Experts rate historical G20 picture with Scholz: “This photo is a lie!” politics

The photo went around the world and is now printed in all major German newspapers (including BILD): The rulers of the free world put their heads together at a crisis summit on Wednesday morning. Central figure, although standing on the left edge: Chancellor Olaf Scholz (64, SPD).

The powerful of the western world are anxiously discussing what the rocket hits in Poland a few hours earlier mean for the world: world war or a bit of peace?

The government photo: everywhere!

Photo: manufacturer

The photo, which is a topic of conversation, was taken on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, when the world did not know exactly where the rockets that killed two farmers in Poland came from: from Russia or from Ukraine?

US President Joe Biden had invited the other five NATO heads of state present to his delegation hotel, the Grand Hyatt, for the morning. In the ballroom, leaders from Great Britain, Germany, France, Canada and Spain gathered around a round banquet table. Only host Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Sunak are seated in the photo (seen from behind in the photo). There are: Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Spain’s Sanchez, France’s Macron, Canada’s Trudeau.

And almost all eyes are on or in the direction of Scholz!

So is the West looking to our Chancellor for advice? Is he the man who sets the tone in the shock second?

You could think so. And you should probably.

Because the picture is government PR. It was not taken by a photographer – but by Scholz’ government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit. And he has been responsible for the reputation of the SPD politician for years.

The gentleman and his PR man: Chancellor Olaf Scholz with his spokesman Steffen Hebestreit

The gentleman and his PR man: Chancellor Olaf Scholz with his spokesman Steffen Hebestreit

Photo: REUTERS

The photo – it is a balancing act between professional Scholz polish and a keyhole view. Photographers never come close to such historical moments. So you take what you can get. Better seen through the eye of the PR strategist than not seeing anything at all.

All just PR!

Communications professor Klaus Kocks (70, once VW head of PR), to BILD: “It should look like a private snapshot, but it’s staged, coordinated with the PR staff of the other heads of state.”

PR professional Klaus Kocks (70):

PR professional Klaus Kocks (70): “Dad and the uncles take care…”

Foto: picture alliance/dpa

Kocks’ merciless verdict: “The picture is a brazen lie!”

And: “We are treated here like children in a thunderstorm – the message that should be transported: Don’t be afraid, dad and the other uncles will take care of it.”

Immo von Fallois (60), head of the strategic communications consultancy WMP Eurocom, sees a photo whose publication focused on one thing: “This is about a photo that should stay: an icon.”

The recording: “Extremely clever.”

The photo message, according to von Fallois: “the concentrated liberal power, thoughtful, determined, confident.” And in the center: the German chancellor.

Spin Doctor Immo von Fallois (60): The Scholz photo?

Spin Doctor Immo von Fallois (60): The Scholz photo? “An icon!”

Photo: Kai Bublitz/WMP EuroCom AG

G7 photo with Donald Trump: This is how government PR works!

With his successful G20 snapshot of Chancellor Scholz, Steffen Hebestreit is not without a role model: the PR staff of the powerful work with these so-called “handouts”, i.e. with photos that have been handed out.

One of the most famous examples: Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Donald Trump at the G7 summit in Canada in June 2018 – both surrounded by Britain’s Theresa May (no longer in office), France’s Macron and Japan’s Shinzo Abe (assassinated in 2022). ).

The Chancellor in the center.  At the G7 summit in Canada in 2018, government spokesman Seibert took this photo of the dynamic chancellor seemingly leaning over Trump.  Hard to see: France's Macron (3rd from right, half hidden) and Trump adviser John Bolton (standing behind Trump) are speaking.

The Chancellor in the center. At the G7 summit in Canada in 2018, Federal Press Office photographer Jesco Denzel took this photo of the dynamic Chancellor seemingly bending over Trump. Hard to see: France’s Macron (3rd from right, half hidden) and Trump adviser John Bolton (standing behind Trump) are speaking.

Photo: Twitter/RegSprecher/dpa

This photo also went around the world. This photo was also published in all major German newspapers. And this photo from the G7 summit in Canada in 2018 clearly shows how PR works on the part of a government, how every PR man focuses on his own head of state.

This is where you will find content from Twitter

In order to interact with or display content from Twitter and other social networks, we need your consent.

▶︎ The photo of Team Germany: The chancellor in the center, leaning powerfully over the table in the direction of Trump, who is crossing his arms. She sets the tone, the rest looks to her and the American.

▶︎ Team USA’s photo: Trump in the center, the rest out of focus around him.

Out of focus in the middle: Donald Trump.  But: The rest of the heads of state are either not on it at all or even more blurred or with their backs to the camera.  Very important: The unloved German is completely hidden.

The situation from the US perspective. Out of focus in the middle: Donald Trump. But: The rest of the heads of state are either not on it at all or even more blurred or with their backs to the camera. Very important: The unloved German is completely hidden

Photo: Source: Fabian Reinbold /Twitter

▶︎ France: Merkel covers, Macron dominates the scene.

Macron in the center - talking, gesturing - definitely important.  Trump's forehead quiff can only be seen in the semi-darkness on the lower right edge of the picture, Merkel's only hairstyle and light blue blazer.

The situation from the point of view of France. Macron in the center – talking, gesturing – definitely important. Trump’s forehead quiff can only be seen in the semi-darkness on the lower right edge of the picture, Merkel’s only hairstyle and light blue blazer

Photo: Source: Fabian Reinbold /Twitter

▶︎ Italy: The then head of government Giuseppe Conte – otherwise not seen in any photo – but important here.

Photo bad luck in Italy: Giuseppe Conte is standing on the left edge of the picture, unlit and in half profile - but at least with paper and pen, the British May, the French Macron, the Chancellor and Trump's hairstyle in one photo...

Photo bad luck in Italy: Giuseppe Conte stands on the left edge of the picture unlit and in half profile – but at least with a piece of paper and a pen

Photo: Source: Fabian Reinbold /Twitter

▶︎ Canada and Japan also published their take on the scene: Canada’s Justin Trudeau, while still on the fringes, is more active and the only one directly alongside what was then the world’s most powerful man, Donald Trump. Japan’s Abe (murdered on July 9, 2022) is actively leaning on the table next to Merkel, who has lowered her gaze – between the Chancellor and Trump.

This is where you will find content from Twitter

In order to interact with or display content from Twitter and other social networks, we need your consent.

But the winning picture came from Merkel photographer Denzel. That’s why Trump followed up days later – with a four-part photo series that was supposed to make it clear: it was me, I was important, I rocked it.

This is where you will find content from Twitter

In order to interact with or display content from Twitter and other social networks, we need your consent.

Only in the PR and propaganda department does Gorbachev’s cleverly handed down (and probably never said so) sentence apply: “He who comes too late will be punished by life.”

Denzel’s Merkel photo was remembered…

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.