Another News Outlet Publishes an Unflattering Bachmann Photo
posted at 4:43 pm on August 14, 2011 by Howard Portnoy
It is open season on media outlets publishing unflattering photos of GOP presidential hopeful and Iowa straw poll winner Michele Bachmann. The first salvo in the who-can-make-Bachmann-look-worse contest came from the left-leaning Newsweek, whose “intense” headshot of the attractive Minnesota congresswoman generated feedback last week.
This week’s contender was shot by Toby Harnden of the generally rightwing English daily The Telegraph (h/t Mediaite). The most polite interpretation of the image is that it shows the candidate administering life support to a corndog. The least polite interpretation is that she is—well, suffice it to say this is a family publication.
The text, also the work of Harnden, is snarky and hostile:
On the eve of the Ames Straw Poll, the Republican candidates made a last push for votes at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines—a huge spectacle in which cattle, pigs and horses are on display as well as politicians and Iowans queue to for fairground rides and some of the most unhealthy food on the planet (I was going to try the Fried Twinkies but the queue was, alas, too long).
Most unhealthy food on the planet? I would have thought that dubious honor belongs to Scotch pie, a British culinary invention in which minced beef and suet (aka, rendered beef fat) are encased in a pastry crust made with lard (aka pork fat).
Frances Martel at Mediaite believes there is something more insidious at work than merely portraying Bachmann in the least flattering light possible. And that is “a deliberate attempt to undermine the one characteristic Rep. Bachmann has that no one seems to disagree with: she’s photogenic.”
Then there’s the sexist subtext here: would the Telegraph have run a similar photo of a presidential candidate consuming an obvious phallic symbol if said candidate were male? Phallic symbols make for good comedy, sure, but the Telegraph is not Mad Magazine, and there appears to be no intent at humor here, only degradation.
Phallic symbols make for good comedy? Maybe females of the species have much to teach us after all.
- Ames straw poll: Bachmann by a hair
- My gift to Newsweek: A photo gallery of other (than Bachmann) prominent figures
- Bachmann: Media rooting for “mud wrestling fight” between her and Palin
- Debate highlights: Democrats discover Michele Bachmann is not Sarah Palin
- Bachmann: Health care law contains $105 billion in hidden pre-approved spending