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This is a lesson in bad use of imagery to get a point across. Ford and its engineering and design team and assembly workers who put together the Ford Fiesta ST must have been quite excited to get the call today from Car and Driver that the Ford Fiesta ST made their 10Best list for 2014 model year.

Surely they must have imagined their little Fiesta all dolled up by Car and Driver's expert car photographers looking all glamorous, and ready to take on the world. So, I am sure everyone associated with the production of the Fiesta ST must have rushed over to Car and Driver to see the glamor shots and read the article about their baby.

When they actually saw the picture at the top of the article about their baby, well they must have felt victims of Ashton Kushner's Punk'd.

The photo at the top of the article discussing the Fiesta's placement in Car and Driver's 10Best for the 2014 model year isn't a bad photograph. In fact, I like the photograph. It's just that it belongs at an exhibit honoring auto mechanics not as a photo honoring the car that hundreds of engineers, designers, and assembly line workers who put in years of har work to produce.

The image contains a Fiesta ST alright. But the ST is surrounded by auto mechanics, is sitting up on blocks, and is stripped of most of its innards. It's an image that recalls an old dig at Ford.

"What does Ford stand for?"

"Found On the Road Dead."

Are you serious? The other nine cars that were honored were dutifully portrayed in glitzy photography showing off their best looks. In this regard, the award for Ford goes from an honor to a cruel prank.

I remember Leslie Stahl telling a story about a piece she did for sixty minutes on the Reagan administration. I can't recall now what that piece was about, but from Stahl's telling it was meant to be a scathing criticism of Reagan's policies. Instead, she got a call from someone on the Reagan team, I believe he was Reagan's campaign manager. Instead of getting chewed out by the him, Stahl was thanked. Why?

It is a lesson in imagery. The Reagan team member thanked Stahl for the images she used in the piece. She used images of Reagan in very presidential situations, with the military, for example, in front of a flag, and other great presidential photo ops. The images, he told her, would stick with the audience more than the story itself. That's the power of images. It's why presidents and their team work so hard to control their image, to always have them at their best when in front of a camera.

It seems by now every journalist should understand the power of images. Journalists who work so closely with the best photographers should know this lesson even better. So, it makes you wonder, why did Car and Driver use the image of a broke down and stripped down Fiesta ST with one mechanic hovering over it and another on a creeper working under it? It's enough to make you think that their decision was controversial and this image was chosen to appease the dissenters.

Perhaps not.

But that's the kind of question this image will always raise. And it is unfair to the people behind the production of the vehicle supposedly being honored.

Punkd photo Punkd.jpg

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Comment Preferences

  •  Car and Driver (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude

    is well past it's sell-by date. I canceled years ago...

  •  Gee, they refrained from dredging up... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    88kathy, BusyinCA

    ...Henry Ford's autocratic rule. Cut `em some slack, willya? /snark

    •  My Ford automobile is black. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RfrancisR, Gemina13, Calamity Jean

      Does that make me a misogynistic racist capitalist like Henry F. ?

      / snark referring to the only color Ford quote.

      H. Ford was an asshole. Gifted, yes. Godlike, no. Too bad he never saw the distinction. And he was a control freak, even more than current corporations. But they are getting closer by the day.

      I can't believe the prices lately. $30K for a Focus? Base price for my 09 after Cash 4 clunkers and factory rebate was less then 14K.

      Car and Driver used to have some great articles (18-20 years ago). Only time I pick them up now is when I'm waiting for my oil change or doctors visit. All of the car magazines I've perused lately are geared to the high end cars that most average working stiffs like me will never even see, much less drive or own.

      •  Yeah, Henry Ford was an ass (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        winkk, stunvegas

        but trashing someone's work product while supposedly giving an award is a shitty thing to do.

        And the fact remains that if you buy a car or, well anything, you are buying it from a corporation that has likely done crappy shit in its history.

        And here's the thing, I am truly "not a car" person in that I have NEVER, in my 44 years, owned a car. I have never even gotten a drivers license. SERIOUSLY.

        But, I do like reading about them and looking at them. And the workers who built these cars, they don't deserve this because Henry Ford was an ass.

  •  Someone at Ford forgot to send the check (6+ / 0-)

    for their ads to Car and Driver......

    "The first duty of a revolutionist is to get away with it.". Abbie Hoffman

    by Joes Steven on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 02:07:44 PM PST

  •  Cruel. (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, furi kuri, Tommy Aces, viral, Sylv, shanikka

    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Wee Mama on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 02:12:11 PM PST

  •  Odd story at Dailykos... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    viral, 88kathy, Sylv, Wee Mama

    But yeah.

    Who the heck picked that image at Car and Driver...

    Its a wreck. In a literal and figurative sense. Just looking at it even AFTER reading the article I had a gut reaction against the car.

    If I were just flipping through, or saw the image first, I'd think I was seeing a list of cars to avoid...

    If I were on that Ford team right now, I'd be very angry. And if I were a Ford exec, I'd be calling the folks in marketing to see if we could out some damage control...

    Its like trying to tell readers of a certain 'Play' magazine to 'read the articles' - people buy these things, glance at the pictures, and forget much of the article a few minutes later...

    What was I typing about again? Oh yeah - some junker car up on blocks right?


    OMG, like, gag them with a multi-colored spoon. Like, ya know.

    by Jyotai on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 02:31:46 PM PST

    •  I agree that it is unusual to see something (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      88kathy, viral

      non-political at DailyKos. But then I've seen diaries here that were about sports with no political angle whatsoever. I've seen other cultural topics that don't necessarily have anything about politics here.

      This is about cars, for the most part. And that's not really political. It is also about imagery and how that can screw up the message. So, there might be a takeaway from a political messaging standpoint. Although I admit that the possible political messaging angle is not addressed. But messaging, generally speaking, is.

    •  A top 10 for the Bill of Rights, 2nd would be the (0+ / 0-)

      fiesta shot.

      Why is it easier to buy a gun than it is to register to vote in most states?

      by 88kathy on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 03:01:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think there is a class dimension here. The Ford (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      paz3, happymisanthropy, Calamity Jean

      Fiesta is not the car you buy to show off how much money you have - it's a sensible car that does well on many practical dimensions. I read this as saying, "Screw you, people with lean means - we're not going to dignify your cheap practical car as an equal of one of our shows of conspicuous consumation."

      Really, quite terrible.

      Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

      by Wee Mama on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 04:12:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  we just started leasing a car and so for the first (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    time since we bought our 2004 Matrix, I drove or rode in a bunch of different cars to test them. I'm not much of a car person at all, so I have forgotten what they all were. The only one I remember by name as 'I don't like this car' was called a Ford Fiesta...just my uninformed first impression fwiw. $.02

    We are all pupils in the eyes of God.

    by nuclear winter solstice on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 06:11:34 PM PST

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