Green Party used Photoshop to add reusable cup and metal straw to photo of Elizabeth May
by Maura Forrest & Stuart Thomson
Such fakery in the middle of an election raises issues of how such misinformation is used, say experts on the ‘fake news’ phenomenon
In an era of “fake news” controversies, photoshopping a reuseable metal straw and a reuseable cup into the hand of Green Party Leader Elizabeth May would not be the greatest idea.
But that’s what the Green Party did and then prominently displayed it on the party website.
Such fakery in the middle of an election raises issues of how such misinformation is used, say experts in the “fake news” phenomenon.
“It would probably be good practice for official political parties to avoid photoshopping images,” said Britt Paris, a researcher for the Data & Society Research Institute who focuses on visual propaganda and disinformation. “But it’s almost a moot point when photoshopping can be performed by anyone and that manipulated image can then be shared or retweeted by an official political party, an operative… or even just a celebrity.”
The Green Party admitting using Photoshop to add a reuseable cup and metal straw in the photo.
It would probably be good practice for official political parties to avoid photoshopping images
Spokeswoman Rosie Emery told the Post that May had been holding a reusable cup in the original photo, but that Photoshop was used to add in a different cup that displayed the Green Party logo. She was unable to provide the Post with a copy of the original photo.
A version of the original, unedited photo has been used by media outlets, including iPolitics. It is cropped in such a way that it doesn’t show the cup May was holding, but it does show there was no metal straw in the original photo. Emery said she doesn’t know why the straw was added, but she doesn’t think it was to make a statement about May’s environmental values.
“She is a person … who walks her talk in every way. She really does. That’s one of the things I admire about her,” Emery said.
The Green Party’s environmental platform, released last spring, doesn’t explicitly mention plastics. But the party’s Vision Green policy does say that Canada must ban single-use plastic items. In June, the Liberal government announced a plan to move toward a ban on some single-use plastics, such as straws, bags and cutlery, by 2021.
Emery said May was not involved in the decision to alter the image, which appears on the homepage of the party’s website. “All I know is that the original was photoshopped to put in a cup that had the Green Party logo,” she said.
Asked if the party has altered other images, Emery said, “I think photos are often touched up to make colour nicer and design nicer, but I’m not aware that anybody’s photoshopping for particular statements or anything like that.”
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