This page is an entry in the Key.

digital manipulation

The term “digital manipulation” is commonly used by the general public as a synonym for “doctoring photographs.”

But that is not accurate.

Yes, “digital manipulation” is by far the easiest way to doctor photographs, and “digital manipulation” is why the public trusts photographs so much less than was the case just 20 or 30 years ago.)

But almost every trusted news photograph put before the wider public digitally undergoes some of TCQ’s Allowable Changes. Few of those news photographs would be considered “doctored” under any common definition of the term.

So “digital manipulation” can be used in the making of both “doctored” and “undoctored” photographs — but “digital manipulation” is never a synonym for “doctoring photographs.”

See also darkroom vs. digital.