Update 9:30 a.m. May 9: Yonhap has amended a correction to their photo and changed the caption, which caused the photoshop uproar. Yonhap explains:
A Yonhap story slugged "Park-NK provocation," released on May 8 (Seoul time), carried an erroneous caption for an attached photo. The caption should have read, "This composite file photo shows South Korean President Park Geun-hye (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama."
The original caption (below) had stated that the composite picture (also below) was actually a picture of President Park and Obama "shaking hands" on May 7.
Original: On Tuesday, President Obama met with President Park Geun-hye of South Korea at the White House, which the Yonhap News agency and every pretty much every news outlet on Earth reported. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Yonhap — South Korea's worldwide leader in news, more or less the AP of the region — got access to any of the many photos taken at the White House meeting, or at the White House press conference, or anything from Park's visit to Washington. So, you know, why not fake a handshake between two of the most important leaders on the planet? Here's the full, terrible Photoshopped art accompanying Yonhap's main news story about Obama and Park talking about South Korea's terrible neighbors (and fellow news image cut-and-pasters) to the North:
The photo combination sort of looks like that Hidden Pictures game from Highlights for Kids, where you're supposed to find everything that's wrong with an image. And we tried, but ... c'mon:
The photo of Park at left appears to be from a photo-op during her Monday meeting at the United Nations with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon — this picture, to be exact. And while photos from the U.N. grab-and-grin session were readily available on photo news wire services as of Monday afternoon...
...it appears the South Korea's top news agency wanted to illustrate its new leader's most important diplomatic mission of her young term with some fakery. To be fair, some South Korean papers on deadline went split-screen as well (only one major paper actually had a front-page photo from the White House summit), but wouldn't it have been so hard to go with an actual photo of Park and Obama shaking hands on Tuesday? There were a lot of handshakes:
And it's not like Yonhap was peddling misinformation or making up a story, as the meeting of the two leaders to celebrate 60 years of an international relationship really did happen. After all, it's not like Yonhap Photoshopped a platoon of cool-looking hovercrafts storming beaches like their North Korean counterparts did in March. Indeed, Pyongyang's state-run media has a history of so-bad-it's-cool Photoshop skills, so maybe the American friends to the south have some catching up to do in this particular race to the bottom.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.