July 24, 2009

Obama Feeling The Heat? …Or, Would Cable Have It So?

Obama health care Cleveland.jpg

Perceptions, perceptions.

If Obama is avoiding specifics to force typically warring factions to take/accept responsibility for fashioning a health care program, the “intervention” in play — on the heels of the “ambiguous” press conference on Wednesday — is, I’m sure Barack understands, not a zero-sum game.

Like it or not, what Obama has cooking is an incredibly complex (and necessarily protracted) process of give-and-take going on across the broadest spectrum of political and industry stakeholders. Unfortunately, you would barely appreciate it given the media framing, especially from cable and TV news which thrives (or bleeds) according to the degree of tension, crisis, anger, grandstanding and general stratification that it can conjure in its “are we there yet,” “up or down vote,” “red/blue, never-purple” universe.

Given all that, it’s easy to make very different things out of this photo from Cleveland yesterday, fitting the general caption of “Prez taking it on the road to the American people one day after the big press conference to sell Brand X.” (In this case, of course, selling the need for action to fuel the action, as opposed to Brand X itself.)

I imagine this photo is all over the wire today because, consistent with the shrieking TV narrative, it speaks to Obama “feeling the heat.” I would as soon propose, however, it offers Obama — who wouldn’t be Obama without having thrown himself into another gargantuan and seemingly impossible uphill battle — coolly executing the plan.

It’s just that the weather is hot.

(Update 11pm PST: Heh heh. Just came across this from the front page of today’s LAT.)

(image: Jason Reed/Reuters. caption: U.S. President Barack Obama wipes his brow in the stifling heat during a town hall meeting on health care at Shaker Heights High School near Cleveland, Ohio, July 23, 2009)

Post By

Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

The Big Picture

Follow us on Instagram (@readingthepictures) and Twitter (@readingthepix), and


A curated collection of pieces related to our most-popular subject matter.


Comments Powered by Disqus