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Nov 10, 2007

Your Turn: Things Looking Up In San Antonio

1Bush-Brook-Medical-1 Bush-Brook-Medical-22
3Bush-Brook-Medical-4 Bush-Brook-Medical-64
6Bush-Brook-Medical-7 Bush-Brook-Medical-87
9Bush-Brook-Medical-9 Bush-Brook-Medical-1010
(click for larger sizes)

I offer these images to the readership for interpretation.  I have numbered them to make it easier to address particular shots.  Besides the broader implications, I'm wondering what specific data (or absence thereof) you pull out of these images.  If you have been mostly lurking at The BAG, by the way, I strongly encourage you to share your perceptions.

In order to frame the "one sided" nature of these photos, I offer you the comments of Bill Putnam.  Bill is a professional photographer who, until a few months ago, was serving in Iraq as a military public affairs officer.  Over the coming months, he will be lending his experience and expertise to BAGnewsNotes, especially related to war and its packaging.  He writes:

It’s hard for me, as someone who spent 21 months in Iraq, to see these pictures. The human body just wasn’t made for these sorts of injuries.

I look at the photos of Marine Lance Cpl. Isaac Gallegos (#9, 10) and wonder not about the “what,” but the “how” and “when.” Where was his unit when it happened? Were they on patrol? Did he hit an IED? Was he driving or was he a passenger?

There’s a photo of Bush with Army Sgt. Kevin Downs, who's on top of an exercise ball (#13). He’s probably there to learn balance, an important thing for amputees. The angle is bad but it looks as if Young is a double amputee. He has obvious scaring on his head. Maybe he took shrapnel? Maybe he was burned?

I’ve been to Walter Reed a few of times since 2003; a couple in uniform and once as a civilian. From that experience, I know the questions I have for Gallegos and Downs about their situation pre- and post-injury are pretty much unanswerable.  Talking to them is hard because of the military’s strict adherence to health privacy laws. Interview and photo requests take forever to grant or decline.

From the patients’ perspective they think the media – and by extension the country – doesn’t care about them.  But that’s because the administration has made media access to wounded troops nearly impossible.

And then, I offer some background on George Bush's visit to Brooke Army Medical Center from the LA Times:

The president visited the military center between parties for the Texas GOP and for Sen. John Cornyn's reelection campaign that were expected to raise $1.3 million.  When the president splits his travel time between official events -- in this case, the tour of the rehabilitation center -- and political events, the government picks up a share of the costs that would otherwise be charged to the beneficiaries of the fundraising.
The hospital tour gave the White House an opportunity to promote its efforts to act on recommendations of the commission led by former Sen. Bob Dole and former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala that investigated failures in the treatment of troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.
[T]he president said... a new national center for work on post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury is hiring its first staff members.

And finally, some local reporting from  (The Bush's quotes were captured by cellphone from the Cornyn fundraiser.)

"Some day people are going to look back at this time and day and say, 'Thank God there was a generation that did not lose faith ... because the Middle East is a place free of suiciders.'"
"You can't make profound decisions for America unless you are certain in your soul," said Bush, who made his fourth trip to San Antonio since 2001. "The decisions I have made will make it easier for your grandchildren to live in peace."
"The center is a tribute to the generosity of the American people," Bush said of the rehabilitation facility, which opened in January. "The center is a testament to the country's deep belief that someone who is injured in battle deserves all the help they can get."  The $65 million rehabilitation facility was funded by private donations from more than 600,000 people, Brooke Army Medical Center spokesman Dewey Mitchell said.
Describing the war as a battle between "light and dark," Bush said, "If you kill people to achieve a political objective or to advance an ideology ... you are nothing but evil. The only way they can convince people to kill the innocent is if they find hopelessness and despair."
Bush watched Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Bradford, 20, of Winchester, Ky., climb a two-story wall as part of a rehab exercise.

Bradford, who lost both legs and one eye and was blinded in the other as the result of roadside bomb explosion in Iraq, pulled himself up the climbing wall with only his arms, guided from below by fellow soldiers who cheered and yelled out directions to him.

Bush leaned over to Bradford's mother, Debbie Bradford, and said: "He's a good man, isn't he?"

Original Reuters slide showBAG roundup on previous Bush hospital visits here.

(image 1 - 12: Jim Young/Reuters.  Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio Thursday, Nov. 8, 2007.  image 13:  Getty Images via Daily Mail)


Number 9 is ironic. If it wasn't for the Bush's smile I would think that Marine Lance Cpl. Isaac Gallegos was staging an anti-war protest. Bush must have felt the irony though. I found number 11 most touching. It is very humane. It shows a lot of compassion and brotherhood.

Is it only in relation to such terribly wounded people that Bush can behave like a father? He really seems unconcerned about their condition, in some profound way. It's as though their agony and the limitation of their future releases something in him. He seems to think these people willingly gave up pieces of themselves for him and so, he cherishes them.

He feels pity for them but it is a form of self-pity. He must really feel a great vicarious vengefulness when he does these visits.

"a great vicarious vengefulness", as in a determination to kill more muslims? I wonder...

This visit would be a lot more believable if it were done in private with respect, dignity and quiet conversation. The way Roosevelt was never photograhped in his wheelchair. Were these men each handed a teddybear momento after the 30 second visit/picture?

You know the theatrical elements were carefully managed, no matter the heartrendering quailty of some of the "compassinate conservative" poses. Credit the White House professional photograhpy staff for that: Mission Accomplished. Knowing Bush's background and propensity for manilupation doesn't hurt. A tiger doesn't change his stripes.That Bush can move among these people grinning and joking, without taking on the somber persona of everyone else reminds me of the ice water in his veins or just the ignorant dullness of his intellect.

So the Sociopath In Chief comes to take a look at his handiwork. The soldiers are his mementos, keepsakes of the crimes he has committed.

Bag, you didn't mention that Bush played a video game while there, "Virtual Soldier". He shot a few virtual Muslims. Ran across that over at Josh Marshall's.

To paraphrase Larry Johnson:
What's the difference between a wounded vet and a cow? Bush can't milk a cow.

This last year of Bush-Lip is going to be the worst of all.

Blake -- I agree with your comment. And I certainly don't want to do anything to let Lil' Bush off the hook, but we should remember that he has partners in crime here, i.e., in this case Reuters. BUT that's not new, as the media was also fully complicit with FDR and agreeing never to show the wheelchair or leg braces -- indeed, it was something of an unwritten rule. And it probably had less to do with personal dignity as with preserving the image of a strong leader. Of course, those were the times when public leaders were allowed to keep their private lives private (for good or ill--back then, I think, the meaning of the word "is" was fairly stable). Of course, all that soon changed, maybe at the point that Nixon wheeled out that damn dog and Pat's good "republican cloth coat ..."

"If you have been mostly lurking at The BAG, by the way, I strongly encourage you to share your perceptions."

That into the deeper pool end pushed said, I will first say I wouldn't have it any other BAG NEWS NOTES DAY way not to miss your most excellent pictorial-analysis take and view on the wild and BSside of political day to day the-end-is-near-Butchie life.

That Bush your above said, like I've always said (just not here), Jenna and Barbara both need to experience daddy's war up full and frontal closer than they are at book and party tour present moment. God forbid and wouldn't want to wish it on anyone, but would like to BAG NEWS NOTES DAY photo-op see if, as Blake Incarnate so astutely said - "The Sociopath In Chief" - would still smiling and looking "proudly" upon if that were to happen to his "good-girls." I have 2 son's serving in the military, and I couldn't even begin to imagine.

No amount of fanfare or fake compassion could make me change my mind about Bush, Cheney, or Rice - they make me sick to my stomach more than any photo of the soldiers whose lives were changed forever because of a petty and small-minded leader.
From Canada.

I can scarcely look at the injured men because I am blinded by anger that George Bush sent them into harm's way . And he feels good about having done so: "The decisions I have made will make it easier for your grandchildren to live in peace." In terms of impression management and self-regulation, it must be important for GWB to have these photo-ops. He can do his whole confident leader schtick, plus it gives him a chance to pretend to himself that he cares.

#2 is the picture I keep coming back to. The nature of his injuries make that young soldier look infantilized, and Bush is leaning over speaking to him in just the way that one does with a toddler. One can almost imagine babytalk, "Howsit going, big boy! You all warm and cozy today?"

"If you kill people to achieve a political objective or to advance an ideology ... you are nothing but evil. The only way they can convince people to kill the innocent is if they find hopelessness and despair."

At least Bush is a man who knows what he is. Although actually I doubt he recognized the self-description.

Where did he find the hopelessness and despair that has allowed him to be responsible for the deaths and injuries of so many innocent people in Iraq? And why has he in turn created so much of it there?

We have so many more survivors of these horrible injuries now - if these men had died at the rate of those who served in Vietnam, we would be recognizing a bit better the true cost of this war. But perhaps for so many now living with these severe injuries, the final toll will be even worse. They are getting care now, but later, when they have truly become forgotten, their desperation will really begin to come out, and we'll see more of the real cost and pain this conflict has inflicted on all of us.

And the hopelessness and desperation of the Iraqi people is not even anywhere near complete. There is worse yet to come.

More about the privately-funded Center for the Intrepid, which opened in San Antonio on January 29, 2007. (This photo gallery shows McCain and Hillary — surrounded by wounded veterans — attending the ceremonies.)

You can donate to the Center at

As you know, I tend to look at photographs individually and minutely, as much as collectively. I'll try and add more thoughts as they strike me. But for now...

In #9, I'm stunned by the interplay between the face of Gallegos and the illustration on the shirt. One way Bush Co. performs a brilliant act of neutralization with this photo op is by subtly (but then, also blatantly) manipulating our visual associations to these soldiers. In #9, for example, the monster Gallegos has been morphed, by association, into the fighting wolfman. The pull then, and the new message from our brain to our eyes, is that what we are seeing, in effect, is not just the the virtuous, even laudable face of the Operation, but the face of Freedom itself. And then, it's sick but it's brilliant the way huckster Bush reconditions the setting, especially in the way he holds up the T-shirt, by exploiting the hyper-familiar, thoroughly disarming and classically American vernacular of the home shopping show.

By the way, it's also incredible to me the way we are warded off by the wolf's gaze from looking too closely at (or more problematically for BushCo., into) the love between Bush and Gallegos. I mean, just think about it in terms of who it is glaring at ... and guarding.

Lastly, my commercial: It's for chilling visual propaganda like this that The BAG site exists. To the extent the American people -- even the most intelligent thinkers -- are unprepared and untrained to see through and deconstruct imagery like this (and great point, John-- Reuters with their cheap exclusive is as much culpable), we are simply sitting ducks for perceptual and attitude shaping and manipulation. I encourage you -- with this post especially, but regularly, as I try every day to pick the most salient pics -- to be an active part of this seminar as we strive to reveal the strings. Remarkably, almost four years into the mission now, we are still among the few David's out there (with our keyboards and flashlights) up against these Goliaths.

Oh yeah, PT's comment on #2 made me take another look at #13: How cute: a boy on top of his ball.

Puke, discusting, not the vets, but Bush´s tshirt offering

The fact that Bush didn't throw up all over himself and all over the floor while on his hands and knees dry-heaving — for what he has done to these boys — shows what a sociopath he is. Plus, the fact it was a privately-funded center makes me cringe at what the U.S. government is putting its troops and veterans through. So, the center wasn't paid for by your hard-earned tax dollars (what better place to put the money?) but, rather, came out of yoour own pockets on top of your taxes already paid. Anyone else getting this?
What's the latest figure? One in four homeless in the U.S. are veterans?
Hope everybody at the mall today has a good time buying corn dogs and video games while listening to 50 cent and driving Escalades. Enjoy it people! It was all paid for by men and women like those pictured in the essay.

Michael Shaw asked me to look at these pictures, having had some experience photographing wounded servicemen and women, and post comments if so inclined.

My first question is which if any of the newspapers running stories actually published the Reuters pictures? Looking at the links I see no pictures to accompany the texts Are the papers still too timid to show what obviously the White House feels is now acceptable to show?

Which leads me to the next point. When I first photographed on the amputee unit at Walter Reed in October 2003, the public affairs officer took me aside and said “Nina we really have to watch out on this, It could backfire on us.” They were having discussions among the staff at the early stages of the war, how to use images of wounded to their benefit. They wanted to cash in on the hero factor, without making people too disturbed that it might cause them to question whether such horrible damage was worth the price.

Four years later, tens of thousands of injuries later, the administration seems completely oblivious to the extent of the damage.

When I look at these pictures, I see a president who didn’t know what he was walking into. He might as well have been visiting a rec room or a locker room at a university.

Or I see a president capable of the most incredible disassociation and denial. Especially picture 12, can’t you just imagine Bush thinking, hey let’s see how this arm without a hand works.

I think the administration pr department made a severe miscalculation because regardless of some of the smiling faces on some of the injured, there is no way these are positive pictures. -- burn victims and double amputees are undeniable evidence of carnage.

The final irony of course is that the visit is not really at Brooke Army but at the Intrepid, a facility paid for by private money because the government has failed to provide the funds to support veterans’ care.

What is the point of referring to Reuters "with their cheap exclusive" and "partners in crime"?

First, talk being cheap, Reuters did not have an exclusive; the AP was there and filed pictures, which, naturally, were pretty similar to Reuters' shots. (It took about one minute to check this out.)

The "partners in crime" crack is shallow and short-sighted. Maybe this has never dawned on some people, but Bush is the president.
As president he makes certain appearances (by all means call them photo ops, but he's still president carrying out his job.) Reuters and the AP are news agencies, and, like it or not, part of their job is to photograph and make available to their clients/members pictures of whatever the president does.

Agreeing with what the president does and says is not part of the deal. Newspapers can use whatever they want, and they can use nothing at all. They can print whatever they want in their captions.

Perhaps those deriding the wire services would prefer that all news photos be run past them before distribution, to make sure that the imagined attitudes and subtexts match whatever happens to be the flavor of the day.

The arsonist lurks in the crowd to watch the fire he has set.

"Oooh, let me push the guy in red shirt (#4). It'll make a great photo." Doesn't seem to me that either red shirt guy or his companion, grey shirt guy, are all that happy or impressed to be in the presence of the great one.

One wonders how the coward can look himself in the mirror after witnessing such strength and courage of these men in the face of pain. Surviving beyond hope.

Friends: Am working on an article saying these images are the culmination of the Abu Ghraib (and other) horrors. What we did to others we are in fact now doing to ourselves under Mr. Bush's "supervision."

Arty: It certainly has not escaped my attention that Bush is the president. I remember it everytime I see him milking the war he "lied" us into with "photo ops" giving comfort to men without arms and legs. If that's what you mean by his "doing his job" -- well, I'll stick with my earlier comment. But that's a purely political position and my guess is you and I will just have to agree to disagree on that. I see your point. I just don't share it.

As to the wire services: You say it "their job" to photograph whatever the president does. Who says? That is, when did it become their job to do that? Do they cover everything he does or just some things? And if not everything (and how could they ... their are limitations of time, plus limitations of access) then what gets chosen and what excluded? And why? I don't mean to be disrespectful to photojournalists or the wire services as a matter of course. Indeed, if you follow the work Hariman and I do at you will see that we are very much concerned to argue that photojournalism is an important public art for a democratic public culture and we are not tolerant of too easy criticisms of photojournalism. HOWEVER, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't also interrogate what their job is. To simply say "it is their job" in an unreflective manner is what is shortsighted (in my opinion) and assumes that it is natural and ordinary, that it could not be some other way (better or worse). And just because it is their job doesn't mean they should get a "free pass" when they perform it in way that animates problematic ethical outcomes (either intentionally, inadvertently, or here as a function of the system in which they operate). The critique is a hard one, to be sure, but hardly shallow and if anything looking from a longer perspective than simply assuming that either is just doing their job.

Best, JLL

As The Bag knows, I'm always in favor of combining holistic with discrete responses: in this case holistic means a gestalt of hospital visits along with fundraising visits; visual, wordless testimony in hospitals along with verbal testimony in fundraisers.

Reading the fundraiser comments, after seeing the images, I was stunned--yes, call me naive, after all these these years. But has this man no decency? What is it? Clueless cognitive dissonance? Helpless dissociation from reality? Or just total contempt for the victims of his and his manipulators' inhumane greed?


I think one explanation for the manner/presentation of "red shirt" is because he is blind. In the last quote in the post, he is identified as Lance Cpl. Matthew Bradford who lost both legs and one eye, and was blinded in the other, by an IED.

I'm glad you brought him up, however. I am working on an upcoming post with Wendy Kozol of Oberlin College. The post has to do with how the missile defense industry exploits visual information for propaganda purposes.

What does this have to do with Matthew Bradford? I think people are easily wowed or cowed by technology. As such, I believe BushCo. also exploits this mystique in this photo op to help neutralize the horror, as well as the moral and political implications, of the damage on display. I appreciate Nina's point that the flesh is hard for the spin to overcome. Still, I think BushCo. plays effectively on the idea that technology and U.S. ingenuity, combined with the power of will, is an effective form of compensation (if not, "undoing"). I think this strategy pervades the #6-8 series, for example, which seems to argue, in a twisted way, for a man made even better in bionic form.

And then, perhaps we see something of the same idea when it comes to Bradford himself. If you look at #5, which strikes me as the most peculiar shot of all, we see how Matthew seems to spring up the climbing wall. The tendency is to think that, rehabbed like crazy, this guy can climb that wall as fast or faster than he could with legs and sight. But then, I think that's the point. It's as if the lab has turned him into Spiderman.

Johnny, get your gun, get your gun, get your gun
Take it on the run, on the run, on the run
Hear them calling you and me
Every Son of Liberty
Hurry right away, no delay, go today
Make your Daddy glad to have had such a lad
Tell your sweetheart not to pine,
To be proud her boy's in line

Johnny, get your gun, get your gun, get your gun
Johnny, show the "Hun" you're a son-of-a-gun
Hoist the flag and let her fly
Yankee Doodle, do or die
Pack your little kit, show your grit, do your bit
Yankee to the ranks from the towns and the tanks
Make your Mother proud of you
And the old red-white-and-blue

Over there, over there,
Send the word, send the word over there
That the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming
The drum's rum-tumming everywhere
So prepare, say a prayer,
Send the word, send the word to beware
We'll be over, we're coming over
And we won't come back till it's over, over there

What's missing is any suggestion of what might make the pictures of sideshows like the president's daily activities less "cheap exclusives," and how the wire services, among others, could avoid being "partners in crime."
I'm trying to remember the photo-ops that lead to the Iraq war. Were there shots of Bush waving WMDs around? Bush standing in the desert pointing at a chemical bomb factory? Or did covering a speech or press conference count as being an enabler in the process of war mongering?
Is Bush doing something that's not covered? Does the press turn its back while he kicks puppies during press conferences and teases little children after the White House Christmas party?
Did they edit out all the shots of Bush tripping amputees in San Antonio?
Perhaps before you "interrogate", or rather ask, what their job is, you should call the White House press office and see what the criteria are for accreditation. Then call Reuters or the AP and ask them to run through the editing process with you, and offer your thoughts on how to make coverage match your desired version of events.
I'm guessing that "animates problematic ethical outcomes" is supposed to mean "tells lies." This isn't a hard critique, it's just a silly one. If you want press coverage that meets your biases, switch sides and watch FOX.
In the meantime, continue to reprint vast amounts of photos from the sometimes ethically challenged mainstream press. It may not always meet your taste but it's free, isn't it, thanks to a footnote in the copyright laws, and, when all else fails, it's a great target.

My comment happens to be the first one. I had a time zone advantage since I live in Europe. While you were sleeping I dared to totally miss the message that is discussed here. I'm a picture editor at a newspaper. An agency representing Reuters in Poland sent me a gallery of those images early morning Nov 9. An agency’s picture editor who sent the gallery round to major picture desks in this country titled her email ironically: "And he saw his masterpiece". In my newspaper we understood those pictures as rather anti-Bush, really disapproving of the war.
Poland is a country with a rich propaganda history. To me calling this propaganda, would mean calling propaganda some 30 per cent of the images I see daily on the wire. From all parts of the world. How can we call anything that is straight news photography propaganda? I understand that it was all photo-op and that everything was prepared and staged but this is how things look like nowadays. This thing happened and it was reported. It is photographers’ duty to shoot the best they can; it is agencies’ duty to provide unbiased, reliable images;it is newspapers’ right to publish whatever they want, and in a way they want. Let's imagine that an agency doesn't send a photographer to the event or refuses to publish pictures on the wire. Wouldn't that be interpreted as bias? It is just not fair to criticize wire photographs on such political grounds. Show me one image that carries signs of photographer's/agency's intentional bias.
I find the ban to photograph in rehabilitation centres really scandalous. But we can't discredit those photo-ops because of that, can we? I hope that those images will be used wisely by the media.
Reading most of the comments I had an impression that American society must be cut off from news and if anything like that is shown public people would suddenly start to think that Bush is in fact a good, caring, loving father. In the age of globalism however, such primitive propaganda would not work.

Personally I look at those pictures with a sense of pity towards both the injured and Bush. Yes, I do dare to feel pity for the monster. I can't imagine any human being not being affected by the palpable sight of horror they have caused. I'm sure those faces will haunt him forever. No matter what he says in public. Also, try to imagine how those pictures will be interpreted in the future: in ten years. Will they still carry a propaganda message that is mentioned here or quite the opposite? The Bag, Michael Shaw wrote in an introduction to this blog:

"Unlike other blogs, BAGnewsNotes is not commentary based on a photo’s circumstances, or the use of an image as illustration simply for stand-alone political critique. BAGnewsNotes is all about the pictures"
I feel that in this case there is much more talking about circumstances then the pictures.

The pictures at the Brooke center were shot by all three major news agencies. Not just Reuters, which Arty pointed out. And the photographers were:

John Davenport, Pool/AP
Gerald Herbert/AP
Jim Young/Reuters

Bush did not go to Brooke for the sake of wounded soldiers. He went to a fundraiser for John Cornyn, and made a stop at the Burn Unit to engage in a photo op.

These shots are striking, the contrast between the powerful, older, able-bodied Bush (wearing a dark suit, of course) stands against the light, casual clothing and the overwhelmingly broken bodies. He 'caused' that, essentially, but pretends otherwise when playing the video simulator, and simultaneously, the social game of hugs and smiles between 'breaker' and 'broken' plays out. It's shocking, and I'm not easily shocked after the last few years! These are images we'll continue to see, and should... Impeach and Imprison, I think...(have you called your Reps today?)

The Bag made a very clever obversation about pictures 6-8 --- and the idea that "technology and U.S. ingenuity, combined with the power of will, is an effective form of compensation." This has been the prevailing view in most of the images about the wounded. Look at those great computer legs. Look at the great battlefield medicine. See what we can do to patch up bodies. Meet the great doctors and staff who tend to our boys. They can house skulls in torsos and make toes into fingers. These images smooth everything over. People get excited and upbeat by the gadgets (just like the video simulator) and never look at the reason for the gadgets. I see this time and again and it is always what is trotted out for the press corps.

One point of interest I would like to add. Why did the quote Bush at the fundraiser via a cellphone? And why did we see no images from the fundraiser? Because the press is never allowed into fundraisers!

Kinga Kenig wrote: "Personally I look at those pictures with a sense of pity towards both the injured and Bush. Yes, I do dare to feel pity for the monster. I can't imagine any human being not being affected by the palpable sight of horror they have caused. I'm sure those faces will haunt him forever. No matter what he says in public."

No, Kinga, you don't understand something. Bush has no conscience. He sleeps well at night. He has no nightmares, and he has confessed as much in interviews, almost boastfully. If he is haunted by something, it isn't the thousands of lives he has destroyed.

American Society is not "cut off from the news", we have been cut off from The Truth.


Although there are some important differences between us on this issue, I don’t think in the end we are all that far apart from one another. The difference seems to be that you are comfortable with current media practices for covering such events and I am somewhat skeptical. I think that’s a good tension and not one that we should let get away – one way or the other – too easily. Yes, the media have a job to do. But there was a time when journalism was not driven by the ethic of “objectivity” and “balance,” but by a more partisan representation of events. We can talk about whether that is a good thing or a bad thing, but for my purposes what is important about it is that it means things could be different than they are, i.e., the media operates in a world where they have made some choices somewhere along the way as to how they will decide what to cover and what not, and how to cover it. And at the moment that they make such choices and broadcast them they become at least partially culpable. When they report a speech of the president warning Iraq to submit or suffer the consequences they are enablers--if not as individuals, at least as an institution. I’m not comfortable saying that this is just how it is. And when they report events that are clearly photo-opportunities (because that is all they are allowed to cover), and they go along with all of the restrictions (for whatever reasons … economic, civic responsibility, etc.) they are complicit. How could they not be?

You ask, what would make them less “partners in crime”? That’s a very good question. One we should seriously consider. For me it would require some fairly radical changes in the news industry, including an upfront recognition that what is being reported as “the news” is quite often being constructed by politically interested parties in part because they know that the media (who rely on such events) will dutifully report it. Are there instances of the President kicking puppies or tripping (or tripping over) amputees. I don’t know, but that is because I only know what they report. That does not mean I think they should stop doing “their job” and printing lots of pictures. Indeed, I agree with you that the more the better. BUT I also think it means that the citizenry needs to responsibly and actively engage those images, and to raise questions about the motivations for what is and is not shown, and why what is being shown is being shown when it is, and on and on. That’s why websites like this are so terribly important. We need more discussion and debate about the images and media practices, not less. And we need to be constantly vigilant in discussing what the job of the media is. So, to be perfectly honest, I resent the claim that the critique is silly. It might be wrong. But I can’t think of a more important critique that we could be making.

With All Due Respect, JLL

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