This is bias — a similar shot involving Hillary Clinton or, god forbid, Barack Obama is unthinkable — but I wonder which strain of bias it is.

If Cruz were a Democrat, wonders Breitbart, “How many think pieces about violent imagery and responsible reporting would we see?” The AP insists that “the images were not intended to portray Sen. Cruz in a negative light,” but like I say, if that were true, it’d be easy to imagine an analogous image of Obama sailing past the AP’s photo editors. It isn’t. Somehow the most photographed man in the world, the subject of hundreds of thousands of press photos over the past eight years, managed to avoid an indignity like this even as a candidate. The only memorable example of background imagery being conspicuously included in an Obama photo that I can recall is those beatific shots of his head framed by the presidential seal or the moon or some other circle to form a halo. If you don’t like that analogy because Obama’s the president and the media’s naturally more sensitive to the risk of assassination in his case, try the same thought experiment with, say, Elizabeth Warren. How likely is it, standing in the same position as Cruz, that Fauxcahontas would get the right-between-the-eyes treatment from a photographer, even purely in the name of creating a visually arresting photo? At a minimum there’s bias here to the extent that the AP would be more reluctant to run something like this if it featured a politician viewed more favorably in-house.

Even so, I think this has less to do with anti-Cruz bias than it does with bias in the gun-rights debate. If all you wanted to do was comment negatively on Cruz, you could do that in various simpler ways. Publish a photo of him taken at a moment when his face was contorted while speaking. Or publish one taken at an impassioned moment in his remarks, when he’s more apt to look angry and unfriendly. Going the extra mile to get the gun in the frame of the photo during what was, in fact, a speech about Second Amendment rights was probably the photographer’s way of making a comment about gun control. The more Ted Cruz gets his way and guns proliferate, the more likely it is that a gun will end up pointing back at him someday. Imagine Hillary Clinton were confronted by pro-life protesters, some of them carrying gory images of aborted babies, and one press photographer decided to frame a shot composed of nothing more than her face side by side with one of those gory posters in the near background. How do you suppose that image would go down with the left’s abortion warriors? Safe bet: We’ll never find out.