Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
October 5, 2007

No Banner Left Behind


With all the skirmishing going on around Bush’s veto of the SCHIP legislation, the Decider’s photo op in the Bronx two weeks ago seems to loom ever larger.  Yes, it’s hypocrisy, but it is such a an accomplished piece of hypocrisy.

But because everybody is pushing back on Bush now, even the kids, I thought it was worthwhile to show you an out-take, or a newswire shot of the same cast of characters that didn’t circulate because it wasn’t, umm, fictitious enough.


In this version, we’ve got Bush set up for one shot with the two girls, while simultaneously setting up another shot shaking the boys hand, but then, also looking at something else.  He’s like a three-time serial poser. 

Let’s go back to the “winning” shot for a minute, though.

First (by virtue of the second shot), the absence of Laura is notable.  One thing that makes the top shot so warm and fuzzy then is that “the robot” isn’t in it.  And with Laura out of the picture, Bush — who, in shooting down children’s health care legislation in opposition to even a big GOP block, might be more accurately seen as the bad father — can neutralize that persona by leaving out his wife, embracing the females and, in that stereotypical nurturing and submissive (if somewhat stilted ) pose, come off like the good mother.  (I realize, by the way, that this photo preceded SCHIP, but all the dynamics were already in play.)

Then, I imagine the better move — not just for the Prez’s own policy health, but for the fact that the boys were definitely left behind or aside — especially the boy who is ignored, though his hand is resting on Bush’s shoulder — was to also just leave the banner out of it.

Curious too, by the way, with this play-it-safe White House, is how Bush has essentially given up posing with anyone not in uniform.

(images: Charles Dharapak/A.P.  September 26, 2007.  Bronx, New York)

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