Looking closely at the photography, he saw an odd pattern in the thick, black clouds of smoke rising from the bombed area. He recognized the effect, a bit of Adobe Photoshop magic called cloning.
To clone, you simply click on part of a picture, then paste an exact copy of that part somewhere else on the photo. Thorson recognized the effect because he’d used it. Sometimes he’d worked on catalog photographs of the tools his company distributes. Sometimes, on close inspection, he would find on the photograph a speck of dust, a piece of dirt, a hair or some other imperfection. By cloning, he could replace the imperfection with a clean image.
The photo on the Yahoo site was different, though. It was supposed to be journalism.
The moral of the story: individuals can make a difference and hold the big media accountable.