Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
September 21, 2009

Obama's College Park Rally: We Love You, But…

Obama UofMaryland PublicOption.jpg

I thought I would toss this into the mix to highlight the role of the photo editor when it comes to the political narrative (and vice-versa).

Last week, I posted a pair of White House photos of Obama playing to intensely enthusiastic crowds. From that event at the Target Center in Minneapolis, to Obama’s appearance at the AFL-CIO convention in Pittsburgh, to the big rally at the University of Maryland in College Park, the crowds and the energy and enthusiasm were obvious.

Regarding the Maryland event, in particular, the photo that most media sites seemed to go for was the one below (or some variation of it). This particular image was taken by Getty’s Jim Watson.

Obama Maryland Healthcare Getty.jpg

Given the fact, I was that much more interested in the photo leading the post, offered as part of the Getty coverage but one apparently few media outlets actually bit on. The reason, I believe, is not just the fact that the second shot is sexier, but because its more “complicated.”

In the first shot above, you did notice the little green sign in the background, right? In contrast to the second photo, the message in the first is: “Mr. President, we love you, but … we also love the public option.”

(h/t: Karen)

(images: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images. caption: US President Barack Obama (L) shakes hands with members of the audience after delivering remarks on health care reform at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland, September 17, 2009. Thousands of people turned out Thursday, some waiting for hours from before sunrise, to hear President Barack Obama speak about his proposed health care reforms.)

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