January 3, 2010

PARSING NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIALS IS HARD: “So, weakness on national security: too absurd to mention or something Obama knows all too well?”

Plus, this: “I used to subscribe to the NYT and read it for at least an hour a day, paging through the whole thing. Now, I’m spending more and more time looking for opinion about American politics in the British papers.”

But why would people lack confidence in Obama on national security? Just look at his masterful presence in this meeting with National Security staffer Denis McDonough in Hawaii.

obamanatsechandsbig

UPDATE: Clark Stooksbury writes to complain about me posting not one, but two unflattering pictures of Obama today. Hey, these come straight from the White House, folks. These are the pictures they want out in public. As has been noted here earlier, they seem to have trouble with their picture-editing process. . . . It’s all about bad optics.

Though even back during the campaign some of the pictures were a bit iffy in terms of presidential imagery, as I noted at the time. But to each his own interpretation — just remember, if you criticize Obama’s White House Flickr feed, you’re a racist!

But at least I didn’t call him “Dukakis without the administative skill.” Now that’s mean. Even for the Huffington Post.

MORE: Reader Richard Horn writes:

Sorry, but I hate the idea of “protecting the president’s image,” so I’m all for the candid shots. People like Haldeman, Deaver and, yes, Axelrod have done nothing good for the country that I can find….

More pictures of presidents looking like what they are — people, sometimes goofy and sometimes arrogant! I loved the idea of Nixon walking the beach at San Clemente in his suit and polished black shoes. It made him happy.

Well, I believe that photo of Nixon was regarded as a PR disaster, making him look uptight and uncool. But what’s fascinating to me (aside from the fact that it’s about photography, and I’m a photographer) is that the Obama team is supposed to be the media-savvy, Flickr-grokking younger generation, unlike those clunky Bush folks. But while that’s the image of the media team, the actual image that the media team is supposed to be tending to is . . . neglected. Which makes me wonder what else is being neglected.

This is the post over at Big Government that started the whole discussion, for those arriving late. “What is on the White House Web site’s front page for the third day in a row is the White House ‘photo of the day’ that features an empty Oval Office save for a cleaning woman running a vacuum in front of the president’s vacated desk. A more telling image could not be presented to the public of an absent leader, yet that is the message Team Obama has conveyed to the world for the past three days.”

Then there’s the whole press receiving-line bungle. Just not the savvy image-handling I expected. I predict, however, that the Flickr feed will be more closely monitored in the future. . . .