NBC confirmed to iMediaEthics by phone that it didn’t use Photoshop. Leno, Fallon, the motorcycle and the sidecar were all real and present for the photoshoot. But, NBC did use “a fake background and a fake road” for the image.
The New York Post, The Village Voice and The Hollywood Reporter were among the outlets that ran the photo, Smith and Shearer report. The Daily News altered the image further, plopping a big pile of cash in Fallon’s lap. The digital version of the Daily News’ cover carries a small credit acknowledging the money’s addition, but Smith and Shearer say they couldn’t find one on a print copy.
Smith and Shearer say NBC asked outlets not to change the photo. They asked the Daily News about that:
A person iMediaEthics isn’t naming to protect their job laughed, and commented: “Their manipulated photo shouldn’t be manipulated? That’s funny.”