Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
July 21, 2016

GOP Convention: Regression to the Mean. Ugly Mean.

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn spoke at the convention. CreditDamon Winter/The New York Times

They say that a fish stinks from the head. In the case of the GOP convention, the hostility of Donald Trump has permeated the tone and tenor of this gathering.  In most cases, the hostility has been latent, confined to rhetoric. Just as hate and baiting has led to actual bullying and violence at some of Trump’s campaign rallies, however, angry outbursts and some physical aggression have also been noticeable at this year’s Republican Convention — and I mean, inside the hall.

Damon Winter of the NYT brilliantly captured the sense with this photo of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump’s “Favorite General,” who was fired by the Defense Intelligence agency for comments about radical Islam. Besides airing those views and the advocacy of torture in his convention speech, he made vicious personal attacks on Hillary Clinton, actually leading chants to lock her up.

Appropriating the video intro as a backdrop, Winter represents the convention itself as a battle space. The framing of Flynn’s head in the teleprompter suggests various readings, from the intensity of his personal animosity to the actual act of targeting.

In the stills below, you see a couple of dust ups with members of Code Pink. The first one reminded me of waterboarding, or that famous image of American Marines thrusting Old Glory over that statue in Iraq’s Firdos Square before pulling it down. Either way, how telling to actually muffle someone with the American flag. In the second one, the the tug-of-war also evokes the many misogynist attacks Trump has made.

Below, we see convention security and the presence of troops as much as a metaphor as a practicality. There is also an image dealing with the open carry law, the second amendment as an accompanying theme of the atmosphere of aggression.

Ruddy Roye’s image of a man reenacting the Tamir Rice shooting is perhaps unusual here. (Our comment in the Instagram embed acknowledges the killings of African-American’s Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by police in large part because they were legally carrying.) The image is here to contrast the protesting of violence with the seepage and venting of it into the formal proceedings of the convention.

For all the ill will and hostility of this week so far, however, it seemed to all crystalize in a single moment last night, in the faces of Trump and his family during Ted Cruz’s speech. Although Cruz submitted his text in advance, the reaction of the audience to the absence of a Trump endorsement brought derision from the hall and humiliation to the candidate. In the photo at the bottom of the post, you can see the pure venom and apoplexy in the faces of the clan. For the moment and captured forever, you witness the seething that lies beneath all that Trump arrogance and bluster.

 

 

 

 

This is “Make America Safe Again” night at the convention. If the photo by Michael Robinson Chavez, posted yesterday, is primarily about the security presence in Cleveland, you could also see the action behind the delegate as choreographed to the hat. Follow us as we look at select media & indy pix of the 2016 GOP convention. We’re the only site dedicated to visual analysis of news & social documentary photography #Repost @mrobinsonchavez ・・・ A Trump supporter passes a phalanx of police in Cleveland. #republicans #police #America #instamood #picoftheday #iphonography #clevelandrocks #RNC #police #cleveland #photojournalism #RNCinCLE #Cleveland #rnc2016 #politics #convention #election2016 #campaign2016 #gop #visualpolitics #readingthepictures #RepublicanConvention

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Tamir Rice shooting reenactment outside RNC. As powerful, though, in drawing out a licensed/open carry racial double standard. (It’s a toy, by the way.) By Ruddy Roye. #Repost @timelightbox ・・・ From Ruddy Roye (@ruddyroye) photographing at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio: Stevedore Crawford Jr. paced the concrete pavement in a circle, almost daring the Cleveland Police officers to take notice of him. In his waist he shoved a toy gun, in a sarcastic attempt to mimic the events that led to 12-year-old Tamir Rice’s death in Nov. 2014. “I am out here because the boy was murdered by police. How did they notice that he had gun if it was in his waist. They put two bullets in that boy’s stomach. Why don’t they talk to us before it gets to that,” he asked his audience. #RNCinCLE #tamirrice #race #guns #RNC #Cleveland #photojournalism #Cleveland #rnc2016 #politics #convention #election2016 #campaign2016 #gop #visualpolitics #readingthepictures #RepublicanConvention #police #opencarry #nra #blacklivesmatter #blue #black

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(photo (top): Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn spoke at the convention. photo 6: Aristide Economopoulos/Star-Ledger. caption: Just as Gov. Chris Christie sat with the NJ delegation, he was immediately questioned if it was true that he was upset that he wasn’t picked as Vice President and he answered that he wasn’t going to answer that question and that he wanted to listen to the speakers and out of respected for them he wasn’t going to do any interviews. photo 7: Edward Keating @ekeats. caption: Former NYC Mayor yesterday on a night of ugliness at the RNC in Cleveland . Ugly man, ugly message, ugly party. All they can do is lie and try to scare people. photo 8: Win McNamee/Getty Images. caption: (L-R)Vanessa Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump and Tiffany Trump listen during the evening session on the third day of the Republican National Convention on July 20, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. 

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