Halloween, Fred Thompson and a Cruel Assignment!

There is one thing worse than spending the entire day covering dry political news on Halloween: making a slide show about a Fred Thomson press conference in San Francisco.

"That's cruel," a friend said when she heard that our professor had assigned my colleague Gaëlle Faure and me to make a slide show about a political press conference. It is not because the conference was for a Republican presidential candidate whose views on gays, lesbians and immigrants will win him no votes in such a liberal city, but because there the event was visually boring.

Halloween itself could have been a fascinating topic for a slide show, especially in San Francisco. Sure, the city's famous spontaneous and unsanctioned event in city's most openly gay neighborhood was taken away by the city after 2002, when five people were stabbed and police subdued a man with a chain saw in a crowd of almost 500,000.

But the Thomson event had no feeling, screaming, excitement, sorrow, grieving, color or the other visual elements that make a slide show watchable.

However, it seems that politicians' talk has never been more visual than it is today, especially when talking about Iraq, same-sex unions and immigration and explaining why water boarding is a form or torture or not. The story of Iraq is particularly visual in whatever way it is told, filled with stark images of human tragedy.

By Omid Memarian and Gaëlle Faure
Photos: Giuliani courtesy of Joe Crimmings; Romney courtesy of Reverend
Richmond B. DeYoung ||; McCain courtesy of Marc Nozell