Friday, October 10, 2008

McCain Leg Photos of the Debate. Rueters. Here We Go Again.

As sexism charges against media coverage of Sarah Palin have intensified in recent weeks, one particular news photograph has roused widespread fury among readers who say it demeans the Alaska governor as nothing more than a sex object.

The photo -- taken Wednesday by the Reuters wire service -- shows the Republican vice presidential candidate addressing supporters at a rally in Bethlehem, Pa.

But the only glimpse of Palin in the photo is a blurred close-up of her legs -- with the face of a young, male audience member set between them as he looks upward at the stage.

Click here to see the legs photo and others pictures of Sarah Palin.

Separately, an Associated Press photographer took similar photos from a different angle, including one that appeared to include Cindy McCain's legs.

Whether an artistic portrayal of a vice presidential candidate or an explicitly sexist snapshot, the photograph prompted 11,485 viewer comments in the first three hours after it was posted Thursday on

Click here to read the FOX Forum on the Palin photo.

Some readers, unconvinced that it is an objective news photo, speculated whether it would have been taken if Palin were a male candidate.

"By showing Sarah Palin's legs instead of her face, it couldn't be anything but sexist," wrote one viewer.

"We'd never have a photo like this of Joe Biden," added another, who called on groups like the National Organization of Women to condemn it.

Other readers even charged that the Reuters photo was part of a larger effort by the "mainstream media" to depict Palin as an ineffectual candidate whose only qualities worthy of attention are her physical attributes.

"We expect this behavior from the tabloids, but not a once respected news agency. Just proves how insanely desperate the left has become," wrote a viewer.

But a flood of respondents disagreed, saying it is nothing more than a photograph of Palin that effectively "frames the listener"--and one that carries no sexist undertones.

"Is the photo sexist? Depends on who you are and what you are looking for," wrote a reader.

"Is it a woman's legs? Yes. If it were a man's legs in work attire would it be sexist? Was GW (George W. Bush) working on the farm in a short sleeve shirt sexist? Was Obama in the swim trunks sexist? (John) Kerry on the surfboard? Is McCain sexist because he married a former beauty pageant contestant? That (picture) is an often-used shot. It shows the speaker with the group looking up to them," the viewer wrote.

"If this hits your sexual urges then wow, you are depraved," another reader quipped.

Some respondents blamed Palin herself for injecting sexism into the presidential race.

"It's Sarah Palin who keeps referring to her gender with her references to a 'pit bull with lipstick' and her comment that 'the gloves have come off and the heels are on'" said a viewer.

"Clearly the shot was in reference to the "heels" comment she made about herself -- it's just a shot of a woman in high-heels demonstrating her own point."

Others also dismissed recent criticism of the latest Newsweek cover, which shows a close-up picture of Palin's face that was not retouched or airbrushed.

It's inherently sexist, viewers wrote, to expect that a female candidate's picture be altered to enhance her appearance.

"It's sexism in reverse to claim that Newsweek's photo should have been airbrushed. Governor Palin is not a beauty queen, she's a politician. We would never cry sexism if it were a close-up of Biden's fine-lines and wrinkles. Men can have their imperfections shown, but women cannot?" another respondent wrote.

Source:  Fox News

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