Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Photo Opportunists

We already know that El Mundo likes to play games with photographs, but today it seems that they have shot themselves in the foot and perhaps even lost some readers. The paper featured prominently on its front page this morning a snatched, blurry, photo of Esperanza Aguirre en route between the operating theatre and her room, following the removal of a potentially cancerous tumour. We'll have no sick jokes about Aguirre being removed from a benign tumour if you don't mind! The photo seems to have been captured by a mobile phone and has provoked outrage amongst many of Aguirre's supporters because of the invasion of privacy. It's worth noting that many of these people have shown no previous anger over El Mundo's ever more frequent use of tabloid journalistic ethics, it seems to be merely a question of who the victim is.

Meanwhile, I hope that readers of this blog have noticed that I have shown commendable restraint over Aguirre's illness. I have resisted any temptation to question whether she got priority over other sick people on the hospital waiting lists. I also express my sincere hope that she is never sick enough to require the application of palliative care. This could cause great suffering when you bear in mind the tremendously callous policy adopted by Madrid's regional government on the use of such pain relieving treatment.

This wasn't the only story in El Mundo today concerning the use of photographs. The paper claimed in another article that a photograph on the new web page in support of the re-election of Madrid mayor Alberto Ruiz Gallardón could lead to the page being closed down under the new anti-piracy Ley Sinde! The header of the page has been clumsily "photoshopped" in order to include an image of Gallardón against a background of happy smiling citizens. We know this because the same picture (without Gallardón) can be found elsewhere on the web and can be purchased from one of these internet photo stock sites.

A flustered town hall responded that of course they had paid for the right to use the image, and then confusingly added that they would change it. Perhaps because it was now evident that none of the people shown standing with Gallardón were actually residents of Madrid, and perhaps also because at least one of them seems to have been cloned. According to the not necessarily reliable El Mundo some of these people are Danish, which raises the question of whether Gallardón, having ruined Madrid, has now set his sights on governing Copenhagen? The last time I looked the picture was still the same but just in case I decided to capture a screenshot for posterity.

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