Walker photo opportunity -- More evidence politicians are open for business | WisCommunity

Walker photo opportunity -- More evidence politicians are open for business

[img_assist|nid=46828|title=Photo op|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=159]Rob Hanson, a reporter for the Eau Claire Leader Telegram, blows the whistle on Scott Walker and other politicians who seemingly stage-manage every public moment of their careers. Hanson's opinion piece ought to be read in its entirety by anyone interested in the course of modern politics and journalism and our increasingly image-driven, sound-bitten, cookie-cutter approach to public policy. The money grafs:

Walker and Tambornino ventured out into the noisy, industrial landscape stopping here and there to chat. Media was led in a different direction by an upbeat, well-dressed man who excitedly explained that our tour of the facility would take us to three strategic points for photo opportunities. It wasn’t until photo op number two when the tour guide stopped to paint a vivid portrait for us, that the whole thing just became nauseating. ‘If we stop here, the governor will come walking around the corner in couple of minutes and you can get great shots of him with someone welding in the background,’ he said.


At that point I realized that the entire experience we as local media were creating to pass on to the viewer and reader, was in no way different than reality TV. Sure it looks real, sure it looks like Walker is actually interested in trailer hitches, but each and every image the viewer sees on their television screen was designed to be seen in exactly that way. Each and every bit of information the viewer takes from those newscasts or the article I was writing to form opinions and make decisions was 100 percent pre-packaged, PR approved.


I want to make it clear that this post was not intended to complain about my duties as a reporter, and it certainly is not meant to target Governor Walker. I remember thinking many of these exact things at a Ron Kind event a few weeks back when I heard him use a cheesy comparison of education to seed corn in multiple interviews and finally his speech.


More than anything, the day’s experiences stirred up questions that I’ve had for some time. When exactly did we as a country start accepting euphemisms, analogies and catch phrases in place of straight facts? When did journalists, of all people, quit asking real questions? Why are all these speeches held for the press only? And more importantly, how do we fix it? How do we as citizens and journalists get our leaders to cut the canned image and give us more transparency?

How, indeed?


The entire piece is at:



April 26, 2011 - 8:20pm