Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
July 31, 2008

The Telltale Heart



Hours after his own campaign manager thrust the subject of race front and center into the presidential contest, John McCain said it was “legitimate” to accuse Barack Obama of playing the race card. In a stunning example of what linguists call apophasis — the raising of an issue by denying an intention to mention it — McCain told CNN: “There’s no place for it and we shouldn’t be doing it.”

–Greg Sargent, TPM – McCain: Accusing Obama Of Playing Race Card Is “Legitimate”

It never ceases to amaze me how the most skillful photojournalists, in the most intuitive way, have the ability to locate, translate and elevate the dynamic essence of the political narrative just beyond language.

As Greg Sargent articulates, at the psychological core of McCain’s demeaning and racist video attack on Obama unfurled Wednesday, we have McCain actively staining Obama, then fingering Obama for the blotch.

In light of this feigned innocence, I find these two images quite remarkable.  What the photographer and the photographs point to, and what McCain seems to unavoidably telegraph — fingering the spot where he had a potentially cancerous spot removed Tuesday, just before this town hall — is his own, outright blemish.

The poetry reads like the telltale heart.

(images: Max Whittaker/Getty.  July 29, 2008. Sparks, Nevada)

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