Mediaite's Christopher Calls 'Bulls**t' on Newsweek Over Bachmann 'Outtakes' Excuse

Probably in response to a firestorm of criticism over their cover photo of Rep. Michele Bachmann, Newsweek today released a slideshow of "outtakes" that they say show that, in essence, the Minnesota Republican is unphotogenic and didn't give them much to work with in terms of a flattering photo.

For his part, left-leaning Mediaite.com reporter Tommy Christopher isn't buying it, calling "bulls**t" on the Tina Brown-edited publication (emphasis mine):

 

Apparently in response to the uproar over their “crazy” cover photo of GOP presidential hopeful Rep. Michele Bachmann, Newsweek magazine has cleverly published a slideshow of cover outtakes that seems to make the case that Bachmann is incapable of being photographed without sporting the gaze of a Cujo stunt double. Their “See, she always looks crazy” defense is probably appealing to most Bachmann detractors, but I call “bullshit.”

The slideshow consists of eight photos that the magazine labels “outtakes,” and they feature shots that convey varying degrees of what publisher Tina Brown calls “intensity.” There’s one in which Bachmann appears to use nothing but the power of her grin to extract an elderly man’s will to live, and another one that looks like she’s trying to levitate an object from across the room. Here’s a collage of thumbnails that we put together, but you can check out the full slideshow here.

The accompanying text outlines the controversy surrounding the cover, including the denunciation by NOW, and explains, “Many of the photographs taken for the feature showed Bachmann with similar intensity. Here are more images from the shoot, including some used inside the magazine, showing Bachmann in the nation’s capital and on the trail in Iowa.”

While they don’t actually say it, the implication is that these eight photos represent all of the shots they had to choose from, and they had no choice but to use the one they went with.

The problem is that news photographers (really, all photographers) use rapid-fire cameras that take several shots per second, which results in a large selection of each pose. For that one shot they did use, there are probably ten or so that are nearly identical, but with subtle differences which might have softened the effect of Bachmann’s gaze. None of those made it into the outtakes.

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Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters