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March 24, 2007

Your Turn: Chapel Hill

Edwards-Cancer1Edwards-Cancer2
(click for full size)

Given the shocking and incredibly sad news of Elizabeth Edwards’
advanced cancer, as well as the overt collision it causes between
personal and political/ media identity, I was interested in your
thoughts on these newswire images.  They were taken Thursday in Chapel
Hill during the couple’s announcement that John Edwards’ presidential
campaign would continue.

Edward-Cancer-5
Edwards-Cancer-4R2336505668

Because we’ve been focusing so much on visual spin and the politician’s "public face," this development — as "human" and as grounding as it is — is an incredible development against the backdrop, or "stage," of this campaign (as well as Rovian "political reality construction" overall).

In this situation, there’s no way to know how much John and Elizabeth are wearing the kinds of faces any couple would wear for each other given such news, versus how much derives from that "second nature" of being in front of the camera.  It’s an open question, I believe, until you come to the "single" portraits.  At that point, rarely do you see such public figures so unguarded.

It was my instinct to offer you this many images, and these, in particular, out of the overall pool.  "Media-aware," or not, I’m interested in what you read.

Edwards-Dean

(click for painfully  full size)

Finally, I’ve never once recommended that a photo be taken down, but I was thoroughly disgusted by the shot above, featured (with an enlargement option, no less!) in today’s NYT article, entitled: Public Takes Up Pros and Cons of Edwards Bid. The photo features one David Redlawsk, associate professor of political science at the University of Iowa, providing his two cents about the couple’s decision to stay in the presidential race.

I’m sure Mr. Redlawsk is mostly innocent in this.  But could someone please tell me, where does The Times get off using this tragedy for John Edwards to frame this dark, anonymous, spotlighted and completely unreferenced visual link between him and Howard Dean?

      

(image 1: Gary Broome/AP. image 2: Sara Davis/AFP/Getty. image 3: Ellen Ozier/Reuters. image 4: Sara Davis/AFP/Reuters. image 5: Gerry Broome/AP. Chapel Hill, North Carolina. March 22, 2007. via YahooNews.  image 6: Mark Hirsch for The New York Times. March 23, 2007. nytimes.com)

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