Friday, March 2, 2018

Reading The Pictures on Trump and the Media

More or less intelligent people are passing this... object... around. In it, Michael Shaw of Reading the Pictures does, well, he does something or other. It is worth noting that a great deal of what he's doing in this piece of quoting himself. While he mentions at the beginning that

Note: Many of the examples were analyzed on the Twitter account for Reading the Pictures, a non-profit media and visual literacy site I publish.

You actually have to be paying attention to notice that the bulk of the article reads like "here's a tweet, look what it says. SEE?!" where the cited tweet is actually just the author all over again. This is a disingenuous technique, at best. Rather than quoting your own pen name as if it were another person, just re-state what you said before, bruh.

Michael Shaw, as usual, appears to have no thesis, or indeed any organized idea of what his point is. He's just blathering TRUMP SUX which, ok, Trump does suck. But we knew that.

This appears to me to be a set of cherry picked photos that Shaw feels create some impression of our sitting president.

Is Shaw saying this is a true portrait of the man? Not as far as I can tell.

Is Shaw saying that the media is constructing this portrait of a man? Maybe. Maybe not. If he has a thesis at all, this is probably it. He seems to be promoting this as "what the media is portraying" whatever that means (obviously there are large and powerful elements of The Media that are doing no such thing).

If this portrait of the man be false, then where arises the falsehood? Is someone manufacturing it, and if so, for what reason? Is the media building this image of Trump, or are they merely reflecting some current widely held notion of Trumpness? Is there any analysis in here at all?

In reality, of course, Shaw is simply constructing an image of Trump out of selected pictures, and then quoting himself as evidence that this is how Trump is being portrayed. It would be silly to ask any of the questions above, because they're all irrelevant. This is Shaw engaged in pure intellectual masturbation, and publishing it in an allegedly real journal.

I did not know that Columbia Journalism Review was a proper venue for reviewing ones own tweets. I wonder if they'll give me a column?

1 comment:

  1. wow, I am ashamed of the CJR. This is the most pointless and ridiculous of "journalistic" enterprises, aka supermarket tabloids grabbing the weirdest, most grimace-y photo from hundred speed-clicks of Paris Hilton having an innocuous conversation with someone and then captioning it PARIS SCREAMING AT BFF HUGE BREAKUP. Pandering to the lowest internal monologue of the angriest viewer. Lame. Yuck. Bleccchh.