Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
November 23, 2015

Trump’s Praise for Protester Pummeling: Even FOX Hosts Stung

Trump roughed up

In the face of the Paris terror attack, Donald Trump’s race baiting and his demonizing of Islam has become not just toxic, but alarming and dangerous. Simply, his incendiary words in the current atmosphere, his political hate speech, has become a catalyst for violence.

I wanted to show you an image from Trump’s rally in Alabama this weekend where a Black Lives Matter activist, after heckling Trump from deep in the room, was punched and kicked on the ground. Unfortunately, outside of the video and some photos of the man just prior, there isn’t a still that clearly captures the incident. Still, image of blacks getting pummeled by whites in this country have a long lineage. More unique to the moment, perhaps,  certainly the atmosphere, is this screenshot.

Did you recall my post a few months back (The Alarming Trump “Obama Muslim” Moment the Media Totally Missed) breaking down those screenshots from that rally in New Hampshire? I analyzed the faces behind Trump immediately after a questioner called Obama a Muslim and Trump effectively concurred.

Maybe the immediate facial reaction to political hate speech should be its own visual genre. There could be a whole collection, in the Library of Congress perhaps, capturing true emotional reactions before the audience — in this case, three highly camera-schooled conservative talking heads — slipped back into passive assent or just on-camera cool.

But I still haven’t filled you in on exactly what you’re looking at. What you see above is the reaction of the three anchors on the so-named program, “FOX and Friends,” after soliciting Trump’s reaction to the attack on the protester. (Punctuating the difference is a grinning photo of Trump, the inset image aligned with a heavy truck and a string of red traffic lights stretching up a mostly empty Avenue of the Americas.) Oh, the reaction occurs right after Trump responds:

“Roughed up? Maybe he should have been roughed up.”

(screenshot: FOX and Friends)

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