Category: Politics

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Found online, September 2002.
Bush Reads Book Upside-Down
In the original version of this photo, President Bush's book was not upside-down.
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July 1992
White Hot Mama
Ann Richards, governor of Texas, appeared on the cover of Texas Monthly in a "Bad Girl" pose astride a white-and-chrome Harley-Davidson. But Richards hadn't posed for the photo because she was unable to schedule time for a photoshoot. Texas Monthly created the shot by combining a stock photo of her head with a picture of a model. Richards later said that she loved the photo.
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The Tydings Affair
As payback for a political slight, the staff of Sen. Joseph McCarthy created a photo that appeared to show Sen. Millard Tydings (right) chatting with the head of the American Communist Party (left) — although in reality the two men had not met. They released the photo shortly before a 1950 senate race in which Tydings was running, and it is believed to have contributed to Tydings' defeat in that election.
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ca. 1940
The Commissar Vanishes
The original version of this photo showed Nikolai Yezhov, the People's Commissar for Internal Affairs, walking beside Stalin (to his left) along the Moscow-Volga Canal. But after Yezhov fell out of political favor, Soviet censors deleted him from the photo. This photo has now become one of the most famous examples of how totalitarian regimes doctor images in their attempts to rewrite history.
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May 1936
The Perambulating Skull
Arthur Rothstein took this photo while documenting drought conditions in South Dakota for the Resettlement Administration. But Republican papers noticed that the same skull appeared in other photos by Rothstein and accused him of using it as a "movable prop" to dramatize the drought for political purposes. They mockingly referred to the cow's head as the "perambulating skull."
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Late 1933
Baby Adolf
In 1933, a picture supposedly showing Adolf Hitler as a baby began circulating throughout England and America. The child in the picture looked positively menacing. However, the child wasn't really the infant führer. In 1938 a Mrs. Harriet Downs of Ohio happened to see the picture in a magazine and immediately recognized it as her son. Someone had darkened the shadows around the child's face to give him a more sinister look.
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April 1, 1933
Wisconsin’s Capitol Collapses
An April Fool's Day image of the Wisconsin state capitol collapsing due to an excess of gas generated by verbose debate.
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Bloody Sunday, 1905
Soviet textbooks claimed this was a photo of 1905's Bloody Sunday massacre in St. Petersburg. It was actually a reenactment of that event.
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Taken in 1919; altered ca. 1967
Trotsky Vanishes
Leon Trotsky is not in this picture, but he was in the original version of it — standing beside Lenin. The photo was taken on Nov. 7, 1919. It showed Soviet party leaders celebrating the second anniversary of the October Revolution in Red Square. But after Trotsky fell out of political favor, Soviet censors attempted to purge all evidence of his existence, which included removing him from photos such as this one.
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Roosevelt Rides A Moose
Roosevelt ran for President in 1912 as the candidate of the Progressive Party, popularly known as the "Bull Moose Party." This image of Roosevelt appearing to ride a moose ran in the New York Tribune several months before the election. It was intended as a humorous photo fake depicting the "Race for the White House." In the 21st Century this image has circulated widely online, where many people have mistaken it for a photo of a real-life scene, which it is not.
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late 1860s
The Martyr Lincoln
Following the assassination of Lincoln, the Army didn't allow any pictures to be taken of him in his casket. Therefore, con artists stepped in to fill the demand. This image was one of many that circulated purporting to show the dead President, but it's fake. It shows a man lying down, probably only pretending to be dead. But that man is not Lincoln.
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Late 1860s
Lincoln’s Portrait
This standing portrait of Lincoln was created soon after the American Civil War. It hung in many classrooms, but Lincoln never posed for it. An unknown entrepreneur created it by cutting-and-pasting a headshot of Lincoln onto a portrait of the Southern leader John Calhoun. This was done because there were hardly any appropriate "heroic-style" portraits of Lincoln made during his life.
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May 1865
Petticoat Politics
A Northern photographer created this image of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in a dress.
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