On Wednesday, Rapides Parish Police Juror Steve Coco, who calls himself Cenla’s “most qualified, experienced news source,” responded to criticism that he had posted a doctored photograph of President Barack Obama smoking a cigarette by claiming that this photograph had been originally published by the National Association of Counties, the implication being that this photograph was somehow authentic and verified by a national governmental association. Juror Coco wrote:
Since blatant ignorance reigns unchecked in Cenla, here’s background information on this photo of Barack Obama (The White House Marlboro Man).
Several people continue to claim the picture is a fake. Evidently they believe it’s impossible that there’s any evidence of Obama having a cigarette in his mouth and that he could be smoking in the White House and aboard Air Force One.
This picture was published by NACO, the National Association of Counties, founded in 1935. NACO’s membership totals more than 2-thousand counties, representing over 80% of the nation’s population. NACO headquarters is on Capitol Hill, publishing a biweekly newspaper, County News, that focuses on issues and actions in Washington, D.C. and around the Country.
NACO officials meet regularly with the President at the White House. Maybe that’s where they took the picture.
If you still think the picture’s a fake, prove otherwise.
Well, here’s what the good people at the National Association of Counties have to say about Mr. Coco’s accusations. I e-mailed the President of NACo, Ms. Valerie Brown of Sonoma County, California, to alert her of Juror Coco’s accusations, and she responded (bold mine):
This is a new one for me but I’m checking into it….must say I’ve never even seen this picture.
And according to Beverly A. Schlotterbeck, the executive editor of the website for the National Association of Counties:
We never published the photo in question, nor did we ever distribute it.
Juror Coco vehemently asserts that the photograph he published is authentic. He claims that those who originally disputed his claims are a reflection of “ignorance unchecked,” and he challenges detractors to “prove otherwise.”
Well, the National Association of Counties has proven otherwise, Juror Coco.