You'll note that he was calling for RAW images. For any modern DSLR, the sensors are extremely consistent and accurate in their representation of tone and hue so a straight process off the RAW file will give you the "original" and an extremely accurate representation of what was in front of the camera, with no room for human interpretation. The fact that the medium is bits instead of dyes is not relevant. It can be very well-calibrated and therefore represent a chosen slice of reality more accurately than we can perceive with our eyes.
Originally Posted by ic-racer
I do kind of agree with him but he's pissing in the wind. Framing and perspective alone are a huge matter of interpretation and story-telling and he clearly thinks that a PJ image should be judged primarily on those merits. However there's just as much opportunity to misrepresent with "truthiness" just by defining what is and is not in the image as submitted. Restricting toning for the purposes of values like honesty and veracity is pointless unless you're willing to restrict everything else and have the recording be a 360-degree continuous-video representation of where the camera-operator stood... or better yet an all-encompassing view using surveillance cameras in all directions. Anything less and you are at the photographer's whim as to what is truth and what doesn't exist.
So I think toning is a pointless red herring as far as PJ "honesty" goes. You can lie with toning but it's hard; you can lie trivially with framing and composition. If you want to judge compositional and story-telling skill, you have to accept that as soon as there's a human controlling the perspective that it's story-telling and not a direct recording of reality. Once you accept that, who cares that he made it a bit less saturated? It means nothing.