Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
May 25, 2006

What Fifty Interviews And A Dollar Buys You These Days

Clintons230

[I]nterviews with some 50 people and a review of their respective activities show that since leaving the White House, Bill and Hillary Clinton have built largely separate lives — partly because of the demands of their distinct career paths and partly as a result of political calculations.

Fifty interviews!?!  More power to Digby for calling out the NYT for their impersonation of the Nat Inquirer (story link) — and to Media Matters for unveiling authorial double standards.  It’s one thing to tear at the Clinton marriage on the front page, but what would would persuade them to throw that kind of time into it, dressing this up as some kind of serious investigation?

The image above is the one that accompanied the Clinton story on the front page.  Let’s think about it a second.

If you pound home the assertion that this is a marriage of convenience, then you throw on a caption reading: “The Clintons last month in a rare appearance together,” what do you get?  How about, two people — perpetually playing to the public eye — who can hardly afford (or stand) to look at each other.

However, beware of the pseudo-shrink reporter who reduces complex behaviors to simple, unitary explanations. 

Sure, the Clinton’s are consumate political players.  Still, it’s ridiculous to suggest that what connects them is simply political opportunism.  In an examination of any long term relationship (30 years, in this case), what you’re looking at is a venn diagram.  And, you don’t know what you’re talking about if you don’t really wrestle with the blue box.

Clintonven3

May the person with the “non-complex” relationship offer the simple explanation as to to what binds these two.  As calculated as they might be in their public lives, and as idiosyncratic as they might be in private, how many political blogs do you know of willing to offer a defense of love?

But then, who am I to impede The Times from flagellating a dead horse?

  In the on-line version of the story, The Times introduces still one more piece of “visual evidence” demonstrating that Bill and Hill are solely looking out for number one.  This classic pic was taken recently when the Clinton portraits were unveiled by the Smithsonian.

Hillbilllookingaway

This stage ain’t big enough for the both of us?  You go your way, I’ll go mine?  You take the low road and I’ll take the high road?  …Before before you look too far into the picture, you have to enjoy the caption:

The Clintons at the recent unveiling of their portraits. For Mrs. Clinton, seeking her own political identity, her famous husband is a mixed blessing.

I mean, want more could you ask for in a hatchet job?

(image 1: Haraz N. Ghanbari/Associated Press. May 23, 2006. nyt.com.  image 2: David Scull for The New York Times. May 23, 2006. nyt.com.)

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