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First thing you need to know is that different versions of this scene, by different photographers, were all over the media yesterday. Second, most captions dutifully reflected the Administration's mixed metaphor, Obama announcing his off-shore drilling proposal against this militaristic backdrop in the name of America's "energy security."
Is America so sold on endless war that a terrifying piece of military hardware (and/or a humongous flag) becomes the automatic choice to sell just about anything? And, If Obama is going to use a fighter plane to sell off-short drilling, isn't the visual media just as entitled to call him out on it by "pointing the prop" back at him?
(photo: Luke Sharrett/The New York Times. caption: President Obama inspected a new biofuel F-18 "Green Hornet" after delivering a speech on energy security at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington. Mr. Obama proposed to open vast expanses of American coastlines to oil and natural gas drilling in his remarks.)
Seems The Economist got this exactly backward. After a year of taking his lumps, Obama came out of the health care battle relatively unscathed while the GOP -- the "party of NO!" -- was pretty torn up.
Further, I find the head bandage -- out of context like this -- not just creepy but eerily consistent with all far-right signs and protests we've seen reproduced in the visual media threatening or suggesting harm to the President.
(photo-illustration: The Economist. photo: not attributed online.)
So his neighbor said he didn't think it was a big deal David Stone (top row, far left) was in a militia and that people were regularly coming-and-going next door in military fatigues?
With all the venom coming out of the health care protests and with all the attention being showered on the angry and threatening Teabaggers, it was a relief to see these photos of a three state bust on Monday, the F.B.I. breaking up a Christian militia group planning a series of attacks in an attempt to spark "an antigovernment uprising."
Why has this photo been in so many media galleries over the past few days?
Taking editorial matters into its own hands, the visual media suggests Benedict can't look the public in the eye and can't hide behind Palm Sunday when it comes to the Vatican's sexual abuse cover up.
Update 3/31/10: Jay from Denver just forwarded this. More extreme variation on same theme:
(photo 1: Franco Origlia/Getty Images. caption: Pope Benedict XVI attends Palm Sunday Mass on March 28, 2010 in Vatican City, Vatican. The Pope is now facing pressure over abuse allegations which involved the German, the American and the Irish Catholic Church.)
In a disturbing trend (as you can see in this recent Flickr photo of Michele Bachmann), we're starting to see more examples of political types in the presence of hate imagery.
(photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images. Searchlight, Nevada. Mar 27 2010. caption: Former US vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her husband Todd Palin greet the crowd as she arrives to speak.)
Talk about killing four or five birds with one stone.
Obama simultaneously: knocks the Tea Party out of the news cycle with his Afghan drop-in (and, take that, NCAA!); illustrates his stronger grip following the big health care win; lets McChrystal and Eikenberry know who's boss (a lot more convincingly than that last attempt); puts McChystal directly on the spot, given that the surge was really the General's idea; and, with this over-the-top, supreme chairman-like set up, leaves both men almost cowering over all the Afghan civilians we've been bumping off in waging our high profile hearts-and-minds campaign.
(photo: Pete Souza/White House. caption: President Barack Obama meets with U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, left, and Gen. Stanley McChrystal at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan, March 28, 2010.)
In this HuffPo-style triptych, these photos -- coming by way of a Second Amendment rally at the Kentucky State Capitol on Saturday -- present us: a.) more flaunting of firearms in public and in front of the media in the name of, yes, more firearm rights, and b.) more evidence of how we can expect to be inundated by the Tea Party show until Congress returns to work two weeks from now.
The second photo is notable for juxtaposing a Republican candidate for Senate with a good American citizen wearing cammo and brandishing a rifle. I'm interested in your take on this shot, in particular. From where I sit, it speaks to the kind of intimidation all GOP pols and candidates are feeling from the far right these days. Here's a larger version of photo 1, by the way. The shirt reads: If We Don't Hang Together, We All Hang Separately.
This speaks to the fine line the Teabaggers are treading between protesting and advocating violence. Here, the hammer-and-sickle look enough like a symbol, rather than the letter "C," to make the sign start out reading like a death threat. And because the media, at the start of this Congressional recess, is already fixated on these so-called "showdowns," the public is likely to be inundated with this kind of conscious and unconscious Tea Party messaging for several weeks.