Caught: TIME Magazine warps Steve Jobs photo to make him appear thinner

In an article (“Why Is Steve Jobs Skipping MacWorld?”) by Josh Quittner posted late yesterday, TIME Magazine has manipulated an accompanying photo of Apple CEO Steve Jobs to make him appear thinner.

Jobs’ suffered a rare form of survivable pancreatic cancer (islet cell) and had successful surgery. According to reports, in July 2004, Jobs underwent a pancreaticoduodenectomy (or “Whipple procedure”) that successfully removed the tumor. Also according to reports, Jobs did not require nor did he receive chemotherapy or radiation therapy. As of 2008, there was reportedly no evidence of identifiable cancer four years after surgery.

In early August 2006, Jobs delivered the keynote for Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference and his thinness became a cause of concern for some – mainly those who did not see him in person that day and judged only from still photos or, perhaps, who stood to benefit from manipulating AAPL’s share price lower.

Two years later, similar concerns followed Jobs’ 2008 WWDC keynote address. An Apple spokesperson stated that Jobs had a “common bug” and that he was taking antibiotics. Some people need to look up “Whipple procedure” and/or discover something called “ethics” when deciding to manipulate stocks, much less use someone’s health to do so.

On August 28, 2008, Bloomberg mistakenly published a 2500-word obituary for Steve Jobs.

Suffice to say: Jobs health, especially his “thin” (the shorts prefer “gaunt”) appearance is a lingering issue that can affect Apple’s share prices.

Which brings us to TIME Magazine, a publication with a track record for manipulating photos and attempting to pass it off as fact (see: TIME Magazine’s altered O.J. Simpson mugshot).

In a photo credited to Justin Sullivan/Getty Images, TIME Magazine, despite the history of Jobs health and “thinness,” or perhaps because of it, has altered a photo of Steve Jobs resulting in making him look thinner.

Here’s how TIME Magazine’s online website appears currently:

Here is the original photo from Getty by Justin Sullivan:

The original photo has had its size vertically increased via code in TIME’s website. TIME’s code specifies a width of 307 pixels and a height of 200 pixels, but in order to maintain the proper aspect ratio – in other words present the photo of Jobs as he actually looked at the time it was taken – the dimensions should be 307×175 pixels.

Here are the two photos side-by-side:

TIME’s full article, in which Quittner captions TIME’s altered-photo-falsely-presented-as-fact with prose like this:

• “Jobs has battled pancreatic cancer and has been looking exceptionally thin since the summer.”

• “Steve Dowling, an Apple spokesman, deflected any questions about Jobs’ health. When asked if Jobs canceled because of illness, Dowling said, “Phil is giving the keynote because this is Apple’s last year in the show, and it doesn’t make sense for us to make a major investment in a trade show we will no longer be attending.” Asked again about Jobs’ health, Dowling gave a similar answer, never using the word Jobs or anything related to his condition.”

• “It’s difficult to find a company of Apple’s caliber whose fortunes are so closely tied to the health of its CEO. Apple is Jobs and Jobs is Apple. Unless he makes a public appearance, it’s likely that the news will continue to hammer Apple’s stock, which took a beating Monday after analysts downgraded it.”

• “…Why wait until the last minute and raise the obvious questions about Jobs’s health? The faithful are praying that Tuesday’s announcement is exactly what Apple says it is, and not at all what it looks like.”

MacDailyNews Take: It certainly is “not at all what it looks like.” Despicable. TIME Magazine should be ashamed (if that’s even possible for them anymore). TIME should immediately pull that photo of Steve Jobs and replace it with an actual, unaltered photo. In addition, TIME Magazine should publicly apologize to Apple Inc., Steve Jobs — and Apple shareholders, for that matter.

Please contact TIME Magazine and demand that they “fix” this photo and stop manipulating images and trying to pass them off as reality:

[UPDATE: 9:59am ET: Well, that didn’t take long. Good job everyone! TIME Magazine has now fixed their photo.]

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Bill” for the heads up.]

65 Comments

  1. Berrylium … hush up, now. My family is busy buying in at the low “distressed value” price. Don’t muck up the works. Just because “they” are manipulating the market does not mean “we” can’t take advantage of their efforts, too.
    Wee Man … yes, “thin” means “sick”. That is, if you check the relative health for the four categories in the (in my opinion, silly) BMI scale you will see that “overweight” people are the healthiest and “underweight” people are the least healthy. “Normal” is second and “obese” third. So, now you know. And so should your doctor.

  2. @R2

    DO IT! Unless and until we demand honest reporting from Time, the NYT, Newsweek, etc., they will continue to feed us from the trough of their biases and prejudices.

    Vote with your feet and your pocketbook, R2! DO IT! (My family and I canceled our subscriptions to these pulp rags long, long ago. Best thing we ever did.)

  3. Didn’t Time alter the photo of OJ Simpson to make him look more menacing than he already is? You’d think Time would have learned to pay more attention after that fiasco. Of course that is assuming that this was an innocent aspect-ratio mistake. It is pathetic that crap like this slips by the editors at these “professional” organizations. Its almost as bad as reading typos on a news channel ticker.

  4. a good web designer will get the image size right in the first place and omit the size parameters from the image tag like so: path/to/image.png to scale an image in code is just lazy and makes the browser have to do extra work.

  5. media has no shame. it is either for profit or bias they twist news they way they do. if it bleeds, it leads. build them up, then destroy them. nothing like factual, unbiassed news in america.

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