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26 posts categorized "Convention '08 Live"

Aug 27, 2008

One Verge Of Nomination, Obama The Menace

Oct-06-Time-Obama   Time-Obama-Dnc-Cover

As the convention pivots, turning its attention to the nominee, I'm concerned in advance as to how the traditional media will frame (poor choice of words, I hope) Barack Obama.  If the cover of TIME's convention preview is any indication, however, we're in trouble.  (By the way, I have examples in hand of three more convention-related publication covers that will really trouble you.  I just need to find a scanner from the middle of the media/blogging beehive I'm in to bring them to you.)

Compare the new TIME cover with their October '06 edition when Obama was still, what they termed, a "fresh face" (as opposed to a man, they see now, as having at least five of them).   What was a smile then has turned toward a grimace.  The eyes are slightly narrowed conveying more wariness, even skepticism.  And then, in place of the white background and the proclamation of a title, Obama floats ominously in the dark, the color contrast and his merger with the shadows making him darker as well.

(image 1: Barack Obama, image 2: Platon for TIME)

Our Man On The Floor: What Hillary Put Her Finger On

Last word on Hillary vs. Barack -- a subject that has received far too much attention. (From us included). 

Being close enough to the ground yesterday to get it first hand, the Clinton folks and the Obama folks really don't (and might never) get along that well.  That said, tension beyond the inner circle (as much as the media wants to endlessly game it) is just not that evident here. 

It's hard to say how it carried at home, but what made the Clinton speech so thoroughly electric here last night is that it activated and (finally) integrated two completely different sentiments often contradicting each other throughout the '08 Democratic race:  The pride felt by so many women for the historic Clinton candidacy and the intense desire (which I can't emphasize enough as the fundamental and overriding hunger you feel here in everyone of all colors and stripes) to win.

Once again, I think "Our Man On The Floor" captured it pretty neatly.

(All images © Alan Chin.  Denver. 2008)

Our Man On The Floor: Beyond The Glamour And The Power


Yesterday morning, the driver at our hotel gave us a ride downtown.

When we told him the last shuttle bus leaving the Pepsi Center the night before took an hour just to exit the complex, he got irritated.  He told us the city had invited hundreds of limo drivers to town to ferry people back and forth from the convention.  Then, as time got close, the city got panicked about the security situation -- even more than they were already -- and decided to hire a fleet of buses to handle the job instead.  Not only did these limo drivers -- some who had come from as far away as Missouri -- get stuck with hotel rooms, the city also cut a deal with SuperShuttle so that arriving visitors at the airport were directed to them while these limos languished outside.

The man in this photo isn't the one who gave us the ride.  He's a guy working a concession stand at the Pepsi Center who just stepped out for a smoke.  But, beyond the glamour and power on display this week, I'm wondering what his story might be.

(image © Alan Chin.  Denver. 2008)

The Democratic Flag

2008 08 25T233618 450X321 Us Usa Politics

DNC Guest Post by Cara Finnegan, First Efforts

This image led the Yahoo! News Tuesday morning DNC slideshow on Michelle Obama's speech.

It's a still version of the cut-away-to-delegates shot that is a staple of television's coverage of conventions. The candidate mentions Medicare? Show a shot of an elderly woman! The candidate mentions civil rights? Find an African American delegate in the audience!  But this image is different, and I suspect we'll be seeing many more of its kind this week.

It's an image of listening, as Illinois delegate Margie Woods focuses on Michelle Obama's speech. But it's also an image of watching and perhaps even recognition. You'd like to think that the white man behind Woods recognizes the historical weight of this moment – if not for himself than for the African American woman holding the flag. The flag, visually at least, connects them both.

(image: Brian Snyder/Reuters.  caption: Illinois delegate Margie Woods listens to Michelle Obama addressing the opening session of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, August 25, 2008.)

Aug 26, 2008

Our Man On The Floor: The Michelle (And Biden) Buzz

Blogging from a convention is like being in one bubble inside of another, what with the security zones and our various reporting locations inside and outside the convention arena.  The message we get from "Our Man On The Floor," the incomparable photojournalist Alan Chin, however (who has short-circuited the logistical complications most by virtue of the bicycle) is that there is a wonderful buzz building around both Michelle Obama and Joe Biden.

Alan filed these powerful images from Obama's appearance this morning at the Colfax Event Center, in which Biden made a surprise appearance. 

(Images © Alan Chin.  Denver. 2008)

The Second Time as Farce

Protester Flips The Bird

DNC Guest Post by Robert Hariman, No Caption Needed

Shots of the "free speech zone" set up in a distant back lot of the convention may evoke some sympathy for those protesting at the DNC, but this photo reveals what really is at stake: not much.  For all the supposed defiance, you can see that the rally is all about playing revolutionary and having fun.  Flipping the bird was a part of the 60s protests, and so you see it reprised here. But we are a long way from the anger--the rage--and risks taken then.  Also a long way from something else: the convention of the party that actually controls the White House.

(image: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post, Aug 24, 2008)

Our Man On The Floor: The Teddy And Michelle Show

From Nathan Stormer:

Michelle's speech was all in all pretty fluffy but it countered the McCain nonsense about a reckless elitist about as much as any ad ever could.   Extremely humanizing.

Along with Teddy coming back to roar, the family moment with the Obama's was actually great.  David Brooks just burped up a stupid criticism that Michelle did not normalize Obama enough because America sees him as a messiah.  Hogwash.  That is the best he could do?

Until Kennedy, I thought the massive spectical emphasized the hollow procedure of a convention, missing all the passion and commitment.  But Teddy made the set go away and brought it to the human level it needed to be at.

From Dalia Lithwick/Slate:

What I loved best about Michelle Obama's speech tonight was that it was fearless, but in a very different way from the fearlessness modeled by Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi. Here is a woman with a degree from Harvard Law School, who could have talked about law and policy and poverty, and yet she talked about her kids, her husband, and her family. And she didn't do that merely to show us that smart women are soft and cuddly on the inside. She did what everyone else in this campaign is terrified to do: She risked looking sappy and credulous and optimistic when almost everyone has abandoned "hope" and "change" for coughing up hairballs of outrage.  (More.)

From Alan Chin ...

What the presentation tonight showed is blue state America, at least the urban, educated wing of the Democratic alliance.  There wasn't a lot of press on this, but the show tonight -- including Michelle's sister and brother -- showed the party as multi-state, multi-region, multi-ethnic, muti-race, multi-everything.  It was the real America.  This campaign goes beyond a discussion of race, as fixated on by the mostly white media. 

If there is one useful thing this convention does is show that.  Of course, the right wing will hate this.  They will probably say that the Obama children were exploited for talking to their Dad when Obama said they wouldn't be used in the campaign.  But what Monday night showed what nice, educated people sitting around having fun, in this case, talking to each other using Skype.  The right wing will hate this because it wasn't about paranoid fear and loathing.  It wasn't about hate or the bible.  It was about normal America.

(All images © Alan Chin.  Denver. 2008)


Our Man On The Floor: Lingering Feelings


(click for full size)

Signs of trouble?

(Hillary on tonight.)

(All images © Alan Chin.  Denver. 2008)

Aug 25, 2008

Denver Not Quite A Riot

Riot Gear

The most disjointed element of Monday's visual convention coverage involved the media exploiting the security angle.

The Denver Post's lead convention page was filled solid with references to demonstrations that "could have" gotten out of hand, not to mention the rumor of an Obama assassination plot.  The NYT's unsettling slide show, "Guarding The Party," offered shots of the Pepsi Center through a fence, lending the feeling of an armed camp; a creepy isolation shot of a hovering police helicopter; and still another of secret service personnel, at a far distance, on the roof of the arena.

In the example above, pulled from the same series, we see a head on shot of a riot officer, the anonymity, the robo-feel and the scale conveying a sense of siege.  In contrast, Monday not only seemed orderly (this photo taken Sunday, by the way), but, according to Lindsay Beyerstein of Majiktheise, the main protest of the day received next-to-no visibility because of the ingenious way the "free speech zones" (shades of the Olympics) rendered any reasonable protest virtually unknown to the delegates and powers that be.

(view of Pepsi Center from designated protest area,
locally dubbed "
the Freedom Cage")

Beyerstein Protest
(Outer perimeter of convention zone, also designated as a "protest corridor"
for permitted marches.  Courtesy Lindsay Beyerstein/
photo thread.)

You see, the reason the scale of this photo is so manipulative to the folks at home -- along with the explanation for why there's a sense of an armed camp and why the Secret Service and the roof is so far away -- is not because of the protest threat, real or imagined, but because of the way the branded "Pepsi" Center -- just like the Olympic Stadium in Beijing -- is so walled off from the city, and so controlled by layers and layers of check points and access layers that the image above, and the slide show overall, really demonstrates the overwhelming power of the (corporate) police state.

updated: 9:05 CST

(image: Todd Heisler/The New York Times.  August 25, 2008.  Denver)

Hillary's Exit

Clinton Dnc Exit

This shot was taken Monday morning as Hillary Clinton addressed the NY delegation.  Apparently, tensions remain between the Clinton and Obama camps sustaining a level of drama regarding the convention roll call and release of delegates.

This image, by Max Whittaker of Getty, simply if cleverly captures the primary plot line of this convention so far, which is the push-and-pull between Hillary's dignity and determination and her ultimate exit.

More Clinton Angst At Convention Than I Expected (Joe Trippi)
PUMAs on the march (Politico)

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