Today this article caught my attention on the Daily Mail website.
The White House have decided to release an image of the moment President Barack Obama was told the terrible news of the murder of pupils and teachers at Sandy Hook school, Connecticut. At first, you may be touched by the Presidents reaction; the way he looks upset makes him appear human, and somebody all Americans, and indeed all those shocked by the disaster, can relate to.
“But why have they released this image?” I thought to myself when I read the article. I’ve often heard remarks about how Obama is good at using the media to connect with voters, but there is actually little substance behind him. I don’t want to belittle the fact that he was upset, as the vast majority of the world was at the news. But why release an image?
If we carry on down this route, we could end up with people tweeting images of themselves when they have lost a family member, just to prove they were upset. Being British, i’m often used to politicians releasing images of themselves leading an ‘ordinary’ life in order to connect with the public. I remember there being a fuss about the opposition leader releasing an image of himself wearing his poppy for remembrance day, in a jumper, and lots of analysts stating it was a photo shoot more than a casual picture, as he would have had to take his poppy off and then out it on his jacket as a matter of practicality. Likewise there have been similar images of David Cameron, and Nick Clegg released. I just don’t see the point in them. Many people don’t really see the images as being genuine, and instead see it as being an insult to try and convince the public that it is.
The issue seems to point to something greater: the trivialisation of politics. Yes, it is interesting to find out gossip of what happens behind the door of No. 10 Downing Street, but do we really need this almost celebrity like posting of fake pictures? I think if politicians need to post an image of themselves, either being upset, or celebrating the win of a national sports team, then it just shows that they are not connected with the voters enough through simply being who they are. I can see some light at the end of the tunnel; hopefully a day will come when we can simply vote for a politician on what they stand for, and forget how well they fit in with the media.