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November 5, 2012

Can Someone Please Let Me Out?! — Instagram, Twitter and Those Freezing People Trapped at Romney PA Rally Last Night


Instagram and Twitter were my salvation in getting through the campaign this year. Instagram, especially.  The demand it placed on reporters as imaginary photojournalists, as well as the creative challenge to real shooters wielding cell phones and posting to their own accounts made for wonderful access without much if any (editorial) filtering.

Given the free-wheeling nature of it all, last night’s brouhaha over Team Romney supposedly preventing shivering people from leaving an evening rally in Pennsylvania was a perfect example of the bootstrap  and near-realtime nature of these platforms. Here’s my edited “cut-and-paste” timeline:

1. The USA Today reporter indicated on Instagram that the Romney campaign wouldn’t let people, although tired and very cold, leave its rally last night in Pennsylvania.

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Adds photo and caption:

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2. The NYT reporter tweeted as much.

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3. Photo and caption by WAPO reporter about this same point.

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4 NYT reporter starts to walk it back:

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5. The other NYT reporter explained on Twitter it was a lot more innocent than that. (First NYT reporter retweets same.)

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6. Then USAT reporter (adding couple tweets) retracts:

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Meanwhile, for a still broader flavor of what the campaign is inspiring on Instagram, there were rockstar photographers Christopher Morris and Christopher Anderson doing their own riff on the event last night.


Besides all the references to Morris’s shot in the comments section having to do with an infamous former dictator (not sure where I’ve been, but I’d never heard “Mitler” before), I liked this one from someone named “zanwah” who wrote:

“He’s gonna be a bigger blur after Tuesday.”

Then just below, Anderson captures a Secret Service agent secretly heading for the exit himself while a thin multicolored film of ectoplasm from the planet Zircon descends over the crowd. (Thank you for indulging me that.)


Seriously, though. Back to the entrapment theme, not being able to escape is such a the perfect metaphor to end this campaign with. As an exercise that lacked powerful themes or large ideas, I can’t say I’m sorry Campaign ‘12 is ending. At the same time, however, given the wonderful window I had via Instagram (here are some of my favs: 1, 2, 3, 4 ), I am going to miss it. I could be completely wrong, but it’s hard to imagine that 2016, as these platforms mature, will offer this much Wild West.

But wait, wait. Did I forget to mention the photo leading this post? Also taken by WAPO reporter Philip Rucker, the caption reads:

Romney advance staffer rests beneath the press riser during today’s Cleveland rally.

For a second, I thought this guy must be one of the Romney master controllers responsible for keeping those freezing and starving citizens from getting out.

  • namvetted68

    Found deliciously funny the tweet from Ashley Parker …”people who left say they are HUGE Romney supporters, just cold and tired, or with sick kids or spouses”.

    Fancy that. The HUGE supporters apparently weren’t that into sticking around to see their hero. Yet showed up with sick kids and spouses to enjoy the security screening and the outdoor venue in the cold.

  • BooksAlive

    Love the hammock!

  • black_dog_barking

    I’d guess the guy in the hammock is responsible for getting the set and the sound gear from place to place. He’ll be busy as hell after the show getting everything unplugged and back onto the truck. Another snooze in the truck if he’s not driving then start all over at the next show. Kinda like a concert roadshow without any good music. The presence of the hammock hints he’s been at it for a while.

  • LanceThruster

    I’m Mitt Romney…and I approve this forced detention.

  • LanceThruster

    Mitt-22 ~ People have a right to do to you anything which you cannot prevent them from doing to you.

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