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February 02, 2007

Fields and the Lexicon

The legacy of C. Virginia Fields (and the metaphorical image created by the mere mention of her name) is likely to be the use of Photoshop-altered images in political campaigns to create false impressions of political support.

As sure-as-shootin' that Monica Lewinsky will be at the top of Bill Clinton's obit, so too Photo-gate (or Fields-gate) will take prominent space in the eventual obituary for Clara Virginia Fields.

Not the first, doubtful the last and perhaps not the most egregious in its use, Fields-Photo-gate is known for the utter stupidity in the way the candidate (Virginia Fields) handled the disclosure and political fallout of the flap. But like the memorable Barry White song, with Fields, Photo-gate is the first, the last, the everything.

Even the right-wing Slant Point commented, "...if the Fields campaign had any intelligence, they'd simply follow Madison Avenue and hire the right colorful actors to all appear in the same shot. The end result is the same - forced diversity - but at least you'd avoid the fallout from photo fixing."

Or as Politics and Technology said, "Once again, people, don't do this."

Perhaps like Watergate, it wasn't so much the crime as it was the cover-up that mattered.

So it didn't surprise anyone when the Observer referred to a similar incident as "Virginia Fields-esque problem."

See the full article after the jump.

Altered photo of OC candidate with Schwarzenegger causes trouble
by Gillian Flaccus
Associated Press Writer

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) -- A candidate for Orange County's Board of Supervisors is defending himself after a doctored photograph placing him near Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at a press event appeared in two Vietnamese-language newspapers over the weekend.

The photo, taken in August in Little Saigon, shows candidate Trung Nguyen wearing a blue suit and standing slightly behind and to the left of the governor. A video of that day on Schwarzenegger's Web site shows Nguyen wasn't standing anywhere near the governor as he spoke from a podium.

The photograph ran over the weekend in two dailies, the Vien Dong and Viet Bao Kinh Te, in Little Saigon, the largest Vietnamese community outside of Southeast Asia.

Saulo Londono, Nguyen's campaign manager, blamed a volunteer for the doctored photo, which was created by pasting a photo of Nguyen's head to another man's body. Londono said the volunteer, who he declined to name, had been removed from the campaign.

"There are multiple pictures of Trung at that event with Arnold Schwarzenegger," Londono said Tuesday. "There are so many pictures that volunteer should have used instead and we're conducting an investigation into why the real photo wasn't used."

Schwarzenegger's office was upset by the altered image but wasn't taking any action against Nguyen. The circulation of the doctored photo was reported Sunday by a local conservative blog called Red County.

"It's clearly unauthorized, it's not something we knew anything about," said Aaron McLear, Schwarzenegger's press secretary. "There are strict policies that we have when it comes to the use of the governor's image, but it's our understanding that they've taken steps to rectify it so the problem solved itself."

The controversy comes at a bad time for Nguyen, a school board member and attorney who is running in a 10-way race to replace Lou Correa, who resigned after winning a state Senate seat in November. Voters from the district, which includes Westminster, Santa Ana and Garden Grove, go to the polls Feb. 6.

The photo was discovered Saturday by a campaign worker for Garden Grove Councilwoman Janet Nguyen, who is fighting Trung Nguyen for support among Vietnamese-American voters. The Nguyens are not related.

The original photo was taken months ago, when Schwarzenegger appeared in Little Saigon to sign an executive order that allows the flag of the former South Vietnam to be used at state-sponsored events.

On the Net:
Trung Nguyen's campaign: http://www.trungnguyen.us/

Posted by Merkookio at 04:55 AM | TrackBack