Thursday, November 21, 2013

Down the rabbit hole

Obama. Reality aside, consider the image. His image on AOL, specifically.

In nearly every picture, Obama is frowning, wincing, looking like he bit into a lemon, rolling his eyes, looking superior, looking bored, not paying attention to the important stuff, or staring at somebody else with scorn.

Hey, this may be a freaking accident. But if somebody at AOL had the Make Obama Look Bad job, they were definitely doing a good job.

And that's just AOL. A supposedly non-partisan Internet coelacanth. As opposed to, say, Fox News, the Weekly Standard or the National Review.

Or pissed off bloggers, for that matter.

Imagine, thus, (A) the total set of ideological axe-grinders who want to make Obama look bad (B) the total set of every moving or still image taken of Obama. Granted the umpteen thousands of images -- and the crowd-sourcing power of all those relentless, pissed-off people pouring through those images looking for the perfectly horrible image that makes him look like President Choad.

It isn't surprising that Obama would attempt to stage-manage his image and restrict and/or control press corps access. It's not only not surprising. It's inevitable -- and started long before Obama.

In 2013, this crap is much bigger than the White House. The Selling of the President ain't just for presidents anymore. If you're anybody, you've got an image -- and you're selling it. In a world of YouTube, anti-social media, old-school surveillance, and ubiquitous crowd-sourced smartphone surveillance, we're all managing our public image. We've fallen down the rabbit hole, kids. When we hit bottom is anyone's guess.

The unmediated journalistic image is a thing of the past.

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