Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Notes on Politics: More on Bachmann's 'Newsweek' Photo, Scarborough Assesses U.S. Econ Crisis

More Backlash on the Loony Newsweek Bachmann Cover Photo

The folks at Newsweek have attempted to make excuses for why they thought it was appropriate to select a photo for its cover that makes a politician look like an escapee from a mental institution while bestowing upon her the moniker the “Queen of Rage.” However, given the many, many photos from which they had to choose, the one they selected is clearly designed to make GOP presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann look unhinged, not to reflect her “intensity” as the Newsweek folks bogusly claimed.

That's why the former journalism instructor in me adored the rebuttal by Tommy Christopher in Mediaite where he took the publication to task and calling “bull&%$#” on the rationale its staff have offered.

“In three years of covering the White House, I have accumulated hundreds of rapid-fire shots of President Obama, for example, and there are lots of them that freeze odd-looking moments (a cough, a blink) that look jarring out of context,” Christopher wrote. “I’m sure all news photographs do. That’s why they take so many shots, so they (or their editors) can select the one that best conveys the truth of the moment.”

“Whatever the intent of the Newsweek cover, it was a specific choice, not some process of elimination,” Christopher continued. “The same is true of the outtakes [that Newsweek put on its web site], all of which have been selected from dozens of nearly-identical, but subtly different, shots.”

Additionally, I was very heartened to learn that the National Organization for Women has weighed in on the matter as well, calling the cover “sexist.” (They typically leave conservative women high and dry.

“The main reason why we would stand up for Michele Bachmann and defend her against these kind) of misogynistic attacks is we want women to run for office,” the president of NOW, Terry O’Neill told The Daily Caller. “Of course my job is to defeat Michele Bachmann and I intend to do so. But good women will not run for office if Newsweek magazine can do this to such a prominent politician and get away with it.”

‘This is Gordon Gekko’s America.’

Conservative pundit and former congressman Joe Scarborough wrote a scathing commentary for Politico, decrying how the yawning gap between those on the middle and low ends of the economic scale and those at the very top is plunging a knife through the beating heart that is what's left of the American dream. Putting the current horrendous string of economic bad news into historic context, the Morning Joe co-host said:

“Since 1970, executive pay has increased 430 percent while workers’ wages have crept up at a pace that barely kept up with inflation. The average executive’s pay has jumped over that time period to 158 times that of the average worker’s pay in those companies. It’s no wonder that the top 0.1 percent of income earners get richer by the day while millions of Americans are seeing their situations get worse.”

“This is not John Wayne’s America,” Scarborough lamented. “This is Gordon Gekko’s America. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if the Duke faced one of these CEOs in a John Ford film, he’d kick some ass and force the leech to start treating workers fair. And you can bet that my Republican father would be cheering him on from the front row of the theater.”

And as I read Michael Goldfarb’s GlobalPost piece in Salon today about the sudden, horrifically violent riots in London -- with Goldfarb suggesting that “youth unemployment” is a chief “underlying cause of the rioting,” adding that “as the government’s austerity measures begin to bite here, it’s not likely to get better any time soon” -- I start to worry. Throw in a diminished U.S. credit rating, a stock market with drops powerful enough to give the nation collective motion sickness, and a former Republican congressman, who entered Congress as part of the Contract with America class of lawmakers, calling this a “greed is good” America, and I'm more than a little unnerved.

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