Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
November 7, 2006

Election Final: The Parting Shot


What happened this past five years to transform America into a spellbound container of paranoia and fear — and to narcotize the public square into an endless loop of word pictures and catch phrases?

What happened was the poisonous “perfect storm” of Osama bin Laden, Cheney/Rumsfeld, and Karl Rove.

My take on last week’s Bush/election cover was that TIME missed the point of their own photo-illustration.  The way I saw it, the image was not about Bush’s isolation so much as his impending exit from the political stage. 

In its own way, the shot above is its companion.

This picture, taken in Texas this week, seems more than fitting on a day in which in the country — in a potential rediscovery of the ballot box — seems poised to, finally, cut and run from the political abuse of the Bush Administration and the cancerous decrepitude of the Republican’s consumption of Washington.

If the destiny of this President is to look back on his tenure and remain profoundly clueless about who he was, what he did, and how anything and everything went down, almost the complete opposite can be said of Rove.  The campaign picture above — on this occasion, and not by accident, a quintessential one — emphasizes, close up, that what we mostly have to look at still is what Karl largely wants us to see. 

(image: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/A.P.  November 4, 2006.  Aurora, Colorado.  Via YahooNews)

  • mdhatter

    Funny that we never get to see Rove’s pants in these shots. Perhaps the fire is cropped out?

  • PTate in MN

    I love the way his hand pats the camera. That gesture of affection says a great deal about how he has done what he has done.
    The other current in the perfect storm was the Media front: the FCC, the elimination of the Fairness in Broadcasting Act in 1989 (under papa Bush) and rise of Talk Radio, the consolidation of ownership of the media to five corporate players, and the conversion of “news” into entertainment. Bushco’s propaganda had a willing audience.

  • Andy’s blog today features information from a survey of people who have visited popular political websites in the past few months. It compares their claims to party affiliation to what their internet behavior says about them. There are some interesting trends.

  • ummabdulla

    Good point about the Time cover. You’re right – it does say “exiting” more than “isolated”.

  • margaret

    I’ve just come from voting in a usually sleepy precinct, but today, was swarming with folks of all ages, even 20-somethings. I think that is a good sign, even in a place such as where I live, where my vote is usually buried in Republican mire. Of course, they might all be Republicans, supporting their own, but, somehow, it had a different air.

  • KansasKowboy

    My guess is Rove is practicing for his future position. Videographer at Bohemian Grove.

  • Cactus

    Kowboy, that was an image I didn’t need in my head……..a naked elfin rovian romp thru the grove taking shots of all the manlove. Eeuuuwww!

Refresh Archives

Random Notes