Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
March 18, 2016

The Most Innocent Picture in the World

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder drinks water as he testifies before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in Washington, Thursday, March 17, 2016, to look into the circumstances surrounding high levels of lead found in many residents' tap water in Flint, Michigan. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Call it a gift to those ever-patient DC photographer who covers these mostly visually static congressional hearings day-in-and-day-out.

Call it a textbook example of how guilt always catches up to you.

And, call it poetic justice when the common, everyday bottle of drinking water turns, instead, into the crystal clear symbol of one of America’s most visible and negligent health crises ever — and why your political career is in tatters.

In its descriptive innocence, the caption reads:

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder drinks water as he testifies before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in Washington, Thursday, March 17, 2016, to look into the circumstances surrounding high levels of lead found in many residents’ tap water in Flint, Michigan. 

NYMag led with the swig too, along with clips of Rep. Elijah Cummings repeatedly excoriating the governor for his profound negligence and culpability in the Flint crisis.

With the congress as viciously polarized as it is, the presidential campaign and the go-nowhere nomination of a Supreme Court justice toxifying those halls even further, Cummings’ performance and Snyder’s sullying were partially muddied by committee Republicans reciprocally trashing the (Democratic Administration’s) EPA.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder drinks water as he testifies before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in Washington, Thursday, March 17, 2016, to look into the circumstances surrounding high levels of lead found in many residents' tap water in Flint, Michigan.

Above and beyond the corrosiveness though, the telltale element of the day —amidst the bling of Snyder’s watch, ring and lapel pin in this version from Getty’s Saul Loeb — was that simple H2O.

(photo 1: Andrew Harnik/AP. photo 2: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

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