Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
July 21, 2006

Foreign, And Domestic Affairs

Bushcondi

Studying yesterday’s newswire with a particular eye to Bush’s appearance before the not-so-receptive NAACP — I came upon something I found curious.

I’ll take you through the sequence.

Prominent in the collection of morning shots was this pic of Bush doing that “I see you” clowning thing — alongside Condi.  And here’s the caption:

U.S. President George W. Bush waves to the press as he walks to the Oval Office with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, July 20, 2006. Rice intends to travel to the Middle East as early as next week to press for a political solution that helps reduce fighting between Israel and Hizbollah guerrillas in Lebanon, her spokesman said.

Given that Iraq and the Middle East are in meltdown; BushCo is fighting its own three or four front diplomatic war; and the intimation from this caption is that Condi’s focus is overseas, you’d think she would be in a hurry to get to the State Department, right?

Jesse-Naacp

Later in the day, Bush does the NAACP meeting.

In weighing out the most informative visuals, I seized upon this audience shot anchored by ole’ Jesse himself.  By the way, the body language is just incredible, isn’t it?  .. If you heard some of the speech, you might also have noticed Bush changing his pronunciation to sound more “brotherish.”  Yeah, you go, George! )

But then, at the last minute, I noticed one more image — this one catching the same figures at an angle.  And there — across a gap, I was a little surprised to see Condi.

Condi-Naacp

With foreign affairs in such a dangerous and critical state, what was she doing here?

She could have just been there for symbolic value.  (It’s Rove’s policy to pair Bush with black faces whenever a day, event or photo op is even remotely relevant to African-Americans.  That’s why it made sense to see Condi with “W” on the lawn that morning — and maybe why Bush was making sure he had the photographer’s attention.)

She could have been there because the Administration has at least a week to kill before getting seriously involved with Lebanon.

Or, as Bush’s confidant, chief hand-holder, and, basically, the glue that holds him together, she could have been there mostly for the eye contact.

(image 1 and 2: Jason Reed/Reuters.  Washington. July 20, 2006. Via YahooNews. image 3:  Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo. Washington. July 20, 2006. Via YahooNews. )

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