How Slate Edited History

Science, technology, and life.
June 3 2010 9:31 AM

How Slate Edited History

In 1984 , George Orwell told the story of Winston Smith, an employee in the propaganda office of a totalitarian regime. Smith's job at the fictional Ministry of Truth was to destroy photographs and alter documents, remaking the past to fit the needs of the present. But 1984 came and went, along with Soviet communism. In the age of the Internet, nobody could tamper with the past that way. Could they?

Yes, we can. In fact, two weeks ago, Slate did. We altered four images from recent political history, took a fifth out of context, and mixed them with three unadulterated scenes. We wanted to test the power of photographic editing to warp people's memories.

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To read the results of our experiment, click here .

Will Saletan writes about politics, science, technology, and other stuff for Slate. He’s the author of Bearing Right.