Photo (that accompanied the quoted text below)
from International New York Times, 8/5/16
Following up on the last post about a severe breach of privacy and photo ethics I offer some passages from an op-ed by Bill McKibben in the International New York Times, 8/5/16 to further illustrate the power and abuse of power of photography.
There are shameful photos of me on the internet.
In one series, my groceries are being packed into plastic bags, as I’d forgotten to bring cloth ones. In other shots, I am getting in and out of … cars. There are video snippets of me giving talks, or standing on the street. Sometimes I see the cameraman, sometimes I don’t. The images are often posted to Twitter, reminders that I’m being watched.
In April, Politico and The Hill reported that America Rising Squared, an arm of the Republican opposition research group America Rising, had decided to go after me and Tom Steyer, another prominent environmentalist, with a campaign on a scale previously reserved for presidential candidates. Using what The Hill called “an unprecedented amount of effort and money,” the group, its executive director said, was seeking to demonstrate our “epic hypocrisy and extreme positions.”
Since then, my days in public have often involved cameramen walking backward and videotaping my every move. It’s mostly when I travel (I’ve encountered them in at least five states so far, as well as in Australia), and generally when I’m in a public or semipublic space. They aren’t interested in my arguments; instead, these videos, usually wordless, are simply posted on Twitter, almost always with music. One showed me sitting in a church pew, accompanied by the song “Show Me That Smile.” The tweet read, “Ready for his close-up.”
This effort has resulted in all kinds of odd things appearing on right-wing corners of the web: out-of-context quotations from old books and articles apparently put on display to prove I’m a zealot, and photos from God knows who intended to make me out as a hypocrite (the plastic bags, for instance, and my travel by car, which, you know, burns gas). Mostly, they’ve just published those creepy videos, to remind me that I’m under surveillance.
Merely having someone with a camera follow you somehow makes you feel as if you’re doing something wrong.
And yet, for all that logic, I still find myself on edge. To be watched so much is a kind of never-ending nightmare. And sometimes it’s just infuriating. I skipped the funeral this summer of Patrick Sorrento, an important mentor to me at my college newspaper, because I didn’t want my minder to follow me and cause a distracting spectacle. When my daughter reports someone taking pictures of her at the airport, it drives me nuts. I have no idea if it’s actually this outfit; common decency would suggest otherwise, but that seems an increasingly rare commodity.
A good thing about movements is that you really do have brothers and sisters, and they do have your back. The fossil-fuel industry may threaten us as a planet, as a nation, and as individuals, but when we rise up together we’ve got a fighting chance against the powers that be.
And perhaps that realization is just a little bit scary for them.
Read the entire op-ed: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/07/opinion/sunday/embarrassing-photos-of-me-thanks-to-my-right-wing-stalkers.html