Doctored Bikini Photo: 10; Reliable Source: 0

While the jury’s still out on whether McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate will prove, in the long run, politically beneficial to the GOP ticket, there’s been one clear winner following the announcement of his choice: Photoshop.

Indeed, in the week since McCain revealed his pick, a cottage industry—Photoshopping Palin’s famously bespectacled face onto all manner of bodies that aren’t, in fact hers—has arisen. And the most famous product of this industry has been Palin’s, er, Gun Shot: the pic of a bikini-clad vice presidential nominee toting a big gun, a big smile, and very little else.

The photo is, of course, doctored. So obviously so as to make the articles proclaiming its fakeness seem slightly redundant.

And yet. Some in the media, apparently, missed the “um, it’s fake” memo. Take Lola Ogunnaike, CNN’s entertainment reporter and the former NYT culture reporter, on yesterday’s Reliable Sources:

I mean, McCain has been really good about painting Obama as this lightweight, using the word “celebrity” as a pejorative. They don’t want to have a boomerang effect. They don’t want that to come back on Sarah Palin, and people say, yes, she looks good in a bikini clutching an AK-47, but is she equipped to run the country?

As Gawker’s Ryan Tate notes, “Kurtz never corrected Ogunnaike, on either the fake picture or on the even more absurd suggestion that some critical mass of people think the VP candidate looked good in it.”

Perhaps our Reliable Sources should look into gun control of a different sort.

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.