“Art of the Narrative: How viral photos of suffering kids silence immigration debate” Article Review
“You’ve seen it by now: Two women and two little children, barefoot and in diapers, fleeing teargas on the US-Mexico border. The powerful image has gone viral, and it’s not the first time. But to what end?
Taken on Sunday by Reuters photographer Kim Kyung-Hoon, the photo soon appeared on the front pages and splashed across the screens of every single US mainstream media outlet. It quickly spread via social media, eclipsing every other image from the incident – in which a group of migrants from the Central American “caravans” tried to storm the US border as San Ysidro.
Trump tear gasses children!” howled the US president’s critics, using the photo as a bludgeon against the current administration’s border enforcement and immigration policies.
“These children are barefoot. In diapers. Choking on tear gas,” tweeted California’s governor-elect Gavin Newsom, a Democrat. “That’s not my America. We’re a land of refuge. Of hope. Of freedom. And we will not stand for this.”
The Washington Post used Newsom’s words as a headline, solidifying the paper’s ongoing narrative that the “caravans” departing from El Salvador and Honduras, headed to the US border through Guatemala and Mexico, were peaceful crowds of asylum-seekers, mostly women and children, driven by fear of violence and political persecution.