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MnForward’s ad: A slender-Emmer update

Hadn’t planned on writing about MnForward’s “skinny Emmer” ad again, since it ain’t the Zapruder film. But after the Star Tribune’s Rachel Stassen-Berger blogged it, Brian McClung, who directs the big-business effort to elect Emmer, wanted to make sure his denial of any chicanery got on the MinnPost record.

Says McClung, “MnForward did not request that the photograph of Tom Emmer be squeezed in any way, and the ad production firm told me that they did not doctor or slenderize the photo. They explained that potentially, the differences between viewing it as a computer file on YouTube, it might look different than it actually does on television.”

OK, that’s certainly possible. I told McClung I’d wait until I saw the ad on my TV to fully vet that thesis. So yesterday, for the first time in my life, I recorded “Oprah.”

What follows is the TV image (top) compared to the web image below. Click to make it bigger.

I still see skinny Emmer.

Production notes: the TV image was photographed from my 34-inch HD-aspect ratio TV (one of the last HD tubes ever made, which explains the reflection). I did my best not to distort the image, cropped to eliminate any black, and didn’t change the aspect ratio in re-sizing the widths to match up. Still, we’re talking about two not-exactly-pro screen grabs, so make of it what you will.

Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 07/21/2010 - 08:17 am.

    As pointed out elsewhere:

    (#10) On July 20, 2010, Author Editor Bill Gleason says:

    Come on, folks. It has obviously been photoshopped. Look at the shoulder extension on one side and compare it to the original…

    According to McClung (in the Strib):

    McClung said the group didn’t ask the ad production firm to change the photo and the ad production firm “didn’t squeeze or change the photo in any way.”

    The first part of this statement MIGHT be true – the ad company may have done this on their own initiative, but the second part is (obviously) not true.

    I actually took the original, made a Windows Movie maker movie, uploaded it to YouTube, played it there and did a screen dump. Also did a screen dump on the Emmer ad on YouTube. Result =

    If you want to see the YouTube test video, itself:

    Is this the slim or the non-slim Emmer?

    This is an example of what happens when you DON’T actually do any manipulation…


  2. Submitted by John N. Finn on 07/21/2010 - 09:06 am.

    Hanlon’s razor adage might apply here: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

    I wouldn’t use the harsh terms malice and stupidity in this case. Rather, the advent of HD televisions with different ways to adjust for the various mixtures of picture aspect ratios that are now in play has resulted in most people being unable to detect whether a photo is distorted or not.

    For instance, I attended a film festival where digital projectors were mainly used. Some of the presentations were badly distorted, but the audience didn’t seem to mind. And when I mentioned it to one of the organizers, it was news to her.

  3. Submitted by John Edwards on 07/21/2010 - 12:05 pm.

    The answer is relatively simple.

    I asked 6 people in the office (unaware of any controversy) the difference between the two photos, other than the obvious lighting difference. Not one mentioned they thought Emmer appeared thinner.

    It is an easy test for anyone to conduct.

    If the production people wanted Emmer to appear minutely thinner (for whatever reason), they failed. When pressed for an opinion, one of the six thought Emmer had more hair in the top photo. Personally, I think his nose appears more crooked in the bottom one.

  4. Submitted by Hal Sanders on 07/21/2010 - 04:34 pm.

    “No story here folks; keep moving along.”

  5. Submitted by B Maginnis on 07/21/2010 - 08:36 pm.

    Oh, there’s a “story”, all right, if you are quivering in fear with the realization that Emmer is going to walk away with this in November.

    Which, rather succinctly, sums up our man Brau’s position.

  6. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 07/22/2010 - 09:53 am.

    Walk away?

    According to the latest Rasmussen Poll released first to FOX 9, Mark Dayton would beat Republican Tom Emmer 40 to 36 percent, with the Independence Party candidate Tom Horner netting 10 percent.

    Margaret Anderson-Kelliher scored 40 percent to Emmer’s 35, with Horner at 11 percent and Matt Entenza leads Emmer 37 to 36 percent, with Horner at 12 percent.

    You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts?

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