Pelosi’s office releases doctored photo of female lawmakers

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office sent a photo of female lawmakers to press Thursday to commemorate a huge moment for the Democratic Party: The first time its House of Representatives caucus didn’t have a majority of white men.

Unfortunately, four members were late to the photo shoot.

“Please note this version has the four Members who were late photo-shopped in,” Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill wrote in an email to news outlets Thursday evening. In a subsequent email to Poynter, Hammill confirmed that the four latecomers were placed in the rear of the group.

Here’s the Associated Press version of the photo:

Photo by Cliff Owen/Associated Press

And here’s the photo Pelosi’s office released:

Photo courtesy Nancy Pelosi’s office

The additional lawmakers were photoshopped into the back row:

New York Times reporter Ashley Parker wrote an account of the composite photo:

As latecomers wandered up, the women called for the photographer to wait, pointing out the stragglers.

“Here comes Rosa! Here comes Rosa!” they cheered, referring to Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, who came jogging up from the left side.

They urged Representative Gwen Moore of Wisconsin to hurry, as she made her way down the steps and to the group. “I’m coming!” she said, to laughter.

But Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida emerged from the House moments too late, just as the group was dispersing. However, all was not lost; the photographer took some shots of the late arrivals, and the caucus plans to Photoshop them in.

DeLauro made the AP photo (as well as the Getty Images shot the Times ran in Parker’s blog post).

In 2011, the White House ended the longstanding practice of staging photos after Poynter and other outlets reported that photos of President Barack Obama announcing the death of Osama bin Laden were re-created for still photographers after his initial statement to the press.

A Google image search turned up only two news outlets using the doctored photo: Salem (N.H.) Patch and Exeter (N.H.) Patch.

Update: Pelosi defends photo as “accurate historical record” while journalists uncover additional manipulations to the image

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  • Kimm Ryland

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  • Cheche Nwagbo

    she said 3 out of 4. what is the 3 out of 4 you nonentity.

  • Cheche Nwagbo

    To answer your question “those” people can’t.

  • Cheche Nwagbo

    innocent statement? are you on crack?? “can’t those people be on time for anything” sounds innocent?

  • John McClelland

    Those who see more of the all-too-prevalent partisan spite in this, and in reactions to it, are missing the main point. Regardless of who did it or how, a photo doctored to add significant content (or to hide or otherwise meaningfully change such content) is unacceptable as news material.

    Pelosi’s people apparently tried to be honest with disclosure info in the caption, but that’s not good enough for conscientious journalism. Too often, as in the pre-2012 White House restaging of presidential speeches, caption disclaimers get lost between agency and final publication.

    AP, Reuters and others allow for traditional photo polishing such as cropping, color correction and dodging for legibility, NOT inserting content. We teach this in college and the agencies enforce it as policy, but advertisers, politicians, artistes and other truth-benders go ahead….

    As with the North Korean doctoring of a Kim funeral parade photo last year, a comparison photo from another angle, even nearby, and at a slightly different time will naturally not match on some other details. We should neither leap to conclusions about what that might imply, nor close our eyes to the possibility of other doctoring.

    There are readily available within PhotoShop and common practices several ways to add the absent, in readily recognizable insets for example, without compromising the integrity of the main image. Indeed, for historical purposes a more inclusive composite might have worked. Fat chance, eh?

    Meanwhile, let us be glad that AP and some other media had their own photogs there.

  • Brawndo2

    Who wants to see this picture with or without four more witches? I’d rather see Team Hooters.

  • Carl Wesley Clark

    Just sitting there on the edge of your seat dying to convert what you can into hate speech, but when the NBPP is on the air calling me ‘pink people’ and all the rest, that’s groovy with you, correct?

  • DanL60

    Democrats even photoshop blacks to the back of the bus…

  • ssenecal5000

    To the mooroons asking why this is a story………It’s a story because the stupid Democrats photoshopped people into a photo. Hello, who does this? Do you?
    If Debbie didn’t make the photo then just post it without her and the others. and post the other photos of the them.

  • ssenecal5000

    If it’s not a story then why did you comment over and over on it?
    What a ‘tard!

  • BeJebus


  • Jim Wolfson

    Wow, Rosa DeLauro is such a hag. Must be her evil, babykilling democRat soul showing through.

  • lex will

    Even when they are trying to tell the truth, they’re lying

  • Dave Provost

    I cannot believe you think we are so stupid to believe that the pictures are the same, except the added 4 women… These were not taken at the same time.. the position of the camera is different as well peoples positions and clothing are different,..

  • lainer51

    the first picture was tolerable, but why ruin the second by adding DWS??? UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • lainer51

    no problem – Barry counted 57 states in one speech and 50 in the other.

  • lainer51

    OMG – STHU

  • souphands

    Nancy Pelosi is not a photojournalist, and this is not a story. You just look petty right now.

  • TrollPolice

    This is what happens when u open up the comments section Poynter

  • PodcastSteve

    It’s a story because it’s a violation of photojournalism ethics to manipulate an image so that it does not reflect reality. There is supposed to be a bond of trust between news organizations and the audience that what the news service is showing you is true and accurate and you can rely on it. They did not get there for the photo, they should not be in the photo through digital magic. It’s that simple. And photoshopping powerlines or rogue birds out of a photo you sold to most publications would get you fired for violating their standards for photography. Fine for your personal photos, but absolutely wrong for editorial photos.

  • PodcastSteve

    You’re right, Andy, they changed the suit (and it looks like the woman too) from blue suit to black one. Weird.

  • Don Smith

    Ok….you’re wrong. Stand corrected. You are so afraid of racial comments you can find one in almost every innocent statement. I knew immediately what she meant and did not assign any racial prejudice to it. Olease stop trying to force everyone into your extremely narrow thought process.

  • Jimmy Gay

    Dear Mr. Andrew Beaujon, why is this an issue? We have House Leadership allowing funding for Sandy victims legislation die, we have Victims of Violence legislation die in the House and countless other things to deal with, such as how to prevent more massacres in schools from happening. And a photoshopped photo which only has a purpose of pointing out the number of women in the House is the most important story you want to cover? Really would it be any more of a problem if they just simply used portrait photos of each member side by side in columns like a high school yearbook or your own staff page. I doubt very much that every single photo of your staff was taken on the same day one after another. What is the big deal? Is your organization so superficial? Really I would like you to explain it to me. Sincerely, I want you to explain the problem that makes you even think this is so important a subject that is above all the other concerns in the world today.

  • Andy Cardinal

    Seems to me there are more than four women who were “photo shopped” into the “official” photo. Look at the lady on the far left hand side with the blue blazor and black skirt; and the lady on the far right hand side, bottom row, in the sky blue suit. They were added and deleted respectively in the “photo shopped” picture.


    It appears reporters are too lazy to count or even take a close look. The lady in front in white has her arm in totally different positions which means this is two photos. A quick look over the faces I can count at least eleven extra in the second also.

    I as a blogger would be castrated by readers if I made such mistakes. I have seen this same story reported over and over again with no one trying to even look before they repeat it. There might be story here in that some people were moved to less prominent positions (example the black lady in blue to the far right (obervers viewpoint)) but comparing two seperate photos and yelling photoshop before even taking a close look is not journalism. (there might be some of that going on, but the photos shown are not before and after pictures as inferred)

  • Prospero2

    If some of the women (liberal or conservative) had been photoshopped because they were topless, that would be a news story. This is less than nothing–other than an occasion to elicit a bunch of foolish political rants from the comment section–or an excuse for Mr. Beaujon to pretend to be working.

    Come on, Poynter, print news not sub-trivia.

  • Jobetta Hedelman

    According to WSJ, the version of the photo Pelosi altered was taken by EPA. It’s very, very clear that she did not use the AP photo. People are standing in different places relative to each other and to different parts of the staircase.

  • jeg

    I’m confused, I count 57 in one picture and 49 in the other

  • Megan Leigh Russell Dame

    Yeah, but I’m still with you. Why is this a news story?

  • Megan Leigh Russell Dame

    I’m sorry. Why is this a story? Things happen. People are late sometimes. I was expecting it to be something about photoshopping someone out or something. As a photographer and avid photoshop user, I photoshop powerlines or a rogue bird out of my photos all the time. Heck, when my son was 3 months old I photoshopped my husband’s arm out of our Christmas card picture because he had to prop our baby up because he wasn’t sitting up by himself yet. Ooooh, somebody better call the news outlets! They will definitely want to EXPOSE my trickery to the world! And before the accusations start flying, I am a white, female Republican. I just found this story stupid and frivolous.

  • Megan Leigh Russell Dame

    I’m sorry as well, Ms. Palmer but that is coming off as an EXTREMELY RACIST comment. Please correct me if I am wrong by clarifying your intent. I’m a white Republican voter and I find your comment shameful and offensive.

  • Guest

    “Those people” who we all elected to make our laws and run our country. It’s pretty obvious who she’s talking about. JEEZ!

  • Cw Hensley

    Nice to see all the ugly liberals in one photo! Just can’t figure out why the GOP women seem to be hotter and much prettier.

  • GenerallyRight

    Figured it out. Actually two different photos. The second one just shows that the other women were not present. I am slow.

  • GenerallyRight

    What am I missing? There are numerous other differences between the two photos. It is not the same photo only photoshopped. Look at the front row. Look at how people are standing, how they hold their arms, where there heads are turned. They are not the same photo at all, and nobody would go to the trouble to photoshop an arm from being by one’s side to holding it across one’s abdomen and then do the opposite for somebody else. It is insignificant.

    Am I missing something?

  • David Stewart

    That AP photo is of the same photo-shoot, but is clearly not the basis for the second image (as there are a lot of differences in positioning).

  • Obamatopia

    Why would they separate the women from the men for this picture? That is so sexist. I thought it doesn’t matter what your gender is. Oh, that’s right, these are democrats…hypocrites and bigots at heart.

  • Tanekwa Bournes

    I’m Sorry but what do you mean by “those people”?

  • Allison Palmer

    Three out of four. Can’t those people be on time for anything, or is that asking too much?

  • The_Raider

    Nancy and her gander of witches to screw up America even more.

  • The_Raider

    Here are the American Libtards to the rescue to F-up this country even more.

  • George Hesselberg

    So would it be such a difficult task to name the four who were photo-shopped in to the photo?

  • Pete Parks

    Just makes it easier to not believe anything a Democrat does.

  • pocketmouse

    All liberal women in one spot? I am shocked a house did not fall on them.