David Cameron: supermodel

Was the giant poster of the Tory leader airbrushed?

I'm sorry to bring up The Poster again, I really am, but bear with me (click here to see it in all its glory). The first thing that struck me when I saw it was not the pointedly presidential tone of the personal pronoun in "I'll cut the deficit", not the echoes of Margaret Thatcher in "We can't go on like this", not even the sheer size of it. I was utterly distracted by something else: David Cameron appears to be wearing foundation -- lots of it.

But it turns out I underestimated things. Today's Daily Mail gives us this nugget:

Tories denied suggestions that the photograph -- which will feature on hundreds of 15ft-wide posters as part of a £500,000 nationwide advertising campaign -- had undergone major airbrushing to enhance Mr Cameron's appearance.

But an official conceded there may have been minor touching up.

The accusations are flying thick and fast -- were his cheekbones enhanced? His colour changed? Some excess pounds shaved off? Sunder Katwala casts doubt on whether that bouncy black hair is au naturel, while Sam Coates calls for the original photo to be released in the interests of transparency, though he quotes a spokeswoman as saying: "I can confirm that nothing fiddled around with cheekbones, Adam's apple or slimming him down." (I love it -- so hard-hitting. I bet that wasn't what she thought working in politics would involve.)

But don't worry, Dave, you're not alone -- other politicians have been busted succumbing to the tempation of airbrushing, too.

Tony Blair appeared to have undergone the magic Photoshop treatment (or found the formula for eternal youth -- anything is possible) when he appeared on the cover of Men's Vogue in 2007 (picked up, again, by the airbrushing vigilantes at the Daily Mail):

blairMS1108_468x630 

And spot the difference here -- a photo of Nicolas Sarkozy sans love handles was printed in a magazine, coincidentally owned by one of his friends.

news-graphics-2007-_643745a

I must point out, though, that neither of these photos was actually used for election material. So I'll add my voice to the calls for the real photo. Come on, Dave, show us your Adam's apple!

 

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Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

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Quiz: Can you identify fake news?

The furore around "fake" news shows no sign of abating. Can you spot what's real and what's not?

Hillary Clinton has spoken out today to warn about the fake news epidemic sweeping the world. Clinton went as far as to say that "lives are at risk" from fake news, the day after Pope Francis compared reading fake news to eating poop. (Side note: with real news like that, who needs the fake stuff?)

The sweeping distrust in fake news has caused some confusion, however, as many are unsure about how to actually tell the reals and the fakes apart. Short from seeing whether the logo will scratch off and asking the man from the market where he got it from, how can you really identify fake news? Take our test to see whether you have all the answers.

 

 

In all seriousness, many claim that identifying fake news is a simple matter of checking the source and disbelieving anything "too good to be true". Unfortunately, however, fake news outlets post real stories too, and real news outlets often slip up and publish the fakes. Use fact-checking websites like Snopes to really get to the bottom of a story, and always do a quick Google before you share anything. 

Amelia Tait is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman.