This week’s Reuters slide show on Jeb Bush felt to me like a real departure. The main reason being that the tone, across twenty-five largely scathing examples, seems to jump far away from the conventions of wire photos. That the slide show even has a tone is worth noting. Traditionally, wire photos were neutral. These were the type of photos that any news outlet could use with their articles regardless of the political bent in those stories.
If the quotation-free title, The Jeb! campaign, also telegraphs that edge, picture after picture in this Reuters set shows Jeb Bush, or his stooping proxies, looking like fools.
Whether in mid-bite on a pork chop, being awkwardly overwhelmed by pre-schoolers (also see the kid with the “3 Year Olds 4 Jeb!” sign), being serenaded by a folksy hippie type, being juxtaposed (more than once) with Ronald Reagan, or sitting completely perplexed in a cafe in the lead image, eating out of a styrofoam tray alongside “a word jumble” … Bush looks consistently ludicrous, confused or just minimized.
There are 15 GOP candidates at the moment. So why is Jeb such an easy target? Perhaps the American public is not interested in yet another Bush in the White House. Could it be his brother’s legacy coming home to roost? Or maybe it’s his lack of sophistication on issues that really matter. Could Jeb’s “stuff happens” response to questioning on gun control after the recent mass shooting in Oregon have been the last straw?
If Reuters is perceiving schadenfreude toward Jeb in the voting public, than this take on Jeb is spot on.
Otherwise, beyond just adding some levity to this campaign (which it’s hardly lacking), what’s the purpose in a wire service taking this kind of swing to make a presidential candidate look so far from presidential?
— by Meg Handler
photo 1: Jim Young/Reuters. caption: Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush eats a pork chop as he campaigns at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, United States, August 14, 2015 ; photo 2: Brian Snyder/REUTERS. caption: Campaign workers put up letters spelling “Jeb!” outside the site of a campaign town hall meeting with U.S. Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush at the VFW post in Laconia, New Hampshire September 3, 2015; photo 3: Brian Snyder/REUTERS. caption: Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush poses for a photograph with a group of day care children during a campaign stop in Lancaster, New Hampshire July 23, 2015; photo 4: Brian Snyder/REUTERS; caption: Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush reacts as Rob Webber sings a political song for him at a campaign town hall meeting in Laconia, New Hampshire September 3, 2015.