BP Caught Photoshopping Its Press Images

BP has misled us before. Now they've been caught Photoshopping photos that they're providing to the public as veridical documents. Last night, Americablog noticed that the photo below (full version here), provided on BP's website, contained some pretty amateurish Photoshopping.

In this detail you can see that someone did a sloppy cut-and-paste job around the head of the fellow in the middle. Americablog points out a few other obvious Photoshop flaws that surround three particular screens at that command center.

Once the story broke (it was picked up by Rachel Maddow's blog and then The Washington Post) BP took down the altered picture and Scott Dean, a spokesman for the company, explained it thusly: "In this case [our post-production team] copied and pasted three ROV screen images in the original photo over three screens that were not running video feeds at the time." They then released this "unretouched" version.

BP is claiming that this was a harmless aesthetic decision to get rid of those ugly blank screens, though Americablog isn't convinced. And, in fact, since BP spoke to The Washignton Post, an Americablog reader found another case of BP Photoshopping screens in a press image.

I don't think there's anything particularly dangerous about these specific instances of Photoshopping. They probably were aesthetic decisions. But they do demonstrate that some parts of the BP organization are pretty stupid—and don't care much about unmediated truth.

Postscript: Boing Boing has a humorous "real" unretouched version.