The Commissar and the Apparatchik Vanish
January 26, 2006 12:14 PM   Subscribe

Shades of Stalin's pre-Photoshop erasing of Trotsky from history: Joanne Amos admits to Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall that her GOP-friendly company, Reflections Photography, scrubbed images of President Bush with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff from both their online archive and CD record of official events. [Photos previously discussed here.]
posted by digaman (44 comments total)

 
Just dropped an E-mail to David Gregory of NBC News asking him to look into it via the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams e-mail. I'd suggest others do the same to their favorite reporters.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:23 PM on January 26, 2006


When I asked her who had instructed her to remove the photos, she told me she was the president of the company. She did it. It was "her business decision" to remove the photographs.

I suspect that Jane Amos, described as "a maxed out Bush-Cheney '04 contributor" did this on her own. It would be pretty hard to prove otherwise.
posted by 327.ca at 12:27 PM on January 26, 2006


327's probably correct. She guessed (rightly) that people were going to come looking for those pictures. Besides her own political leanings, her business seems to be photographing conservative political events. I can't see her wanting those pictures to get out, let alone being the source.
posted by justkevin at 12:36 PM on January 26, 2006


(From the TPM story): When I asked her who had instructed her to remove the photos, [Joanne Amos] told me she was the president of the company. She did it. It was "her business decision" to remove the photographs.

Isn't that a betrayal of all things Capitalist? Clearly, there is demand for the photos - to constrain the supply at a time like this is slapping the proverbial invisible hand.
posted by Western Infidels at 12:42 PM on January 26, 2006


example # 34223 of why corporatism and totalitarianism go hand in hand.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:48 PM on January 26, 2006


Isn't that a betrayal of all things Capitalist? Clearly, there is demand for the photos - to constrain the supply at a time like this is slapping the proverbial invisible hand.

Amos knows who butters her bread. If she takes a hit in the media for this ("it was my decision, yadayada...), she can be expected to be handsomely rewarded down the road. She is forgoing present short-term profits (I'm sure a fair number of outlets would pay handsomely for those pix) for (pretty much guaranteed) future profits and a potential expansion of her business once it is demonstrated that she can be "trusted" in the future to run interference for the Republican media machine.
posted by Chrischris at 12:51 PM on January 26, 2006


This doesn't surprise me in the least. They've gotta to try and keep the story to be at least marginally plausible.
posted by fenriq at 1:05 PM on January 26, 2006


Jackie who? I hardly knew that old "money bags" jewboy! - GWB
posted by nofundy at 1:08 PM on January 26, 2006


Who controls the past controls the future.
posted by octothorpe at 1:20 PM on January 26, 2006


Well, I wonder if they sold any "unedited" photo CDs well before this inquiry? I mean, if someone ordered up WH photos en masse, would these be included in a CD? Just curious?

Anybody got them?
posted by mooncrow at 1:23 PM on January 26, 2006


Amos will take the hit here (publicity-wise, which will amount to about $0 in losses from Republicans seeking pictures), but if the employee Josh was talking to is right, it may've been at the request of the WH.

Tacky, but not illegal.
posted by ibmcginty at 1:24 PM on January 26, 2006


Ah, you know as well as I do that the National Enquirer is on the case - meaning we'll probably see the pics sooner rather than later.

But not to worry, Our Leader has pronounced them irrelevant anyway.
posted by kgasmart at 1:24 PM on January 26, 2006


Four legs good!
Two legs Bad!

Snowball is the Enemy!
posted by zaelic at 1:35 PM on January 26, 2006


Just dropped an E-mail to David Gregory of NBC News asking him to look into it via the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams e-mail. I'd suggest others do the same to their favorite reporters.

...!

Wow, you can do that? I had no idea!

ABC Nightly News is gonna be mighty interesting tonight, oh yeah! Everyone who dumped on me in high school is gonna get theirs!

Anyhoo, I've always been in favor of adopting a "worst case" attitude towards hearing when evidence is being held from me. If someone has lied, or changed evidence, or withheld information, and they either had a direct relationship to or are the people who would benefit from them, then it is prudent to assume the worst.

If this were a more common attitude, then these people would be a lot less cavalier about performing these shenanigans.
posted by JHarris at 1:42 PM on January 26, 2006


Don't be too cynical about emailing reporters, JHarris -- at least once, I have sent email to a reporter for a major network calling attention to something that ended up on the news that night.
posted by digaman at 1:56 PM on January 26, 2006


Comparing the act of pulling a document out of a non-public photo archive (as in, not run with tax dollars) and literally air-brushing a person out of existence in a photo of record is completely inflammatory, digiman.

What these people choose to keep in their archive, what they choose to sell or withdraw from sale, is completely up to them and their prerogative.

That said, if it was once available on the online archive, it must exist elsewhere.
posted by crunchland at 2:04 PM on January 26, 2006


Inflamed, perhaps, but not as inflammatory as the President of the United States first denying that he had ever met Abramoff and then pooh-poohing the potential release of the photos as political while his staff scrambles around to scrub evidence that Bush in fact knew this soon-to-be-incarcerated felon who done so much for his party.
posted by digaman at 2:10 PM on January 26, 2006


Don't be too cynical about emailing reporters, JHarris -- at least once, I have sent email to a reporter for a major network calling attention to something that ended up on the news that night.

Dear Mr. Brokaw,
I have information that at least one and possibly two airplanes flew into the World Trade Center this morning. Also, I heard that a plane hit the Pentagon, but I was eating a sandwich and couldn't be sure over the chewing, so you'll want to see if anyone else mails this tip in before running with it. Better safe than sorry!

Love,
digaman

posted by mph at 2:12 PM on January 26, 2006


Oh come on, mph.

But digaman, you gotta know that being a contributing editor at a nationally known magazine might give your leads a little more weight than joe blow off the street. (Not that it can hurt us to try, but still...)
posted by raedyn at 2:24 PM on January 26, 2006


It doesn't hurt to try.


Cute, mph.

Love,
digaman

posted by digaman at 2:34 PM on January 26, 2006


Wow, you can do that? I had no idea!

What, did you think people like Katie Couric pull Republican talking points right out of their once-perky asses?

Engaging the media is necessary, and expecting journalists to bang away on their Remingtons in an ivory tower, miraculously producing The Truth, has been shown to be a sham fantasy time and again.

They're already getting e-mails, faxes, and schmoozy phone calls up the wazoo from the Kenny Mehlmans of the world. This is how consent is manufactured.
posted by dhartung at 3:10 PM on January 26, 2006


“Comparing the act of pulling a document out of a non-public photo archive (as in, not run with tax dollars) and literally air-brushing a person out of existence in a photo of record is completely inflammatory” - posted by crunchland

The act itself is an affront to the truth. Furthermore it’s downright un-American. They’re commie bolsheviks posing as capitalists.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:14 PM on January 26, 2006


They're already getting e-mails, faxes, and schmoozy phone calls up the wazoo from the Kenny Mehlmans of the world. This is how consent is manufactured.

Indeed.
posted by digaman at 3:24 PM on January 26, 2006


You could write to:
support@reflectionsorders.com
and ask them to make some photos of the two availabloe to you. See what answer you get!
posted by Postroad at 3:40 PM on January 26, 2006


They’re commie bolsheviks posing as capitalists. Yup. Another historical example described in Milan Kundera's The Book of Laughter and Forgetting:

"In February 1948, the Communist leader Klement Gottwald stepped out on the balcony of a Baroque palace in Prague to harangue hundreds of thousands of citizens massed in Old Town Square. That was a great turning point in the history of Bohemia. A fateful moment of the kind that occurs only once or twice a millennium.

Gottwald was flanked by his comrades, with Clementis standing close to him. It was snowing and cold, and Gottwald was bareheaded. Bursting with solicitude, Clementis took off his fur hat and set it on Gottwald's head. The propaganda section made hundreds of thousands of copies of the photograph taken on the balcony where Gottwald, in a fur hat and surrounded by his comrades, spoke to the people.

On that balcony the history of Communist Bohemia began. Every child knew that photograph, from seeing it on posters and in schoolbooks and museums.

Four years later, Clementis was charged with treason and hanged. The propaganda section immediately made him vanish from history and, of course, from all photographs. Ever since, Gottwald has been alone on the balcony. Where Clementis stood, there is only the bare palace wall. Nothing remains of Clementis but the fur hat on Gottwald's head."
posted by sacrilicious at 3:53 PM on January 26, 2006


Apparently, Reflections Photography was paid $140,000 by the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2004.
posted by digaman at 4:07 PM on January 26, 2006


That's a great quote, sac.
posted by digaman at 4:10 PM on January 26, 2006


My grocery store decided to stop carrying this particular brand of spaghetti sauce I like. It was there one day, and gone the next. Erased from memory. Future generations will never know about this mixture of tomatoes and basil. Safeway -- those totalitarian bastards.
posted by crunchland at 4:17 PM on January 26, 2006


crunchland, are you trolling? Or do you really not see how this is an attempt to deceive using the same tactics favored by totalarian governments in the past?

I just wonder how common this is in American politics. Are there other examples of American politicians and their yes-men attempting to suppress and manipulate photographs?
posted by nixerman at 4:25 PM on January 26, 2006


No. I'm not trolling. The fact that this private business decided to pull the image from circulation .. an image that they have rights to do with whatever they please .. is not an indication that they're trying to re-write history. This photograph is not a public record. It wasn't taken and paid for with taxpayer money. It's a product that this particular photo house sells. And they decided they didn't want to make it for sale anymore.

Is it comical that Bush and his republican friends are embarrassed enough to be associated with a slimeball like Abramoff, to the point that they and their agents are squashing access to the evidence? Yes. Is it an indication of some sinister, totalitarian regime rewriting history? No.

To paint it that way is just partisan theatrics.
posted by crunchland at 4:36 PM on January 26, 2006


And they decided they didn't want to make it for sale anymore.

Uh, yeah. You're leaving out the somewhat important fact that the business removed these photographs immediately after the President tried to distance himself from Abramoff. So, yes, it's pretty obvious that this is a deliberate attempt to deceive the public. You can insist otherwise but you just look like an idiot.

And whether the WH asked them to or the business did it of its own initiative is largely irrelevant. It's pretty clear that the business would have acted largely to win favor with the politician. This sort of behavior should not fly in a democracy. When photographs start disappearing it sets a precedent. Right now the photographs in question only contain the President and a sleazebag; in the future they might contain evidence of actual crimes. It should be made loud and clear by both the public and the media these sorts of attempts to rewrite history aren't acceptable and will be met with condemnation.
posted by nixerman at 4:44 PM on January 26, 2006


Crunchland, if you were speaking in a vacuum, I might be tempted to agree with you. But you're not. This administration long ago proved that deception and information-suppression is their modus operandi, and because thousands of people are dying because of their lies, I have little patience with the argument you're trying to make.
posted by digaman at 4:55 PM on January 26, 2006


So would you characterize Franklin Roosevelt's refusal to let newspapers show pictures of him in a wheelchair as an act of deception and totalitarian rule?
posted by crunchland at 4:59 PM on January 26, 2006


Did Franklin Roosevelt delete negative information from scientific reports? Suppress data which contradicted his policy positions?

As stated above, it ain't like Bushco does this in a vacuum. There's a long pattern of suppressing, selectively classifying, and erasing embarrassing facts.

So would you characterize Franklin Roosevelt's refusal to let newspapers show pictures of him in a wheelchair as an act of deception and totalitarian rule?

You hold that the comparison to totalitarians is not analogous, while your comparison is far less so.

You're comparing a leader suppressing evidence of their disabilities to a leader suppressing his meetings with an admitted felon who bribed public officials.

I personally find it stretches credibility (as if Bush had any to begin with) to meet with a bribegiver a half dozen times, who raised $100K+ for his campaigns and served on his transition team -- and claim not to remember him, while running around destroying the evidence that contradicts his story.
posted by edverb at 5:13 PM on January 26, 2006


No, because in that case, it was a decision made by the media in cooperation with the White House to preserve Roosevelt's dignity in the office, not a "refusal" by the President to be seen that way. I can see why you'd make that mistake in this day and age, Crunchie, but you might do a little homework. Studying history will help you understand how Bush lying about his level of contact with a corrupt lobbyist is not like Roosevelt and the press conspiring to preserve the dignity of an office that Bush is presently dragging down the toilet.
posted by digaman at 5:14 PM on January 26, 2006


... George Bush promised to bring 'dignity' to the White House, but we've since found that he brought Jack Abramoff instead," ...
posted by amberglow at 5:34 PM on January 26, 2006


and a little history lesson: ... During the 1996 scandal over foreign fundraising in the Clinton White House, Republicans demanded -- and obtained, though not without a fight -- extensive information about White House coffees and other meetings, including photos and videotapes....
posted by amberglow at 5:35 PM on January 26, 2006


I think it is arguable that the Roosevelt administration participated in supressing the images that might have portrayed him as a weaker man than he was had the public seen him in his true condition. I don't think that saving the man's dignity was the only reason.

But anyway, aside from the fact that there is no hard evidence that Bush coerced the photo archive to purge the photo, my point is not that it isn't sleazy to get rid of the embarrassing photo this way. Getting rid of embarrassing photographs by politicians is as old as the camera itself, I'd wager.

My point is that it's unnecessary to raise the spectre of Orwellian horror stories to indicate how sleazy it is. When people who witnessed the two men together start bobbing up, dead, in the cold Potomac is when you can start sounding the Stalin alarm.

But I don't really want to bicker about it. Instead, let's see if archive.org or google cache has a backup copy of this photo, or lets submit a FOIA request.
posted by crunchland at 6:55 PM on January 26, 2006


They're bobbing up in the Tigris and Euphrates, Crunchland.
posted by digaman at 7:12 PM on January 26, 2006


Speaking of Abramoff, dead witnesses, and "bobbing in the water", Gus Boulis comes to mind.
posted by edverb at 7:50 PM on January 26, 2006


I'm impressed -- this thing already is all over the "MSM"*: not as massively as that "Clinton got an expensive haircut" coverage from the early Nineties, but it's all over the news nonetheless. those General Electirc and Disney owned liberal news outlet will keep hammering the administration with this thing for days.

fucking Josh Marshall plays the liberal media like a fiddle. poor Matt Drudge's reporting instead, with his well-documented, reliable news, doesn't get picked up by the MSM. shameful, shameful.

*rhymes with LOL

PS I dig digaman
posted by matteo at 12:05 AM on January 27, 2006


and by the way, it's telling that the only Democrat who actually made Abramoff an issue was, well, George Clooney. tells you something on those "well Mr Alito is quite a nice man in the end" Capitol Hill Democrats. they've never found an issue they couldn't happily screw up

posted by matteo at 12:09 AM on January 27, 2006


Well no wonder they want to keep the pictures from the public! It's a little compromising...



(courtesy of Snarkster.com)
posted by Davenhill at 3:08 AM on January 27, 2006


Hmmm...I could - because there are apparently market forces that create a demand - photoshop photos of GWB in sexually compromising positions with children and offer them to newspapers and so forth as valid authentic historical photos (albeit not public documents) without fear of criticism. Good to know.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:09 AM on January 27, 2006


« Older Irritation: A radio saga....  |  Visualising... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments