Covering the athletic pursuits of Lia Thomas became a politically supercharged issue. Whether it be from the left or the right – both sides of the aisle care deeply about the issue.
But this latest backlash has very little to do with Thomas and swimming. NBC News has been supportive of Thomas in her journey however the new network’s coverage of the event drew ire of fellow supporters when it was uncovered NBC News photoshopped Thomas substantially.
During a ‘Today’ segment last week, the celebrated network displayed filtered images of Thomas during a swimming event. The images were altered allegedly to give Thomas a ‘feminine glow’ whatever that is.
Lia Thomas, a swimmer from the University of Pennsylvania, will compete to become the first Division 1 openly transgender athlete to be crowned a national champion. @ReporterBlayne reports. pic.twitter.com/LahSBHZj4w
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) March 17, 2022
You can see Thomas has been digitally smoothened out in the segment and is barely human looking.
This obvious contrast has led to accusations that NBC News is trying to manipulate its viewers amid the controversy surrounding Thomas.
I did this professionally for 8 yrs. That’s some offensive use of diffuse glow, the liquify tool, clone stamping and blur tool city!
It’s supposed to call to our sympathetic and caring natures. It is Manipulation
— mousepower (@mousep0wer) March 20, 2022
Why are you manipulating images to make a man look more like a woman? Is that what a woman is to you? Soft focus and lip gloss? I notice you were careful not to show the bulge of his penis. Disgusting gaslighting.
— Marley McDermott (@kilgefin) March 19, 2022
@TODAYshow Why are you using an airbrushed, feminised, clearly altered image of the controversial male bodied swimmer Lia Thomas?
Do you think we were all born yesterday?
— 12 Daisies ?♀️ (@TwelveDaisies) March 19, 2022
Lia Thomas is a cheating male. And, why have you run an altered and "soft-focus" image of him ? Completely unethical, no integrity at all.
— unreal (@dreckweb) March 20, 2022
Is this to give the “feminine” glow ? pathetic
— Elizabeth (@Eliznic) March 18, 2022
Thomas was booed following a victory in the 500m race.
While Thomas has followed all NCAA rules, many believe the rules are not adequate, giving transgender athletes an unfair advantage.
“I tried to focus on my swimming and block out everything else. It means the world to be here and be able to compete,” Thomas said in the post-race interview on deck.