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Cincinnati columnist spanked for using fake Franken 'baby' photo

Cincinnati Enquirer columnist Peter Bronson's joke at Al Franken's expense wound up making the columnist look more ridiculous than the senator.

Last week, Bronson, who seems like a pretty conservative fellow, mocked Franken with the following zinger:

Is this who you want making decisions about your health care?

Haw haw. Except.

The photo is a fake — as documented by Bronson's own paper three years ago. (Think Progress shows how the Ohio GOP did it.)

The fact-challenged curmudgeon didn't respond to the blog Cincinnati Beacon, which complained that a major newspaper using doctored photos (and self-debunked ones at that) wasn't precisely professional. After the tempest hit the national media site Romenesko, the Enquirer apparently pulled the blog post, and Bronson belatedly delivered a non-apology, offering a not-nearly-as-ludicrous poster of Stuart Smalley.

By the way, the title of the columnist's blog? "Bronson is always right."

If Franken continues to be this lucky in his enemies, he has little to worry about.

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Comments (8)

We'll be seeing this photo forever going forward. Partisans who don't like Mr. Franken will put it out there every time he hits the news, regardless of it's fraudulent manufacture. Facts don't seem to restrain people from asserting what they wish to believe about people they don't much like.

The most amusing aspect is that no one, not even a fully fledged Democrat, thought the photo wasn't legitimate.

Not because it is so well done, though it is, but because it fits the Franken everyone knows so very naturally.

True, which is too bad because it's a fairly obvious fake; something just doesn't look quite right. There must be genuine images of the Senator-elect that would just as effectively reinforce those with a bias against him, without being lies.

So, as the photoshop-savvy generation matures, can we hope they will be better at spotting and ignoring the fakes? Will the fakes get better?

Or will they be so inured to it all that no image will have any credibility?

I can't believe they put Al Franken's head on Rick Santorum's body. That's just sick and disgusting.

I always thought this one was best anyway, and real.

Thanks, Richard Schulze. You made me snort coffee on my screen.

I guess this serves as confirmation of the reports we read about people who take The Colbert Report at face value, not realizing it is a parody with sensibilities like their own as its object?

What, one wonders, does this poster thinks is "real" about a photo of Al Franken playing the satirical character, Stuart Smalley on SNL? Is this just a further example of a sensibility unable to apprehend that this, too, is parody, that Franken was playing a character of his own invention that sends up certain excessive aspects of the self-help movement?

And most confounding of all: Why would a person parade this pitiable obliviousness on a web site? Too odd.

Mr. Bronson yesterday announced his layoff, and his blog on has already been placed into "archived" status.