04/18/2007 02:25 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Reading The Pictures: Focusing Past The Mourning Show


Why is this the newswire's most impressive pic of Bush at Virginia Tech?

It's because of the visual quid pro quo.

We have a photo-op White House that has always approached any event, first and foremost, in terms of its "backdrop" potential. We have an administration, lately reduced to a clown show, desperate for absolutely anything that can run off with the news cycle. And we have a hyper-vigilant Karl Rove who, since New Orleans, has had an eye for any disaster-opportunity which could help restore some face post-Katrina.

Therefore (whether an overt or instinctive move), the photographer "built in an equalizer," trading off the foreground for the background, and placing attention in the most politically unlikely of places -- where it was more necessary and real.

For more coverage of the Bush visit to Virginia Tech, visit here at

(image: Larry Downing/Reuters. Blacksburg, Virginia, April 17, 2007. via YahooNews)