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.]


  1. Whether or not the photo was intentionally manipulated (that was a pretty amateurish way to do it BTW), the article is certainly making that assertion. I think it’s disgusting the way the media treats people regarding their health. I’m not much of a Patrick Swayze fan, but the way the media has acted over his illness is appalling. They’re essentially vultures, waiting and hoping for the worst. Swayze really is fighting to live, so I can’t imagine how he and his family feel reading that he has only days to live every couple weeks. SJ says he’s cancer-free, so there’s no reason to doubt him. He’s always been weird about his diet (remember, this is the guy who went on an all fruit diet in his twenties!), so that, and the possibility that he’s undergone the Whipple could very well explain it.

  2. comment on thinness and pancreatic functions. chowing down a platter of cheeseburgers will not put pounds on steveness. unless you have a similar problem, he does not digest food like you, his pancreatic function is compromised. that means is digestive process is not like yours. think of it as an ALI diet without having to take the pills. next time you are in line waiting for your prescription, read the back of the ALI package about brings a change of clothes to work with you until you get the routine down. maybe that’s the main reason steveness is skipping the last keynote. if he laughs too hard, he may sheet his pants. i’m sorry, couldn’t help it. this is not funny stuff and i’m sure it is not funny to steve, but the way people talk about this without much basis makes you wonder what they use the internet for?

  3. I hope you all go and read the full article. It is obviously written with the intent to put the worst spin possible on the very mundane decision by a company not to attend a tradeshow (tradeshows are perhaps the most inefficient use of marketing/advertising dollars).

    From the article:
    “Jobs has battled pancreatic cancer and has been looking exceptionally thin since the summer. Rumors that he’d be skipping the event had circulated for days. Still, the announcement itself was about as shocking as hearing that Barack Obama would be skipping the Inauguration and sending Joe Biden in his stead.”

    A CEO not attending a tradeshow, even Steve Jobs at MacWorld, is not all that shocking at all. What is “shocking” is the hyperbole employed by Time.

    “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.”

    And you can be sure that Time will be generating the news that “hammers” Apple stock.

    “Apple fans had been hoping that Jobs would unveil a “netbook” at the upcoming Macworld, to be held the first week of January.”

    Oh really? My experience with Apple fans doesn’t bear this out. This is more projection than fact.

    “The faithful are praying that Tuesday’s announcement is exactly what Apple says it is, and not at all what it looks like.”

    Oh, doesn’t that sound ominous? You can just picture the hand wringing. Ironically, that’s one of the rare admissions by Time that some people are faithful and pray. The insincerity is palpable.

  4. I saw somewhere that Phil has a cold… or possibly much worse than that. It was reported that he recently sneezed three times, vs the two sneezes that most healthy people experience. Based on this, there is speculation that some unknown virus (the biological kind) is spreading inside the Apple campus, with Jobs the first to become afflicted.

    Goldman Sachs immediately issued a SELL recommendation on all holdings of Apple stock, but has been reported buying up massive volumes of APPL at the same time. SEC chairman stated “people buy and sell stock when their CEOs get sick. Happens all the time.”

  5. Clearly this was a coding mistake. You guys are as guilty of creating an issue where there isn’t one as some in the media are over Jobs health.

    You had me going till I actually looked at the picture. It’s a picture of his head, folks, not his body. People who are starving to death do not have appreciably thinner (distorted) heads, and that’s because the dimensions of the head, particularly the cranium, are derive from bone structure. Bone does not atrophy like muscle and fat.

    The photo looks unnatural. Anyone looking at it could see the conspicuous distortion. It’s hardly a case of them subtly adding shadows, or whatever — then you may have had something. But this? Come on.

  6. Along with politicians and lawyers, the media is virtually last in public opinion polls on ‘who do you trust the most.’

    I believe that every published photo and video should be date/time-stamped and if altered be designated as such.

    It is insane that we can’t read or view a ‘news’ cast without the assurance that the accompanying image is real, unaltered and current.

    Even CNN and the likes, keep re-showing video news clips with “Live” printed in the top left corner. Of course you don’t know if it was “live” an hour, a day or a decade ago.

    At least, when you buy a book or magazine, you can find the publishing date. However, most of the time, the photo date is not included.

    Date/Time-Stamping should be a law for all published ‘news’ materials whether in print, video or via the internet.

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