Joe Scarborough on Thursday said the National Rifle Association employed a noticeably shaded image of President Obama in a new ad attacking Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

“I think the shading is rather dramatic on the side of his face,” Scarborough said.

“Good job, guys,” co-host Mika Brzezinski added.

Here’s Politico’s shortened version of Scarborough’s observations:

Here’s a fuller version of Scarborough’s comments:

And on Friday, Scarborough doubled-down on his theory.

“Look at his hands: it looks like he is a coal miner from West Virginia. Look at how dark they made his hands,” Scarborough said.

“This is a question that answers itself,” he added.

Scarborough has been quite critical of the NRA of late and noted that the ad reminds him of a TIME magazine cover featuring O.J. Simpson after his 1994 arrest:

MSNBCs Joe Scarborough Notices Dramatic Shading of Obamas Face in NRA Ad

(Credit: Politico)

“This just seems patently obvious what they’re doing,” Scarborough said of the NRA ad, especially since he said he picked up the shading on Obama’s face very quickly.

“It’s ludicrous,” added former RNC Chairman Michael Steele regarding the NRA ad against Manchin.”This guy is an A+ rating on the NRA, a solid citizen on the issue. It’s sort of a tone deafness here from the NRA and, of course, the racial overtones come into play as well.”

TheBlaze took a cursory look at the NRA’s original video ad, grabbed a screen shot from it, and compared it with a video screen shot from the “Morning Joe” broadcast.

Here’s the video of the NRA’s original ad, via YouTube:

And just below is a screen grab from the same NRA video ad:

MSNBCs Joe Scarborough Notices Dramatic Shading of Obamas Face in NRA Ad

(Credit: YouTube)

And here’s what “Morning Joe” aired as a screen grab, via Politico:

MSNBCs Joe Scarborough Notices Dramatic Shading of Obamas Face in NRA Ad

(Credit: Politico)

The latter two screen grabs have not been altered in any way.

But after looking at them, it seems there’s more contrast between dark shades and light shades on Obama’s face in the “Morning Joe” screen grab than in the screen grab from the original NRA ad.

In the original NRA ad’s image, the skin around Obama’s eyes seems to appear lighter brown while the same area in the “Morning Joe” version appears a bit more washed out, almost white; in the same way, the skin around Obama’s cheeks, mouth, and chin in the original NRA ad seems a bit less dark (and because of that, more detailed) than the same area in the MSNBC version, which seems much darker and less distinct.

What’s more, if you compare Bloomberg’s image in each screen grab, there seems to be more contrast between dark shades and light shades in the “Morning Joe” version than in the original ad.

It’s the same deal with the grey bar outlining each image; the contrast between darker grey and lighter grey, particularly on the left side of the rectangle bar, seems more pronounced in the version aired on MSNBC.

Could it simply be that that the image in the ad is larger, and therefore the contrast not as visible? Or is the way that MSNBC is displaying the image actually making it appear darker than the original ad?

Consider also that a screen shot of the Manchin image that follows the Obama image in the ad also shows shadowing on Manchin’s face (meaning any darkness doesn’t seem to be exclusive to Obama):

MSNBCs Joe Scarborough Notices Dramatic Shading of Obamas Face in NRA Ad

(Source: MSNBC screen shot)

And that raises another question: Even if the NRA did use a video effect that darkened the appearance of those onscreen, does that mean it was meant to be a racial move as Scarborough hints at?

TheBlaze has reached out to the NRA but has not heard back.

What do you think?

(H/T: Politico)

TheBlaze’s Jonathon M. Seidl contributed to this report.