In debates over public policy, words matter. But readers recognize that words represent the opinion of the writer, and as such can be incorrect, misinformed, or simply stating a preference that the reader may disagree with.
But photographs are different. When presented with a photograph purporting to convey a message, readers (viewers) don’t know if it is real or has been altered.
So when the Community Bridge Blog, a Manhattan-based project, uses a doctored photograph of Republican Kansas Secretary of State Candidate Kris Kobach, readers might be justifiably confused. Is the pasted-in message behind Kobach real, or false?
In this case the photograph is false. It’s a fake. These types of photographic alterations — thought to be funny or amusing by some, especially liberals — have no place in serious public discussion. Even if they’re a staple of MSNBC television commentators.
And when we wonder why good people are reluctant to run for public office, here’s a reason why: they’re likely to be subject to malicious and false attacks such as this.
The author of the post, Christopher E. Renner — at one time a “Linguistically/Culturally Diverse Populations’ Consultant and Teacher Trainer at the Midwest Equity Assistance Center, College of Education, Kansas State University” — ought to apologize to Kobach and the readers of the blog. That’s if he wants to be taken seriously.
Here’s the text of Renner’s post, contained in What Every Kansan Needs to Know about Kris Kobach. While I believe Renner is largely incorrect in his opinion — and his writing could use some proofreading — his written opinions are just that. Readers can choose to agree or not.
The Republican’s nominee for the job of Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, is a well know nativist extremist who makes a living by drafting anti-immigrant laws and, after they are adopted, trains officers to enforce them. If the laws are challenged, he goes to court to defend them. Quite the racket since the laws are always rule unconstitutional and in the mean time he lines his pockets with tax-payer dollars from the legal fees he racks up.
But altered photographs are different from words.