take a picture of McCain for the cover of its October issue.

Isn't that special?

*****Update: NBer CyberNorris has found a website that has Greenberg's disgraceful McCain pictures.

*****Update II: The Senior Vice President of the public relations firm that represents The Atlantic sent me the following e-mail message Sunday (with permission):

Following up on your post about Jill Greenberg’s photos of John McCain, I wanted to share the following statement from James Bennet, editor of The Atlantic:

“We stand by the respectful image of John McCain that we used on our cover, and we expect to be judged by it. We were not aware of the manipulated and dishonest images Jill Greenberg had taken until this past Friday.

When we contract with photographers for portraits, we don't vet them for their politics--instead, we assess their professional track records.  Based on the portraits she had done of politicians like Arnold Schwarzenegger and her work for publications like Time, Wired, and Portfolio, we expected Jill Greenberg, like the other photographers we work with, to behave professionally.

Jill Greenberg has obviously not done that. She has, in fact, disgraced herself, and we are appalled by the manipulated images she has created for her Web site of John McCain."

*****Update III: NBer CyberNorris, who warned us about a really disgusting picture at Greenberg's website, has now found it and added it here. Readers are warned to proceed with caution. This final picture is REALLY vile. 

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.