Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Bush Frames His Own Photographs

Reuters has been under fire recently for multiple doctored photos that have come across the news wires and been published. One freelancer seems to be the source of most of the fraudulent work, but the agency tripped again last week when it published a photo which seemed to be a puerile jab at President Bush.

I think critics are right that the photo was inappropriate. The lure of the "behind-the-scenes" aspect of the photo is overshadowed by the "look who has to wee-wee!" humor not because photogs have consistently painted George Bush as a child, but because he frequently acts like one, and has earned countless votes with a deliberately anti-intellectual strategy. Good photo editors recognize this social context - there would be no "bias" without it - and keep such work from publication, effectively shielding those in power from reaping what they have sown.

That Reuters is now defending the photo is silly but understandable; given the more serious gaffs they have admitted to in the last weeks, they probably think they can just sweep this one under the carpet, and they have done their best to make amends. But when critiquing the picture, please remember that Bush frames it himself on a weekly basis.

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