Jewish World Review Sept. 25, 2009 / 7 Tishrei 5770
Picture This, Or: Seeing Is Believing
By Paul Greenberg
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Not that folks with an iPhone, complete with camera app, need be reminded, but it's definitely a visual age. Which could explain why it's a vulgarized one. Nothing can be hinted at any longer, it must be shown. Preferably in stark lighting. Which may explain the long decline and sudden fall of ACORN.
It's scarcely been a secret all these years that ACORN has been an ongoing scandal. It's been involved in so many cases of fraudulent voter registration, I've lost count of how many of its people have been hauled up on charges. The last estimate I saw was something like 70 of its employees in 12 different states. Yet only now has it moved to the center of public indignation. What took so long?
In a way, ACORN's behavior is supposed to be outrageous. Founded right here in
Last year ACORN became a highly unofficial arm of the Obama campaign. And was duly rewarded for its help by all kinds of government grants, which is how politics works. Not that you'll find it in Aristotle, but one working definition of politics is the art and science of who gets what when, where and how.
When the Republicans come back into power, if ever, look for some of the folks who are now prominent in
But a funny thing happened to ACORN on its way to collect its share of the spoils. A couple of visual provocateurs took videos of some not-so-funny goings-on in ACORN offices. The results would have made Borat, aka the satirist
There, faithfully recorded on film, were our high-minded, socially advanced, ever so idealistic liberators of the proletariat at ACORN telling these actors playing a prostitute and her pimp how to beat the law and cheat the taxpayers.
This scandal might have been small potatoes compared to, say, the Abramoff Rip-Off a while back, which came to light during a different administration. But this outrage caught the country's ever-fickle attention. Why? Because it was filmed. Moral of the story: Film validates.
Something there is in a picture that makes things realer than real. Result:
The same thing happened to the
No doubt both ACORN and the
I begin to better understand why, during the bad old days in these Southern latitudes, reporters might or might not be threatened by seggish mobs, but it was the photographers who got smashed -- along with their cameras. Their pictures might make all the difference; the rest of us had only words to rely on.
Back in the day, a news photographer had to be quick of thought and tongue to turn aside a mob.
Bobby managed to turn aside their fury by explaining that he was a good ol' boy himself -- just up from
Even today, the historic scenes folks remember about the Crisis of '57 tend to be those captured on film by cameramen like
Their successors keep hunting for the same kind of riveting shots. The news photographer's equipment may have changed over the years, but not the art. Keep snappin', gang. You're the ones, often as not, who make the difference -- and may pay the price.
From those of us with just a reporter's notebook and our vocabularies for equipment, our deepest respects. We only tell the story, you show it.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.
if (strpos(, "printer_friendly") === 0)
=<< © 2006 Tribune Media Services, Inc.
© 2006 Tribune Media Services, Inc.