Sunday, January 13, 2013

Today in visual journalism

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a photo above its headline probably says something about the general zeitgeistliness of the story beneath. In this case, then, what does the Obama-as-joker photo say about "Group to build armed neighborhood fortress"?

The link is to a report at,  an offspring of the Media Resource Center purportedly aimed at those who "put a higher premium on balance than spin." (It seems at last to have reached The Fox Nation as well, though with a slightly different illustration.) The point is roughly the same: Armed loonies are planning an HOA-free community somewhere in the wilds of Idaho in which they can sit around and take "pride in American exceptionalism" together. Plus schools!

What makes this news today is a different question. McClatchy had the story last month (thanks to the Boise paper), and the Colbert Report took a swipe at it last week. The well-attested news value of "timeliness" doesn't seem to be playing much of a role here.*

Why is the Kenyan Muslim usurper's smirk the right way to illustrate a story about Our Freedom Fighters heading off to the hills to await the next remake of Red Dawn? Let's suggest another case of creeping Goldsteinism: If something's wrong with America, it has to be the fault of the chief enemy of the Party, and that'll be the uppity Maoist you see before you.

It's going to be a long four years.

* Dear friends at the New York Times: If you'd like to consider this your cue to start ignoring Matt Drudge and instead return to grownup news-gathering practices, go right ahead.

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