Thursday, January 05, 2006

I continue to be fascinated by the photo newswires; my observation last week about the curiously good visual coverage Stephen Harper is getting (and, conversely, the PM's campaign getting stuck with more of the less-photogenic shots) seems to be continuing to hold true. Again looking at the Yahoo News aggregator, which showcases the highlights of the various wire services' photos, what do we see over the past few days? Harper looking vaguely determined, in an indeterminately benevolent way: Check, check and check. He's even caught on film smiling in a way that seems more genuinely cheerful than usual, which is a big bonus. (Well, it's not as though he doesn't have good reasons to be cautiously upbeat today...) On the other hand, there's the Liberal campaign. Martin caught in bizarre, goofy poses: Check, check (Did Liberal observers of the 2004 US election learn nothing from John Kerry's 'Bunny Suit' fiasco, or Gilles Duceppe's hairnet issues last year?) and check. (As for a related subset, Martin caught in midpoint of innocuous nervous habits that only look odd out of context: check.) How about Martin looking mildly dazed or befuddled, upstaged by women seeming to be the most competent-slash-awake person in the shot? Yup; both his wife in one pic, and the Minister for Strategic Self-Promotion in another. Martin as a tiny figure speaking to an unseen audience in a seemingly empty hall? Mmm-hmm. Most unnervingly, Martin engulfed by threateningly amorphous blobs? Oh yes. For what it's worth, what Layton and Duceppe photo ops that make it onto national feeds seem generally positive, except for one that unfortunately makes Jack! look a bit like a retired math teacher, or maybe a dapper insurance salesman. Still, the trend seems clear; this remains a more positive (or at least more restrainedly neutral) coverage of a Conservative campaign in photos that I'd possibly expected, with the Liberals getting the brunt of overly-clever editorializing-by-camera angle. There haven't been any shots of the PM in anything so positive as the decidedly beatific poses of last year so far, anyway...

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