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March 12, 2006

Anti-Anti-Me

Warner1

For all those interested in the Democratic presidential race for ‘08, you can all go home now.

Besides the clown shot of former Virginia Governor Mark Warner on the cover of the NYT Mag, there are two other photos of him inside the lead article (The Fallback – link) along with a seven image thumbnail sequence.  (All the inside pics, by the way, were taken by master photojournalist, David Burnett).

The first inside shot shows Warner speaking against a white curtained background as a blanked out silhouette.  The second inside shot shows Warner in a New Hampshire yogurt factory, but all we see of him is his back.  The seven image sequence features smallish pics of Warner in a hotel room practicing a speech.  The sense, reinforced by the article, illustrates that Warner is not sure of what he wants to say.

If you’re looking for some insight into the Democratic presidential horse race, Matt Bai’s article is as encouraging as a coroners report.  As best I understand, it informs us that:

a.) HIllary is a lock.

b.) If Hillary is not a complete lock, she’ll end up with one challenger who will need a near-perfect streak of luck to reasonably compete.

c.) It’s possible Hillary could be challenged by someone backed by the liberal net/blogosphere.

d.) Warner could be that challenger, and has hired some blogospheric talent to make that happen.

e.) Only problem is, Warner is far too conservative for the liberal blogosphere.

f.)  Despite that, Warner is probably still the best bet to challenge Hillary.

g.) But, maybe not.

Note to the NYT:  Thanks for acknowledging the liberal net.  The reason why we exist, however, is because of dumb articles like this implying that: the party power brokers can ultimately pick any nominee they want; the guy (or girl) with the most money always wins; and MSM campaign coverage has been reduced to the substance of a Miss America pageant.  (By the way, I loved the explanation why Bill Richardson is going nowhere:  Besides being too aggressive, he pokes his female lieutenant governor at official functions.)

I find this cover photo troubling.  Who wants to be introduced to the presidential race simply as a stalking horse?  And, speaking of horses, what kind of lens produced this freakish horsey-faced assault on the reader by Warner’s teeth and nose?  If the NYT really is left-leaning, why a caricature in an instance that calls for portraiture?  The party has enough trouble without encountering supposedly friendly media visually transforming it’s ‘08 hopefuls into used car salesmen.

(Alexei Hay for The New York Times. March 12, 2006. NYT Magazine. Cover.)

  • hauksdottir

    The evenly white teeth and perfect skin tones make him look like a Norman Rockwell illustration. (This is NOT a compliment, since Rockwell cheated and applied fakery.)
    Any true portrait photographer would have used a longer lens to minimize the distortion, but I suspect this one wanted the subject to look like a donkey. If the candidate approved the image… he is!
    Carolly

  • marysz

    Look at the contrast between the hideous picture of Warner with the fawning photo of Rick Santorum on an earlier NYTimes magazine cover. The Times really went out of their way to choose the worst photograph possible of Warner. Is it because they’re pro-Hillary? We’ll see how flattering the photos of her are as the campaign starts to heat up. The photograph of Warner is ugly, but it’s not a reflection on his masculinity. But an equally unflattering photograph of a female candidate would would imply that she lacks femininity and is somehow grotesque.

  • Purple

    And what’s with the shiny, overlit forehead?

  • JJF

    That dental work isn’t going to get Warner to the White House. In fact, my first thought while looking at the picture yesterday was that if this is what he looks like close up, he’s doomed. The button by his lapel could have just as well read, “What, me worry?”
    I had seen Warner in an interview a few weeks ago, on CNN, I think. Another plastic politician was how he came across. The only talk about him comes from inside the beltway, where he know doubt has some friends, but if this is the Democratic savior, then I’m looking for another party.

  • readytoblowagasket

    I don’t know why, but this photo reminded me of Richard Nixon.
    http://www.nndb.com/people/110/000024038/richard-m-nixon-sm.jpg

  • ned550

    This troubling photo reminds me of “JR ‘Bob’ Dobbs,” the imaginary icon of the “Church of the Sub-Genius.” See for yourself.
    http://www.subgenius.com/Graffix/dobbs.jpg
    Whatever the intent of the article, the photos tell a far more potent, and clearly damaging, tale about Warner.

  • PTate in MN

    I took an instant dislike to Warner based on this cover picture because he reminds me of our Minnesota Republican senator, smiling, toothsome Norm Coleman. Coleman is a manipulative Bush poodle who makes my skin crawl. “Ewww!” is about the most positive thing I can say about him.
    Still, anyone but Hillary.
    The photos suggest that Warner has an uphill challenge. He is trying the role on for size, but is still trying to commit.

  • Cactus

    My first thought was “mouth-full-o-teeth-Keith” from the old Beanie & Cecil puppet show. Then I noticed his Mr. Spock ears. I don’t know if it’s just this shot, or if it’s him, but this photo just screams ’slimy politician.’ The head is slightly down so that he is looking up thru those heavy eyebrows; not an image to inspire trust.
    I’m sure he thinks he’s quite handsome. However, with those ears, teeth, eyebrows, nose and square chin he will be a cartoonists delight.
    And I wish we could all get over the idea that the NYT is left. It has been slipping to the right since the Pentagon Papers and is now solidly ensconced on the right hand of the right wing. Get over it. If we want a reliable left media we’ll have to convince some of our famous rich lefties to part with their recent tax reductions and pony up.

  • http://www.enzotitolo.blogspot.com Enzo Titolo

    I think the comment about Alfred E. Newman / MAD magazine art is appropos. The Times is trying to make anyone not named Clinton appear ridiculous for running against Hillary.
    This is similar to how the Main Stream Media made Gore to be a ‘ridiculous’ and ‘boring’ ‘liar’ for running against a Bush, even though being a Senator, Congressman and Vice-President to a popular and successful President during an era of prosperity used to be good enough for America. Now, we have an exciting Presidency with a trusted blue blood brand name fronting for a gang of serial liars in office, pillaging the world economy and environment.
    What *is* ridiculous is that our nation takes this family dynasty thing seriously. I feel like we are in Ancient Rome in the Empire era with a tinge of Marcos/Aquino’s Phillipines, DuValier’s Haiti, or Kim’s North Korea! How else could an incompetant, mass-killing, thieving joker like Bush2 become President at all?
    I’m also riffing on the ‘horsey’ look because of the horse race coverage approach towards politics that our media takes. In addition, the Democrats are the Mule or Ass party, and the cover art-photography makes Warner kind of look that way.
    I know from personal negative experience with the NY Times that they approach analysis-backgrounder stories, especially in the Magazine, with a slant in mind — and the image-making is part of that message.
    That they used an unflattering photo like this by Alexei Hay blatantly demonstrates how they shoot this candidate down even as they introduce him to the rest of the American public that is not yet familiar with him. I’m pretty involved with politics and I have very few impressions of Mark Warner before reading the article.
    Hay’s photographs can be ‘painterly,’ or looking like illustrations, but they are not always so unflattering. He is a fashion and art photographer. They could have pulled back a bit. Then there’s that button high up on his lapel with the Donkey/Ass and the question: “The Anti-Hillary?” I doubt that Warner was wearing that button or any button there.
    So as not to undermine the NYT Mag’s cover hatchet job on Warner’s visage, the smaller photographs on the article’s interior either show his body from the rear or from a distance so that he doesn’t connect with the viewer as a real person.
    The nerve of someone not named Bush or Clinton to run for office in our country! There’s passle of Bushes, and Jeb is next. Then there’s all those younger multicultural Bushes, and Chelsea’s growing up, too. There just isn’t enough room in our collective conscious to consider Warner. Why drink RC Cola when there’s Coke versus Pepsi everywhere?

  • dalemac

    JJF nailed it. There was something haunting about that image. After racking the brain…It’s NIXON. I think it’s the nose… kinda pinnochio long… the kind they make into a caricature.

  • ummabdulla

    I had to go and look at some other photos of Mark Warner, and they don’t look like this at all.
    Enzo Titolo: “What *is* ridiculous is that our nation takes this family dynasty thing seriously. I feel like we are in Ancient Rome in the Empire era with a tinge of Marcos/Aquino’s Phillipines, DuValier’s Haiti, or Kim’s North Korea! How else could an incompetant, mass-killing, thieving joker like Bush2 become President at all?”
    Good point… and something that’s not really analyzed much, is it? I don’t think the original idea of this “great democracy” was to have a political class at all, much less political families who wield power generation after generation.

  • readytoblowagasket

    PTate in MN said: “Still, anyone but Hillary.”
    That’s how Jeb’s going to get elected.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/browneyedgirl65/ BEG

    I had Nixon flashbacks, too.
    I hate to see the demo party self destruct again, which it will do if Clinton gets the nomination. She will not be electable, unfortunately.

  • readytoblowagasket

    BEG said: “I hate to see the demo party self destruct again, which it will do if Clinton gets the nomination. She will not be electable, unfortunately.”
    No other Democrat is electable either; 2000 and 2004 should have taught us that. But it’s imperative that a Democrat be elected. However, if we bomb Iran, which appears imminent, there might not be a 2008 worth arguing about anyway. Is Hillary worse than nuclear fallout (since we are aiming at Iran’s nuclear facilities)?

  • mark d.

    there’s a correct in the 3/14/06 NYT re this photo: the color was screwed up due to an error.

  • hauksdottir

    Even if the color was slightly off (artisticly warm rather than coldly real), that still doesn’t explain the toothiness. Warner thinks he is suave and handsome (like George Hamilton), so the photographer obliged. At least he isn’t snarling like Cheney!
    Apparently there are some thumbnail shots available, maybe through the PAC? Perhaps Michael can get his hands on them, given the analytical nature of this website?
    ***********************
    ““When these photos were shown to me, this was the most striking and the most original,” Mr. Marzorati said. “I feel like my job is to use the cover to get people inside the magazine to read things.”
    But what opens magazines doesn’t often please politicians. Last Friday, Mr. Warner’s Forward Together P.A.C. sent an e-mail to 12,000 supporters carrying alternate images shot by Mr. Hay with a digital camera. In a series of three thumbnail photos, Mr. Warner appears with a blue shirt and navy blazer, his face an ordinary pink. (His facial expressions, however, could be seen as goofy in their own right; the Warner camp declined to provide higher-resolution versions, referring requests to Mr. Hay. Mr. Hay also declined to share them, saying the photos were Times property.)”
    ****************************
    http://www.observer.com/20060320/20060320_gabriel_sherman_pageone_featurebox.asp
    Carolly

  • Sarah B.

    Creepy!
    Gov. Mark Warner looks like one of those dreaded animal-human hybrid clones that Bush warned us about in his State of the Union speech.
    And with those uber-ample teeth, Warner could make do just fine on a steady diet of switch grass!
    Finally, kudos to Carolly for nailing the Norman Rockwell illustration quality to the Warner pic — there was something particularly troubling about the creepy hyper-realism inherent in this “portrait” and the the Rockwell association absolutely nails it!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  • http://bazungubucks.blogspot.com/ John Powers

    Warner wears lavender shirts? I saw a photo of Cheney wearing a pink tie too. I can’t figure out why Warner’s shirt color would bother me, except I’m old enough to associate white or blue shirts and a tie as a sign of decorum; being appropriately dressed almost anywhere. So I want clothes politicians wear to reflect “we’re in this together” above personal taste.

  • Jon

    You people are idiots.
    If you knew anything about photography you would know how easy it is to make someone look ugly.
    This picture was taken with a really wide angle lens, focused close. It would make Brad Pitt look like a clown. Its just a stupid picture!
    As far as Mark Warner goes, here in Virginia is hugely popular: popular with the hard core activists, and popular with the moderates.
    Why? Because he has won for us, at the very same time the national party was taking bruise after bruise.
    He won the Governor’s mansion right after 9/11, the year the Dems lost the senate.
    He beat the Republicans in the State House, And he was absolutely critical in Kaine’s victory this fall.
    I come from an area that is straight down the line Republican, and the only Democrats these people would ever vote for are Mark Warner or Barak Obama.
    Plain and simple, if Warner got the nomination, VA (and its 13 electoral votes!!!) would go Dem, and so would the White House.

  • Beanhauer

    The NYT correction seems hollow, given that the “accidental” picture is still on the web site. The NYT photo editor was on NPR’s Day to Day yesterday, and I found her completely disingenuous. She said photography was subjective, people react all different ways to photographs, etc….as if she just had NO IDEA this picture was unflattering. I’d say as a photo editor at the NYT, (1) I can assume that you don’t ever have printing errors and (2) you know exactly what impression you’re giving with a picture. If you’re stunned at people’s negative reaction to a photo and accidentally make a blue suit purple you wouldn’t survive at the Detroit Free Press, let alone the paper of record for the country.

  • readytoblowagasket

    To Jon (from VA): I think your superior separatist attitude will help us Democrats lose the White House again in 2008 — so thanks in advance for nothing. Apparently you haven’t noticed how effective the Republican “divide and conquer” strategy is.
    Oh, and next time you want to join in, please make sure you’ve had your morning coffee. We don’t do “You people are idiots” here, although you make it tempting.

  • boloBert

    I agree with RTBG, all we ask is a bit of decorum. Besides, not everyone on this site is a photographer!

  • jawbone

    I have seen Mark Warner on TV and in photos–I did not recognize him in this photo.
    It is the kind of photo you let your friend have so he/she can keep or destroy! Or you never show it to him/her bcz you destroyed it.
    I am not a Warner supporter–but this is totally unfair.
    (What NYT correction? about this cover photo?)

  • jawbone

    Bag Man–didn’t you note during the 2000 campaign that the NYTimes had been selecting some strange photos of Kerry? I recall your pointing out there was a tendency for the Times to do shots from the back, shots from very low or extreme angles, shots showing Kerry somehow all alone at huge rallies, making his figure look removed, small, etc.
    Seems to be an art director’s direction.

  • Jon

    I am sorry about the idiot comment.
    I was very disturbed by the superficial and shallow comments, like:
    “Creepy!
    Gov. Mark Warner looks like one of those dreaded animal-human hybrid clones that Bush warned us about in his State of the Union speech.”
    Everyone here should be media-savy enough to know that a picture is just a picture and a lot of time they “lie”.
    There is nothing superiorist in my attitude at all, I am simply putting forth that you all actually look at what Warner has done for Democrats.
    I am sorry, but this touches a nerve: All of us Democrats have faced a lot of heart break since 2000. But, in Virginia we have been lucky enough to be relieved of some of that heart ache by a new rising tide: we have picked up seats in the House, Senate, retained the Governors mansion (despite the fact that our candidate was almost 10 points behind the most of the race) and we are flipping voting trends on the precinct level!
    All of this has been done under the leadership of Warner.
    All, I am asking is to look at the mans accomplishments.
    I personally saw “divide and conquer”, in bright contrast while all of you where attacking someone who has achieved very real and tangible gains for our party.
    He has helped turn the reddest of states into a potential battle ground state! Do you know how important that is?

  • readytoblowagasket

    Hi, Jon, welcome back. You make some *excellent* points and put forward a heartfelt argument that should give us pause. That’s what BnN is all about.
    I for one know exactly how important it is that Warner won over Virginia — I lived in Virginia under the embarrassing (to me) reign of George Allen, and I didn’t stick around long enough to experience the Warner revolution. From the time I spent in VA (albeit only 3 years), I couldn’t have imagined a Democrat could be elected. I see now how truly moved you are about Warner’s successes there. Maybe you can share some pertinent information the article left out?
    I think the comments in this thread about Warner’s photo are not about him as a person but about the negative distortion in the photograph. I think most BAG commenters agree that the NYT Magazine did a lousy (and biased, as usual) job presenting Warner (and his accomplishments) as even remotely palatable. Not only is the cover photograph grossly distorted, but the article “about” him is really mostly about Hillary. So, for anyone unfamiliar with Virginia politics, this article doesn’t help, and we should wonder why it doesn’t offer anything but a negative take on a valid candidate for president.

  • http://hoodia.hyperland.be/ oleg

    Very well organized site. I particularly liked the resources section.
    Will use it to plan my next trip to NWT. See you soon.

  • Melinda Simon

    I’m using the NYT pics of Warner to show to my Intro Photo class as a prime example of media manipulation. all this talk about the color shift (is he gay for wearing a lavender shirt?) and the photog’s style (old-style pol=used car salesman) is so minor compared to the obvious lens distortion. find another shot of Warner anywhere else and he does have a normally-proportioned head and features, though a bit high in the forehead. my Intro students already know more than the NYT photo ed admits, so I find her utterly deceitful detour into color-land even more appalling.
    comparing the image to the tepid coverage in the article and concluding it’s a Hillary bias may be true, but what no one else seems to mention is the added insult of the rest of the images- there’s nothing else that shows Warner’s face! there’s no way to really compare the cover to another view! if there was no intentional manipulation, then an interior shot that was NOT “stylized” would prove that- but in this case, the “normal” image that’s not there is just as damning as the weird one that is.

  • Knemon

    If you knew what was good for you, you’d already be working for him.
    IMHO.

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