News Roundup for 7/10/09

Variety of camera lenses
Not the same as your eyes

-Headline of the day-
"Fox, Drudge still getting off on debunked 'tail to the chief' story."

First, the photo:

Headlines below explain it

I'm sorry, but that is pretty funny. But it ain't what it looks like. According to the report, "a video revealed that [President Obama] was too busy helping another woman walk down the stairs to notice."

Still, that hasn't stopped Drudge from running seven separate headlines using the photo:

Indiscreto di Obama...
Oh là là US President delegate's bum...
16-year old from Rio catches Obama's eye... MORE...
A matter of international interest...
Has Barack been taking lessons from Berlusconi?
FORGIVE ME FATHER... Obama, pope hold first meeting...

FOX ran it with a banner reading "TAIL TO THE CHIEF: Obama, Sarkozy Peek at Girl's Backside."

You know what this reminds me of? Video of John McCain "checking out" Sarah Palin's ass during a speech. That didn't happen either.

Let me get all serious here a second and school you guys on lenses. We all know what a fisheye lens looks like -- everything's all bulbous and weird looking. This is because the lens has such a short focal length (at least, that's part of it). This exaggerates distances between objects. A long focal length -- like a telephoto lens, which photojournalists favor -- does the opposite. It makes things look closer together than they actually are. Check out baseball on TV sometime; the pitcher's on the mound, some 60 feet away from the plate, but if the camera's behind him, it looks like about two steps. The longer the lens, the more this spatial distortion. With a telephoto lens, the only way to accurately tell where the subject is actually looking is if they're looking straight into the lens -- in any other direction, the perspective's all wrong and the angles are inaccurate.

Now Drudge you can excuse -- even if he did milk the living hell out of his mistaken impression. He's a mental invalid and you've gotta cut those guys a little slack. But FOX News you can't. They've got actual, professional camera people working for them. Any one of them could've set them straight -- if they'd bothered to ask. Who knows, maybe they did ask and didn't like the answer.

After all, it is a funny photo. While spoil it with physics and optics and truth and stuff? FOX doesn't play that way. (Raw Story)

-The secret news-
According to the report, "CIA Director Leon Panetta has ordered an internal inquiry into the agency's handling of a contentious and still highly classified intelligence program that has caused a heated dispute between the CIA and Democrats on the House intelligence committee. The move by Panetta appears to be an implicit acknowledgment by the agency that it should have disclosed information about the post-9/11 secret program to Congress much earlier than it did."

What is this program? That's the problem; no one's saying. Congress critters have said that they were stunned by the revelation, which showed that the agency had "concealed significant actions" and "misled" members of congress. So I guess it's a pretty big deal, but it's just a big deal that's none of your business.

So basically, we've got a program we don't know about that did stuff they weren't honest about while doing who-the-hell knows what? Still, it's got to be pretty damned freaky, since Republican Rep. Marc Thornberry has said he'd support an official probe into the Bush-era program. When it's so bad it freaks out Republicans, then you've got something big.

We just don't know what right now. So if you're wondering why this isn't getting more coverage, I'll answer your question with a question; coverage of what? Just know there's a big story in everyone's "big story that's not done cooking yet" folder.

Maybe if we had a congress critter willing to leak something... (hint, hint)... (Newsweek)

-Think we're done with Sarah Palin now?-
Ha! Fool... A report came out last night that shows that Sarah Palin's going to remain big news. At least, as long as Democrats have anything to do with it. The first sentence of an article in The Hill tells the whole story; "Republicans facing tough elections in 2010 don't want Sarah Palin campaigning with them."

Turns out that Sarah's real popular with the nuts, but everyone else thinks she's crazier than a bag of snakes. One unnamed GOPer says that if Palin campaigned for him, his opponent would "probably be doing a dance of joy."

Hell, they're doing a dance of joy just at the concept. "We hope that she will be part of the future debate on the direction of the country," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).

I'll just bet you do. (The Hill)

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