I'm going to take a break from Birtherism to address a widely-circulated photo of Obama smoking. Normally I don't deal with random Obama rumors, but considering that I believed this one for over a year myself, I feel it's worth sharing with others.
Chances are, if you're reading this blog, you've seen this image of President Obama at some point in the past couple of years:
I never scrutinized the photo, and given that Obama is known to smoke, I didn't give much thought to its authenticity. But as it turns out, it is just a Photoshopped fake.
Unlike Polarik and his ilk, I'm not going to establish this forgery though extensive amateur-hour pseudo-document analysis. I'm just going to show you this:
That's an original image from the Illinois News Bureau on August 5, 2004. With a little cropping, flipping, and pasting, the fake image was created. Notice that in the smoking photo, the button on Obama's shirt collar is on the wrong side. And now the Photoshopped image is plastered all over the web, with almost no one acknowledging that it's a total fake.
The Museum of Hoaxes also addressed this photo some time back. And the image above is from AngryWhiteboy.com, where it was posted in February 2007, the earliest usage I've found.