The psychological power of images

Published 1:36 pm Saturday, February 27, 2016

by William Scott

I like reading the “opinion” section of the paper because it speaks to how folks in the area view civic subjects and the psychological images that are being put on display in those opinions. For the most part, views expressed in that section are slanted towards one political party, or one ideological view. Often these articles try to convey an unbiased view but a careful reading always reveals just what side the author’s view fall. These word images are power; they have a lasting effect on our psyche!

Take for example the February 12 ‘opinion’ section. All four articles –The letter to the Editor, Overview, Your Turn, and Making Sense – speak to a conservative ideology. Even the political cartoon showing ‘The Donald’ water spraying the GOP (Elephant) depicts a somewhat frustrated party who has – at least for now – lost control of “the Trump Lane.”

Without offering an opposing point-of-view or at best an unbiased one, the images being displayed confirms to a conservative ideologist that North Korea needs to be silenced especially since we allowed them to develop long-range weapons. And since President Barack Obama, who is not George Washington, only has a short while left in office, be consoled; we’ll have a white person back in office soon. The negative image on display in the ‘Our view’ article as well as “Your Turn” goes to an adverse irrational hatred or suspicion that has plagued President Obama’s presidency in this so-called ‘post-racial society.’ The images being created in the articles tend to assure that we will remain divided along sociological, cultural and racial lines especially when we camouflage our comments with noted personalities or national organization famed for espousing another point-of-view, often an unbiased one. When and how long have you walked in another ‘sub-cultures’ shoes?

Where is the balance, where is the unprejudiced, where is the fair-mindedness in reporting when the images being displayed point only in one direction. The last article called “Making Sense” makes absolutely no sense when it ends by saying that Donald Trump would be better as President than Hillary Clinton or ‘the old socialist’ Bernie Sanders. To suggest that Ben Carson should never have tried to run for the highest office in the world was based on what? Agreed, he never looked like a politician, still does not disqualify him for trying – is their another reason? The psychological power images affect us all as seen in the word, ‘old socialist.’ When the author of the article suggests that someone is too old, maybe he should remember his own father’s age. And to be called a socialist is like being called a communist that connects with a Marxist, a Stalinist, a Leninist, or a Maoist; all of these are communist forms of government. Bernie Sanders is a Social-Democrat, not a Social-Communist. ‘Making Sense’ creates negative images by indirectly calling him a communist just by calling him a socialist without qualifying the term.

Finally, the unbiased political cartoon does in fact speak to the total electorate as democrats, republicans, independents, conservatives, moderates, progressives and liberals are perplexed over the Donald – this is a powerful picture creating a lasting effect on our psyche!

William Scott is a guest columnist for The Tidewater News. He can be reached at