McAnger: A Photo Essay

Today's papers put the 'icky' in 'Mavericky'

So I couldn’t help but notice a weird little trend among the stories summarizing last night’s presidential debate. The trend being that while the photos news outlets have selected to accompany their stories generally make Barack Obama seem calm/dignified/sane, the John McCain photos make the Arizona senator seem angry. Or petulant. Or just-plain-crazy. Or some combination thereof.

There’s Stern-n-Severe McCain at the Miami Herald

…and Get-Off-My-Damned-Porch-You-Stinkin-Kids McCain at the Boston Globe

…and I-Will-Turn-This-Car-Around-Right-Now-I-Mean-It McCain at The New York Times

…and Freakishly Giddy McCain, also at the Times

…and Hey-You-Over-There-I-Just-Ate-a-Handful-of-Sour-Patch-Kids-And- My-They-Really-Have-a-Bite-to-Them McCain at the LA Times

…and, finally, Hey-‘That-One’-Isn’t-It-Obvious-I-Don’t-Like-You- Get-Your-Paws-Off-Me McCain at The Washington Post.

Anyhow. Photo editors. Since I imagine you must have had hundreds of decent McCain/Obama photos to choose from for your stories today—photos that were either equally flattering or equally not-flattering to both candidates—I can only assume that: 1). you have a passage-aggressive message you want to send about McCain, or, 2). you’ve been taking his campaign’s mockery of the media personally. If it’s the latter, though, don’t worry! All that’s just a campaign gimmick! I’m sure when this is all over, you’ll once again be the senator’s special “little jerks“…provided he doesn’t see all these unflattering pictures you’ve published of him. Because, if he does, he’s gonna get crazy mad…

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.