07.07.2012 01:00 AM

In Sunday’s Sun, early: a picture really is worth a 1,000 words

Words are about information. Pictures are about emotion. Emotion equals power.

Print folks — the ones who pour their souls into writing newspapers and magazines, the ones who craft profound essays for blogs, the ones who toil in government offices and conjure up grand speeches — like to believe that words matter still. But, mostly, they don’t.

The people who put together TV newscasts, as well as the best news photographers, have known this truism for a long time, but they’ve kept mostly quiet about it. Perhaps they don’t want to hurt the feelings of their colleagues, who still vainly cling to the belief that the written word can move hearts and minds.

But the fact remains that for voters, for citizens, words don’t matter nearly as much as pictures do.

Bev Oda, now relegated to the place where much-detested politicians go to get forgotten, learned the truth of this back in February of this year. Back then, the opposition and the media were literally chasing the Ontario Conservative MP for answers in one of the serial scandals in which she became ensnared.

Reuters’ Chris Wattie snapped the shot that would be seen by millions of Canadians: An unsmiling, unattractive Oda wearing shades, hiding out behind the Parliament buildings. Smoking a cigarette.

17 Comments

  1. Steve T says:

    If this picture is the reason that Bev Oda got her much-deserved hatred from the public, then it is a pretty sad commentary on the laziness of the public.

    Oda is one of the most loathsome politicians in quite some time, but her scowl and cigarette are only a minor part of it. How about inserting “not” on the Kairos approval form, and then lying about it? How about her numerous examples of egregious wasting of taxpayer dollars and, more importantly, the associated persona that seemed to evidence?

    Smoking is bad, but I would quite happily vote for a smoking politician if they had integrity and honesty. Bev Oda had neither, and that’s why she deserves the disdain of the public.

    • Kelly says:

      The public isn’t lazy, the public is busy. Pictures attract attention, cut lines and headlines generate interest and frame the message. The copy closes the sale for the important minority that is really ready for the message. Then they go out and spread the message over dinner and on Facebook.

      • MCBellecourt says:

        Depends where you’re at, Kelly. In my area, central BC, voting only takes five minutes. People are indeed too damned lazy here, and, looking at voter turnouts everywhere else, it’s a safe bet they’re too lazy to concern themselves with their democracy.

        Harper counts on that, and that’s why his stupid attack ads work.

  2. Cromwell says:

    All is emotion and instinct – apparently there is no room for rationality in politics. Harper knows this and exploits it effectively. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

  3. Kelly says:

    This morning I was having breakfast at the Pancake House in Winnipeg. Behind me was a couple reading the Winnipeg Free Press and commenting that Bev Oda’s pension will pay for over 16,000 regular glasses of orange juice per year.

    I called up the smoking Bev picture on my iPhone and turned around and said, didn’t you hear, Oda is actually coming back after Harper offered her the Health portfolio. The couple laughed, looked at the picture and said, “Those damn dumb conservatives.”

  4. JamesHalifax says:

    Compare:

    http://www.vancouversun.com/6503407.bin

    http://www.a-c-t-s-inc.com/images/roy-orbison.gif

    Put a guitar in Bev’s hands….and you’d be hard pressed to tell them apart on the grounds of Parliament.

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