The Conservative Political Action Conference is an annual event that is a massive gathering of conservative activists throughout the U.S. It is also a must attend for any Republican Presidential candidate. Naturally, any event of this size comes with controversy; this year, there was quite a bit of fighting between CPAC organizers and the Log-Cabin Republicans, a group of gay Republicans who sought to speak at CPAC but were rebuffed (only to be invited to participate in a panel).
However, CPAC stepped on it again with their mobile website. As first noticed by Washington Post Reporter Ben Terris:
As you can see from above, the biography of Dr. Ben Carson has the picture of Senator Tim Scott (R-SC). Senator Scott is one of only two African-Americans currently serving in the U.S. Senate, and Dr. Carson is also African-American. Given the struggles that conservatives and Republicans have had at gaining African-American support, the mistake is particularly embarrassing.
I tend to be sympathetic to folks for making honest mistakes, but this is a really bad and careless one. Frankly, the two men do not look anything alike:
Dr. Carson is on the top, and Senator Scott is on bottom.
All of this being said, the real winner of this accident might be Senator Scott, who had this very funny tweet:
This was probably nothing more than a careless error, but an insensitive one at that, and it reiterates that you should always proof any internet or social media work, and have someone else do the same, if possible.
At least the error was corrected quickly; Terris’ tweet first appeared at 8:30am on Wednesday, and as TPM reported, it was fixed thirty minutes later. However, here’s where things get interesting: CPAC says that Terris’ tweet was a photoshop:
The link goes to a cached version of the page from 2/24, the day before Terris’ tweet, which shows the Carson page and the correct picture. Terris himself denies the charge:
CPAC had better hope that this was a photoshop, because if it wasn’t, they took a minor embarrassment and made it bigger by trying to cover it up or throwing around a false accusation.
The cached page certainly shows that, at least as of the day before, the right photo was on the right page…but this is a cached image that shows the page at a single moment in time. It does not rule out that the picture was changed later, then captured by Terris. Someone needs to provide evidence that Terris’ image was a photoshop for that to be the case.