Republicans, who were attacking the government of the United States a week ago as ’jackbooted thugs’ and whose columnist-spokesmen were praising the Miami Cubans as exemplars of American values until reminded they were burning American flags on TV, seem to have retreated from the PR front lines.
Republicans, who were attacking the government of the United States
a week ago as ’jackbooted thugs’ and whose columnist-spokesmen were
praising the Miami Cubans as exemplars of American values until reminded
they were burning American flags on TV, seem to have retreated from the
PR front lines.
Visual images have become so much the focus of interest in politics and
public affairs, it seemed the photo of a US Marshal with an automatic
weapon pointed at young Elian Gonzalez would be enough to invite most
Americans to join the Clinton-haters and perhaps create another
Ignoring - at their peril - some questions Americans might well ask,
such as ’Who arranged for the photographer to be at a surprise 5:00 AM
raid?’ or ’What was the fisherman (fisherman?) doing holding Elian in a
back closet in the home of the great-uncle?’, Republicans leaped into
the breach with promises of hearings, talk about Waco and how ashamed
they were to be Americans.
But cameras are everywhere, it turns out, and soon photo editors were
able to put beside the armed marshal pictures of Elian gazing at his
father, in his father’s arms, with laughter and what looked like
And even before victory in the pictorial war shifted to the side of
Elian’s real family - as opposed to the ever-present great-uncle and the
near hysterical cousin-once-removed - public opinion polls had begun to
show substantial support for the actions of Attorney General Janet
And as this is written, it appears there will be no hearings. The
’jackboot’ people and those ’ashamed’ of this country are in full
retreat and even Fidel Castro, who welcomes nothing more than huge
public tributes, now is urging a muted welcome when the family
Question: if there were no photographers available to shoot key moments,
and if polling were illegal and focus group members could be jailed as
conspirators, would we have opinions on most subjects, and would those
opinions be as heightened and close to violence as they have become?
It’s commonplace to ask if World War II had been as freely reported,
photographed - and televised - as Vietnam, would we have stayed the
course until V-E and V-J Day? If the Nazis, for that matter, had with
their customary thoroughness kept a filmed record of the concentration
camps, would the victors have been as kind to Germany after the war and
since? Would the public have supported- even lukewarmly - US troops to
Bosnia without the atrocity pictures?
For that matter, would we not be in the midst of hearings if Elian had
shrunk from his father’s embrace?