Kerry Fonda 2004 election photo controversy
During the 2004 presidential election campaign an image was released that appeared to show John Kerry and Jane Fonda speaking together at an anti-Vietnam war protest. The image turned out to be a politically motivated forgery. The image was photoshopped by a member of FreeRepublic.com and released there and at the member's home site to tarnish Kerry's war record by associating him with Fonda, a vilified anti-war protester.
Cut and paste 
The image is actually a composite of two different images one of Kerry taken on June 13, 1971 at an anti-war rally in Mineola, N.Y. and another of Jane Fonda taken in August, 1972 speaking at a Miami Beach, Fla. rally. The images were combined and then further altered to appear as if the combined image was from an old newspaper clipping. A caption was also added stating, "Actress And Anti-War Activist Jane Fonda Speaks to a crowd of Vietnam Veterans as Activist and Former Vietnam Vet John Kerry (LEFT) listens and prepares to speak next concerning the war in Vietnam (AP Photo) " even though Fonda was not present when Kerry gave his speech.
The most influential media outlet to be taken in was The New York Times, which cited the image in a Sheryl Gay Stolberg story datelined Feb. 12. The Times acknowledged the image as a forgery on Feb. 14. That photo drew prominent play on the site of www.vietnamveteransagainstjohnkerry.com, run by Kinston, N.C., businessman Ted Sampley. Another prominent site, NewsMax.com, touted the photo, as did countless partisan weblogs. Right wing anti-Kerry supporters claim that the original Kerry image is the fake and that the combined image is the real image even though the copyright owner of the Kerry image, Ken Light, has the original negatives. Ken Light, when asked on what the lesson to be learned from the story was quoted as saying:
|“||The lesson is to take lots of photographs, be conscious that if things don't seem at that moment important, they may be important. Store your film and keep it organized. And be vigilant about how your work is used. This is the challenge in the new digital age. I hope at some point, some smart computer scientist will come up with a solution. Some sort of encryption in the digital file that can't be passed on.||”|
— Ken Light 
The only known authentic photograph in which Kerry and Fonda appear together is this one taken by Leif Skoogfors at a rally at Valley Forge, PA in 1970. Fonda sits close to the camera, while some 10 meters away sits an out of focus John Kerry. The photograph was stolen from Skoogfors' image distributor and posted on the Free Republic website. It was then circulated to hundreds of other anti-Kerry sites. On the Free Republic, on one of multiple postings, a Viet Cong flag was added next to Kerry, http://theodoresworld.net/pages/extreme.htm
In 2005 the copyright owner of the Kerry image, Ken Light, managed to track down the creator of the image, Richard Taylor, and sued him in New York Federal District Court for copyright infringement. Light sought damages of $200,000 plus legal fees. (Franken, the Fonda photographer, is not involved in the lawsuit.) Before the case went to trial Judge William H. Pauley III threw the lawsuit out stating that since Light lives in California and Taylor in Michigan, the case is outside the court's jurisdiction. The case is under appeal.
- "Famous Pictures Magazine - Altered Images". Famous Pictures Magazine. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
- "John Kerry". snopes. 1 March 2004. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
- Marinucci, Carla (February 20, 2004). "Doctored Kerry photo brings anger, threat of suit". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
- Berkeley Daily Planet - Tuesday February 17, 2004
- LUBNA TAKRURI (2004-04-28). "Light Exposes Fabricated Photo". theguardsman. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
- Daryl Lang (February 16, 2007). "Lawsuit Over Fake Kerry-Fonda Photo Hits Setback". pub. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
- The original Kerry image taken on June 13, 1971 at an anti-war rally in Mineola, N.Y.
- The original Jane Fonda image taken in August, 1972 speaking at a Miami Beach, Fla. rally
- Real image of Kerry and Fonda together at an anti-war rally taken at a September 1970 anti-war rally in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania