November 8, 2009
Notes

Health Care Victory, Stage 1: And What Would Losing Look Like?


NYT-Health-Care-Bill-passes.jpg

That’s quite a dodgy photo leading today’s NYT marking the passage in the House of health care reform.

The biggest slam is that Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, is thoroughly obscured, far left, off a preoccupied and nervous-looking Rep. Clyburn’s right shoulder. (Both Clyburn’s expression, and the one on the face of Rep. Larson, far right, smells a lot more of fear and anxiety than anything else.)

Mostly though, it’s the treatment of Obama that’s weird at this undeniably historic moment — as if the Times felt compelled to emphasize obscurity, weakness, distance and, given Obama’s expression, wariness bordering on cynicism.

Of course, the vote wasn’t a resounding one, but then, there’s also the logic — especially in this fractious a Washington — that “a win is a win.” You would never know from this, however. Rather than front-and-center, which is where he was for the official photo-op (as compared to this, say), the Times version has the President — his wave blocking his face and reading as much like resistance or objection — seeming to almost beat a retreat.

(photo: Doug Mills)

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Michael Shaw
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