While most internet commentary regarding Vets For a Strong America’s anti-Obama ad has focused on how the commercial criticises the president for excessively playing the hero regarding Osama bin Laden’s death, Mother Jones is zeroing in on a different controversial tactic.”I haven’t seen anybody point out the truly most egregious part of the video: the obvious attempt to make Obama look like a criminal thug by darkening his image,” Kevin Drum writes, pointing to two images that are identical except for the tone of Obama’s skin.
(Interestingly, the ad featured the headline “Obama Spikes The Bin Laden Football” that recently accompanied one of Drum’s articles on Mother Jones).
So did the Vets intentionally darken Obama’s skin, and why isn’t anyone talking about it?
Darkening the skin of public figures in negative coverage has been a hot button issue in the past. During the 2008 election, Hillary Clinton’s campaign was accused of darkening Obama’s skin in an ad. Think Progress also accused a Maryland state senator of darkening the tone of his opponent’s skin in an attack ad in 2010. And of course there’s the famous incident in which Time Magazine intentionally altered O.J. Simpson’s arrest photo to make him appear darker on the magazine’s cover.
According to a study conducted by Eugene Caruso from the University of Chicago, there is a politics of perceiving skin tones. Caruso showed 221 students three pictures of the same politician (sometimes real like Obama and other times a model) with three different skin tones and asked them to pick a photo that best represented him. If the test subject agreed with the politician’s views, they were likely to pick the light skinned photo. If they disagreed with his stance, they were most likely to select the darker image.
Watch the ad below:
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.