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Aug 30, 2005

Wingnut Watch: Cindy the Political Football

Cindyalsmall

Cindyalwide

I posted an analysis two weeks ago at The Agonist anticipating how the right-wing would attack Cindy Sheehan as a media phenomenon.  I'm not sure why they took so long, but the offensive is finally in full swing. 

Little Green Footballs (via nationaljournal.com) juxtaposed two images on Sunday showing Cindy Sheehan and Al Sharpton -- one a tight shot, and the other from a wider angle.  The point was to demonstrate the relatively small group of protesters in relation to the amount of press. 

As if the pictures themselves represent some sort of indictment, LGF posted them with little elaboration -- except to say that the event was "manufactured."  In the comment thread, the readers hype the allegation that the media is making events in Crawford seem more substantive than they really are.  In ascribing motive, many point to left-wing media bias.

Although the images seem to make a point, it's really much ado about nothing.  Back in March (when I was more naive as to these types of happenings), The BAG was complaining about much the same thing in regard to the Terri Schiavo circus.  Just like at Camp Casey, the media was giving plenty of play to the emphatic demonstrations of a relatively small group of people at "Camp Terri" in Pinellas Park, Florida.

Wolcott1Rev

Here, for example, was actually a very "Cindy-esque" shot of two women (count 'em) at the infamous fence just beyond the hospice.  (For some inexplicable reason, the photo was published by that radical left-wing mouth piece known as the NY Times.)

For the purpose of comparison, however, here is the two-shot series I offered at the time:

Wolcott3-1

In this tighter shot, it would seem that teeming hoards of pro-life demonstrators have converged on the Governor's mansion to rally around the Schiavo parents and demand action.

Wolcott4-1

In this wider shot from the reverse angle, however, it's clear that the ratio of protesters-to-media is likely no different than the one in the Pigskin's supposed "smoking gun" photo above.

LGF and the like are not really upset about these pictures, though.  They understand that small human dramas regularly come to symbolize larger political issues, and stir up strong feelings at both ends of the political spectrum.

Rather, they're upset because Cindy Sheehan has punctured the government's denial and emotional cover-up of the human cost the country has been paying for Bush's phony war.  And, what is getting them the most worked up is the difficulty Bush is having in staunching his own political loss of blood. 

(image 1 & 2: AP Photo/LM Otero. Crawford, Texas, August 28, 2005. Yahoo News via Little Green Footballs. image 3: James Estrin for The New York Times; image 4: Carlos Barri/Reuters in YahooNews; image 5: Steve Cannon/AP in YahooNews)

Comments

Good comments on the photos.

Larger issue-- how can it possibly be that some single unattached unknown private citizen has become the focus and the leading spokesperson for those opposed to Bush's Quagmire?

What a circus.

What a glaring display of weakness on the liberals' side. Does the Democratic Party even exist ??

No Mad, sadly, the Demacratic Party is only the left wing of the Republican Government.

Combining the photos of these two events is brilliant. Nice Bag. The top shot looks like a media manger scene.

"Larger issue-- how can it possibly be that some single unattached unknown private citizen has become the focus and the leading spokesperson for those opposed to Bush's Quagmire?"

because Cindy has a spine and a moral conscience or is just pissed off enough to refrain from silence any longer while the other 'leaders' are.... well, not.

OT: I hate when people use the abbreviation "LGF" for that wingnut asylum Little Green Footballs. LGF is also an abbreviation and the stock market symbol for a great company - Lions Gate Films. They were the ones who distributed F-9/11. FWIW it would be better not to get these two mixed up.

"They understand that small human dramas regularly come to symbolize larger political issues, and stir up strong feelings at both ends of the political spectrum."

I find this to be the most summarizing and striking element to any of these arguments. Not to say "I called it before the BAG" here but when the whole Cindy Sheehan issue emerged I immediately thought of how fascinating your analysis of the Terri coverage was in this same light. I LOVE the effect of tight crops versus their pulled back counterparts that show off this swarming parade of booms and camera equiptment...regardless of which direction you're swayed by the images, it concretely indicates an infectous quality to our political activity and social-political interests in the media. Yes, scenes are set up. Yes, there is still a form of candid, honest photojournalism. But ultimately it's a back-and-forth game that, like it has been pointed out here, merely serves to single out a third element that should not be disregarded.

The felling of the statue of Saddam was a case where tight vs. no cropping meant all the difference between Bush victory and hopelessly staged propaganda.

Yesterday..."Dennis Means from the A.I.M. came with a group of Native American musicians and they made a presentation to me. He gave me a shawl in the tradition of Tecumseh and he pinned a brooch of 5 stars on it from "One chief to another." He also said we should all change our last names to Sheehan and he will be known as: Dennis Means Sheehan! Sheehan is Gaelic for "Peace" which I think is such a cool thing, and not a coincidence. Casey Sheehan's sacrifice will stand for peace forever."

The first time I saw a telling comparison of close-up photos versus a panned-back image was the toppling of the Saddam statue, where the press and US soldiers prolly outnumbered the Iraqis (who may have been Chalabi plants anyway.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article2842.htm

The cameras and the microphone extensions seem to form a spider, in teh 2nd picture.

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