“to which Mr Purnell kindly consented..”

The UK’s Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, James Purnell, is in trouble after a publicity photograph for the Tameside and Glossop Hospitals NHS Trust was altered to insert his image into a photo-opportunity that he didn’t attend – he was due to be there but arrived late. It’s worth studying the coverage though, because there are still contradictory statements about what went on. Purnell is quoted in the BBC report as saying, “I didn’t think a faked photo would be produced and indeed I didn’t see this photo before it went out and if I had done it wouldn’t have agreed to it.” But the same report quotes the NHS Trust, “we decided to take a photograph of Mr Purnell in the same spot very shortly after, and merge it with the earlier photograph, to which Mr Purnell kindly consented.” and the Financial Times report quotes a spokesman for Mr Purnell, “He knew they were going to merge those two photographs together but he thought it was for internal NHS use only”. And the Guardian quotes his spokeswoman, “There was no explicit conversation about merging the photos with some kind of Photoshop”. Maybe not explicit.. [Makes you wonder about other recent images.. – Ed] Adds Iain Dale has other, erm, examples..