Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Media and Obama

Lisa Benson’s approach to the president seems to bring to light the media’s fascination with Obama. In many ways, he is viewed as the polar opposite to what traditional high office in Washington is. He’s not White, but Black; he’s not old and stodgy, but young and fit. These non-political differences alone provide a strong appeal compared to his political opponents.

Viewers see that these differences have made a sensation. Media concentrates on the new, the dynamic, and the unknown. Obama represents all this in one person. As a result, the media, Benson’s cartoon suggests, have concentrated on Obama to a fault, overlooking aspects of the impact of even George W. Bush at times. Benson’s drawing urges viewers to develop an alternative view.

Both men are seen performing similar actions, with their arms in the air, grasping on to an object. Bush is raising a sign, an advertisement seemingly, showing his record, his accomplishment in office. But Obama is holding ice cream. Ice cream? Not one cone, but two. Are they both for him? It seems to be clear, doesn’t it, whose accomplishments that Benson envisions as more substantial?

Lisa Benson’s work appears in The Washington Post and in newspaper syndication nationwide.

--Jeremiah, Chris, & Kirk

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