Take a glance at those two photos above of Texas Democratic Senate candidate MJ Hegar. While they're quite similar, discerning eyes might detect slight differences between them.
For instance, in the photo on the left, she looks like a 44-year-old veteran awarded a Purple Heart after a National Guard medivac helicopter she was co-piloting in Afghanistan was shot down by Taliban fighters, because that's what she is in addition to being the woman trying to unseat Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn in November.
On the right, she looks as though she didn't survive the attack and came home looking to nosh on human brains.
She looks like she's just had her first plug of chewing tobacco and no one told her she should spit.
She looks like what one feels the morning after uttering, "Whaffuck, I mizewell f'nish off the whole fifth." Or so we've heard.
In short, she looks like what happens when those zany cutups at the National Republican Senatorial Committee discover what photo editing software can do for political operatives who are willing to lie.
The zombie image popped up in the NRSC's Twitter feed in mid-July, (see below) but we weren't aware of it until Monday morning when Hegar tweeted a response to it.
Here's Hegar's response:
I don't doubt that 2020 has given me a few gray hairs, but c’mon. This doctored image from Cornyn’s DC cronies made me do a double take!— MJ Hegar (@mjhegar) August 10, 2020
Politicians resort to tricks when they can’t win on their message. Let's send a message that we’re tired of the lies: https://t.co/8mp6ON2xGT pic.twitter.com/XRR2MCnUXm
In our and her defense for being so far behind on our Twitter reading, two points: 1. Life is too short even for Senate candidates and newspaper people to follow NRSC's tweets and 2. Same goes for the rest of Twitter.
The Observer reached out to the NRSC's media office, via Twitter naturally because no one answered the phone, but didn't hear back before deadline. We did get an emailed reply to questions we put to Hegar's campaign.
“It really says a lot about our opponent that his allies have absolutely nothing better to do than play with photo filters," Jake Lewis, the campaign's deputy communications director, wrote. "I suppose they've learned there's nothing they can do to improve his [Cornyn's] failed record addressing this prolonged pandemic. They're resorting to cheap tricks like this, because they are scared of MJ and her growing momentum. Guess we know what to expect more of in the future.”
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We prefer Hegar's use of the word "lie" to the more euphemistic "cheap tricks," because that's what a doctored photo promulgated as undoctored is — a lie. It's not a trick. No one rang her doorbell and ran away. Besides, some of us are old and nostalgic for the days when lying was wrong. No really, that was a thing. People still lied like big dogs, of course, but some felt embarrassed if they were caught. There were even consequences for lying. You could get a reputation for being a liar, which was bad enough, but you could go to jail for lying if you were talking to the FBI.
You say you can't? We understand.
Some miss those days from 30 years ago, but we don't expect them to come again. It's a social media world now, so we truly do know what to expect more of in the future: lies.