August 17, 2009
BAG Archive Edition: Can't See the Forest for the (Lack of) Trees
Archive Note: This post appeared on March 20, 2005 at the height of the Terrio Schiavo hysteria. It came to mind after several BAG comments last week on the health care protests questioned how wide and deep the opposition actually is. Original post/comment thread here.
Sometimes, one gets so caught up in the content, it's easy to overlook the context. James Wolcott had a post this weekend that was right up the BAG's alley. However, it also revealed how narrow that alley can become.
Given all the political and media hoo-hah over the Schiavo case, one might assume a good number of the conservative flock had flocked to Florida in solidarity with their adopted Terri. Three of my four Schiavo "image studies," in fact, prominently featured these demonstrators. What if the Terri show, however, was a lot smaller than we have come to believe?
Wolcott begins the unraveling this way:
Here's something the cable news outfits could do that would rilly rilly rilly be useful, given that they got all those cameras down there in Florida and all.
Just for the kooky hell of it, why don't they provide us with one wide shot or overview of the protestors and vigil-holders in Pinellas Park just so we can see how big the gathering is? Is it a big, swelling group, or is it like the jubilant Iraqis surrounding Hussein's razed statue, a seeming mass revealed in long wideout as a motley get-together? And what is the ratio of Schiavo deathwatchers to media deathwatchers? Are there as many reporters there as sign-holders, or what?
Because whenever there's a ground-level view of the vigil, it seems to be the same scraggly-looking characters and showboating Franciscan friars moving back and forth across the screen, clogging the view.
Who needs cable news when you have BAGnews?
Frankly, I was interested enough in Wolcott's comments to start rummaging through the inventory. Would you say the photo, above, from Sunday's NYT, is slightly underpopulated? Well, it's definitely part of a trend.
Maybe, you'd be interested in inspecting one of those wider shots to help determine that media-protester ratio:
Or, could I could interest you in a view of the teeming hoards that converged on the Governor's mansion to demand action.
Finally, check the throng holding forth at the County Courthouse for the last ditch appeal of the Governor's petition:
Am I mistaken, or did I just get the scoop here ahead of Jon Stewart?
(image 1: James Estrin for The New York Times; image 2; image 3: Carlos Barri/Reuters in YahooNews; image 4: Steve Cannon/AP in YahooNews; image 5: Steve Nesius/AP in YahooNews)
(source: James Wolcott; story referral: Quentin)