I’ve been posting hundreds of photographs online every month for nearly four years now, and this is the first image I’ve posted that has verifiably been manipulated. Photo manipulation of this kind is unacceptable under my, and The Atlantic’s, guidelines and principles. I try my best to publish only what I believe to be honest representations of people and events. But in some cases, as here, the alteration can go unnoticed for years — until enough eyes come into play (the fantastic magnifying effect of the Internet) and unseen details start to emerge.
Many thanks to Donna Meiss, Ken Oye, Ernie Smith, and everyone else who caught this issue and brought it to our attention. The photo will remain in place in the original photo story here, with a prominent link back to this article, explaining the whole story.
Taylor talked to AP, who said it was an unacceptable attempt to clear up some lens flare on the photo. Check over here to see our role in this saga. And thanks to Squashed, who pointed out the manipulation in the first place.