What You See May Not Be . . .
March 9, 2001 3:56 AM   Subscribe

What You See May Not Be . . . A memo, telling lobbyists to "dress down" as "real workers" for GOP photo op, provides rare window into a common practice on Capitol Hill. Both Republicans and Democrats go to great lengths to assemble average Americans who can convey the appropriate political message, and when they can't find any, they simply trade in their white collars for hard hats themselves
posted by frednorman (6 comments total)
Can't find enough *real people* that like your ideas? Fabricate them.

There are very good reason to be cynical.
posted by vanderwal at 4:06 AM on March 9, 2001

I dunno. The same story says the Dems. gave up in re to a press conference when the waitress didn't show up. Hey, at least they called it off, even if it was a pretty lame idea to begin with. Not that I'm saying they're to be congratulated for this, but nevertheless . . .

Isn't the problem here more a case of lazy journalism? So media people, particularly TV people who need pictures, will show up at any press conference held by just about anyone of any remotely significant stature. I realize it's the only way to fill up so much airtime and space sometimes, but shesh, there has to be something else to do.

Maybe CNN, say, could put together interactive version of the typical news story, where viewers can go online and look at the press release themselves, or attend the press conference along with the reporters. (Greta Van Sostren could give you the legal angle, about libel and such.) You're running out stuff to put on the air, should you use this lame material, or get fired? Or actually work to find more interesting stories from, say, other parts of the globe?
posted by raysmj at 7:03 AM on March 9, 2001

I've always loved the bit of political portraiture found about halfway down Fred Thompson's bio page. Just a good ol' boy, one of us. Probably drives that pickup right up the steps of the Capitol, parks in the rotunda, don't you know.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:16 AM on March 9, 2001

I work on the Hill. 2 comments:

-The photo op thing is one of those "who came first" deals. Politicians want exposure, and the media want a good story and a good photo to go with it. Let me ask you: would they put a photo in the paper if it was one middle aged guy dressed in a suit in front of the podium? The answer is no. Worse yet, your story may get skipped over for a one that will contribute a nice front page photo, or be buried on page F10--with a huge Macy's add to the left, and a JC Penny's ad to the right. The bottom line is: if the press doesn't change, the politicians won't.

-I don't know about Fred Thompson, but I've seen plenty of senators/senior staff and let me tell you--a lot of them drive pretty shitty cars.
posted by Witold at 8:34 AM on March 9, 2001

puts a whole new spin on this:

"George W Bush couldn't even PAY any non-white people to PRETEND to be supporters!"

posted by Sapphireblue at 9:56 AM on March 9, 2001

re: Fred Thompson's Bio Page...

Sheesh..they're spreading on the "good ol' boy" schtick pretty heavily, aren't they? "Mother Thompson's delicious cake recipe's", fer cryin' out loud? The make his bio sound like "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance Goes To Washington To Save The Hunt For Red October From The Contender".

I kept looking for a picture of him wearing some rattlesnake skin shitkickers and a Skoal trucker's cap.
posted by Optamystic at 3:11 PM on March 9, 2001

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