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New Fall Hat - Image of President Obama Wearing an Acorn Hat and Smoking

Circulating image supposedly shows US President Obama wearing a hat shaped like an acorn cap while smoking a cigarette.

Brief Analysis
The image is the result of digital manipulation. The cigarette, and later, the acorn hat have been digitally added to an original photograph of Obama. The altered image is intended as a political joke or comment and has been posted to many humour, satire and political websites.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.

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Last updated: 7th December 2010
First published: 7th December 2010
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer

Subject: FW: New Fall Hat


Obama with Acorn Hat

Acorn cap with the nut still attached

Detailed Analysis
This photograph, which circulates via email and has also been posted to numerous blogs, forums and social networking sites, supposedly depicts US President Barack Obama wearing a strange hat shaped like the cap of an acorn while smoking a cigarette. The message containing the picture, often sporting the title "New Fall Hat" includes the caption "Acorn cap with the nut still attached" as an explanation of the image. Many people have contacted me to ask if the image is genuine.

However, the image is not a genuine photograph. In fact, it is the result of the digital manipulation of the following original photograph:

Source Photograph of Obama

Image Credit: Kwame Ross

The above photograph was taken when then Illinois State Senator Barack Obama made a visit to the University of Illinois in August 2004. At some point, this original image was cropped and the cigarette was added as shown in the following manipulated version:

Obama with smoke added

The same image was again altered so that Obama appeared to be facing the other way:

Obama with smoke added reversed

Many versions of the above "Obama smoking" image have subsequently circulated. Satirical website even featured a version of the image in which Obama appears to be smoking several cigarettes at once. Yet other versions of the image change the appearance of the cigarette to make it look like Obama is smoking marijuana. And an entry on the blog, Washed It includes an uncropped version of the "Obama smoking" image.

And then, finally, some prankster took the above altered image and placed a funny acorn hat on the hapless President's head:

Obama with Acorn Hat

Thus, as suggested by the punch line (acorn cap with the nut still attached) the final version of the manipulated image is probably intended either as a joke, or a less than subtle political comment, hence its inclusion on many humour, satirical and politically orientated websites.

It should be noted that President Obama has publicly acknowledged his difficulty in quitting smoking and at a June 2009 press conference, admitted that he still had the occasional cigarette. However, the above image does not depict one of the President's occasional lapses.

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Last updated: 7th December 2010
First published: 7th December 2010
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer