Photographer Busts NBC for Deceptive 'Airbrushing' of Photos of Lia Thomas

AP Photo/Josh Reynolds

Unfortunately, we see media pitching all kinds of false narratives, and spinning or distorting reality to fit the narratives that they want to push. So, Americans have to look at everything that’s pushed out there with an eye toward that.


During the NCAA competition last week, a lot of stories were written about Lia Thomas. Some noted how unfair it was having Thomas, who is transgender, compete against biological females.

But while watching NBC’s coverage of the events that Thomas was competing in, some sharp-eyed viewers began to notice that the network appeared to be softening or airbrushing the images of Thomas.

You can see the softened pic in their coverage here on video from NBC’s The Today Show.

But now, one of the credentialed photographers covering the event, Erica Denhoff, who has covered a lot of the meets, is saying she was shocked to see that her work had been apparently been altered by NBC.

After watching the segment multiple times, she came to the conclusion that the apparent softening of transgender swimmer Lia Thomas’s features in her pictures was “intentional,” telling the Washington Examiner, “It’s really important as photojournalists that we transmit authentic photos that have not been altered.”

“When I first noticed the airbrushing on the segment referenced, I thought something was honestly wrong with the video. But then, I watched it again and thought, ‘Wait a minute, this appears to be intentional. Lia’s features are softened,'” the photojournalist told the Washington Examiner.

“I then went to my original photo, on the sites that they could access to license the photo, and compared it and immediately saw a difference.”


Referring to the March 17 segment we cited, Denhoff said, “To me, it definitely seems like something was going on with the airbrushing/noise reduction of all of Lia’s photos in this segment.”

Denhoff continued, “My photo that they licensed was an authentic photo. I’m surprised and disappointed that Today altered my image of Lia for this particular news segment.”

The Washington Examiner asked NBC for an explanation but they didn’t respond.

But, is there any question as to why they did it, and that it shows they have an agenda that is other than the truth? Good on the photographer for being honest and pushing for the authenticity of her work. What is NBC’s explanation for this? They obviously hoped they could just slide it right by everyone, without having to respond. But, they got caught.



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