Duck Feeding: The Key to Better Health Care

The New York Times’s Kevin Sack has a front-page story today on skittishness over health care reform among senior citizens who voted for Barack Obama. It’s a colorful, lively report from a retirement village in Broward County, full of “Old people: Aren’t they fun?” moments; Sack opens with a septuagenarian reform skeptic rapping about health care.

And to illustrate the article, the Times chose… a photo of a senior citizen security guard feeding ducks from his patrol vehicle, which appears to be a refurbished golf cart. The photo runs at normal Web size online, which understates its effect in the print edition, where it spans five columns on the jump.

Is there some hidden health care connection here, waiting to be revealed? Apparently not. The print caption: “Ronald A. Clifford, 73, patrols his retirement community in Sunrise, Fla., as a part-time security guard, but the community’s ducks also get his attention.”

It’s a nice photo, and the story has a light touch, but still—shouldn’t photos have, you know, some connection to the point of the article?

Mr. Clifford, just for the record, is not a critic of the president. He is, though, a good quote: “All in all, I support Obama no matter what he does,” he told the Times. “Whatever he does, that’s the emes. You know what that is? That’s Yiddish for the truth.”

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Greg Marx is an associate editor at CJR. Follow him on Twitter @gregamarx.