Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
June 30, 2011

White House Flickr Snapshot – Late June '11 Edition (#2): Beware the Bubble

I’ve been looking at the last group of photos Pete Souza uploaded to the White House Flickr site. In light of the Administration’s Afghanistan policy shift, a weakening economy, a debt ceiling showdown looming with the Repubs and Obama in early election mode,I was wondering how much the White House was demonstrating their usual mojo in exploiting Flickr to spin or strategically leverage those issues. In this and the next few posts, I’ll be examining the 24 photos in the June 26th upload, isolating some themes and offering interpretations or questions.

Even since the Iran hostage crisis and its crushing effect on the Carter Administration, presidents have been admonished “not to get stuck in the Rose Garden.” Whenever Obama has gotten into a rut, he has gotten out on the road. Preceding and immediately following the mid-term elections, perhaps driven by Daley and Plouffe, it seems there has been a more consistent strategy of getting Obama out of the White House and circulating more, both to sell a recovery and push the hope.

Perhaps it’s not his first nature to barnstorm and Obama, ultimately, resists this kind of business. Or maybe, hitting summer, he’s feeling a little weary of cranky from  the political wars. Whatever or how much of this is true, what’s interesting in this last set of images is the fact that sixteen of the twenty-four are taken either in the White House, or on Air Force 1.

The photo above might serve as a bit of a warning perhaps, the picture showing Obama on the presidential plane as if encased in the bubble. (We know what this did to and for Bush, of course.)

And then, I’m wondering why Souza posted that shot of Obama above, and whether it communicates more than the duty and engagement the White House imagines it does … such as how much of a slog this job can be, and, perhaps, how it’s possible for some presidents to actually get bored.

(photo 1: Pete Souza/White House caption: President Barack Obama talks with Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest aboard Air Force One during a flight to Toledo, Ohio, June 3, 2011.photo 2: Pete Souza/White House caption: President Barack Obama listens during a meeting with advisors in the Oval Office, June 8, 2011.)

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