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Public editor: The PM and the floating hockey stick explained

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is seen with Conservative staffers, left to right, Dimitri Soudas, Mike Beaton and Ray Novak following an impromptu ball-hockey game on the tarmac prior to boarding his campaign plane in Kitchener Ont., on April 9, 2011.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Try this little test. Look at the photo above of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and some of his staff standing by a plane holding hockey sticks. Is Mr. Harper actually holding a hockey stick too? Why does it appear to be floating behind his hand?

Would you think that it is a bit odd or would you leap instantly to the conclusion that the picture was Photoshopped to make it look as though the PM was holding a hockey stick?

And – stay with me here – if you truly believed that the photo was altered by The Globe and Mail, what would the reason be for doing so?

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Yes, this really happened. A complaint arrived from a reader who called the above photo (published last May) "jacked up" and said this: "I can't believe the G&M would publish Photoshopped pics from the PMO as if they were real. You should take it down and it would be nice if G&M issued an apology."

Again, I'm not sure whom an apology might be delivered to or why, but let's deal with the substance.

The photo is very clearly marked as from The Canadian Press, not the Prime Minister's Office. The Globe and Mail, CP and reputable news organizations do not Photoshop news photographs. Ever.

If you look more closely at this photo, you will see some fuzziness beside Mr. Harper's head. There is a person holding the hockey stick standing behind him. But I'm sure you figured that out.

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About the Author
Public Editor

Sylvia Stead has been a reporter and editor at the Globe since 1975, after graduating from the University of Western Ontario in Journalism with a minor in Political Science. She won the Board of Governors Award there in 1974. As a reporter, Sylvia covered courts, education and Queen's Park. More

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