White House on BP’s Photoshopped Photos: “On the Stupidity Part of the Transparency Scale”

ABC News' Mark Isaacson reports:

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs ridiculed BP today for photoshopping PR photos saying the fake photos fall “on the stupidity part of the transparency scale.”

The three controversial photos --two of which included cut-and-paste doctoring--had been posted on BP's Gulf of Mexico response homepage. In one, blank screens in a control room had been edited to appear to display underwater footage. And in another, a shot from inside a stationary helicopter was manipulated to make it appear to be in the air. The editor erased a platform and retouched the water color to a strikingly deep blue.

“I think it's genuinely on the stupidity part of the transparency scale,” Gibbs said this afternoon at the White House daily briefing. “I mean, if you want to show a picture of what the room looks like, just take a picture.”

Responding to the controversy, BP posted a statement on its Facebook page this morning, along with the original and altered photos “for the sake of transparency.”

BP cast the blame entirely on a hired photographer and claimed to have no part in the decision to alter the photos. “One of BP's contract photographers used Photoshop to edit images posted on the bp.com Gulf of Mexico Response web site,” the company said, adding, “[W]e've instructed the photographer who created the images to refrain from cutting-and-pasting in the future and to adhere to standard photo journalistic best practices.”

This is yet another hit for the tarnished image of the oil giant, whose mistakes have been so numerous that Gibbs quipped this afternoon, “we could write an entire encyclopedia” of them.

- Mark Isaacson

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