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Time Manipulates Photograph

Time Manipulates Photograph

The Washington Post

Time magazine has gone reality one better.

This week's cover features a grim mug shot of O.J. Simpson -- looking darker and more sinister than in the same picture on the cover of Newsweek. That's because the Los Angeles police photo was electronically manipulated to create what Time, in small type on the contents page, calls a "photo illustration.''

"It's certainly not meant to mislead anyone,'' Time spokeswoman Nancy Kearney said Tuesday. "To classify it as intentionally misleading, sinister or racist is irresponsible, and insulting to the magazine and the artist.''

Time's rivals deplored the practice. "We as a matter of policy do not manipulate news photos,'' said Merrill McLoughlin, co-editor of U.S. News & World Report. "Had Time alone done it, the public probably would have believed that's exactly what the picture was, and that's what's so scary about electronic manipulation. I did think it was a darker, more sinister approach.''

Richard Smith, Newsweek's editor in chief, said: "We don't mess around with news pictures. I'm just very surprised. The power of the real picture was certainly enough for us.'' He said Time "didn't change it enough to make it clear it was an illustration.''

Time's cover on the double murder charges against Simpson ("An American Tragedy'') makes him appear to have darker stubble on his face, and the size of police identification numbers at the bottom were reduced.