On July 1, Cincinnati Enquirer columnist Peter Bronson wrote a column titled, “Minnesota — the joke is on you,” in which he wondered whether Al Franken will “embarrass his party and become a kick-me sign on the back of Democrats at election time.” To make his point, he posted this image:
A little googling would have shown Bronson that the image is fake. As ThinkProgress first reported in 2006, the Ohio Republican Party photoshopped an AP image:
Bronson’s original post has since disappeared. Although the Cincinnati Beacon — and then some of Bronson’s own commenters — pointed out that the image wasn’t real, Bronson didn’t seem to care. Yesterday, Bronson went into his comments section and was unapologetic in using the fake image:
Yes, the photo of Franken in a diaper was apparently altered. But it’s not exacly [sic] a big reach to believe it could have come from one of his SNL skits. It resonates because people find it easy to see Franken that way.
Bronson finally posted a “non-apology” yesterday afternoon, writing, “Franken did many things on Saturday Night Live that could be embarrassing to a Senator. But apparently, that was not one of them. It turns out the picture was photoshopped.” He also claimed that he doesn’t “knowingly run false pictures,” and instead posted a different “goofy” picture of Franken.
No word yet on why Bronson’s original post was deleted. (His post from yesterday notes that the link no longer works but he’s “not sure why.”) Ironically, as the MinnPost points out, Bronson’s column is called, “Bronson is Always Right.”
The NRSC has a new ad out today trying to make Franken look crazy and angry. As Dave Weigel notes, the footage is distorted. Franken was actually telling a touching anecdote about the late senator Paul Wellstone. To justify the ad, the NRSC pointed to the diaper photo and said, “We’ll certainly consider substituting it for this one if they would prefer though.” When journalists pointed out that the photo was doctored, the NRSC simply replied, “You’ll note the link is to the Los Angeles Times, one of the largest newspapers in the country – if there’s a question about the authenticity of the photo, you should direct your question to the LA Times.”