Alfred Hitchcock, the master manipulator of moviegoer reaction, was famed for filming different angles of the same scene to intensify emotion. You might call Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) a latter-day Hitchcock, but for an opposite reason.

Shielding the Senate from public scrutiny

By banning TV cameras at Trump's impeachment trial and limiting screenshots to a static image of a lone speaker set against a dizzying speckled backdrop, McConnell is able to control audience reaction as TV viewers are dissuaded from watching the trial.

Even Fox News noticed the majority leader's maneuver. Free Speech, a national independent news network, quoted Chris Wallace saying, “We are not able to see what is the emotion, what is the state of consciousness of the members of the Senate.”

In the name of good governance

Free Speech also reported a letter of complaint from Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) to the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms that said, “These restrictions are antithetical to a free press, good governance, and the ability of the public to be fully informed about what we as elected leaders do in their name.”

When visual art tells the truth

Visual art to the rescue.

The New York Times hired a courtroom sketch artist to do what cameras were prevented from doing: record the senators at work or, as it turned out, variously dozing, reading a book and roaming the Senate halls. These are images you wouldn't have seen without an artist in the room.

Not giving credit where credit is due

But despite wide news coverage of what the sketch artist revealed, only the New York Times identified him: Art Lien.

For example, Salon's write-up of the drawings credited the reporter's name, and even provided a look-see at his background, like this:

"Igor Derysh is a staff writer at Salon. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun." So much attention given to a reporter and zero to an artist in the report makes no sense.

Then there's this: Deryshe merely compiled what other newsgroups noted, In contrast, Lien's work is the result of original reporting, not only captured likenesses of the senators but also recorded their actions.

When there's someone in the house who can draw

The Times also credited Lien as the sketch artist at the Supreme Court, which likewise disallows cameras. But now, Lien will be known for recording the goings-on in Trump's trial - presuming other newsgroups besides the Times note his name. His drawings may not be great art on the order of Goya's painting The Inquisition Tribunal. But Lien is providing the missing picture of a momentous event.

Lien's pictures, like Goya's storytelling painting of the Inquisition, presents telling information. From Goya's picture, we know that the trial was held inside an imposing Gothic-style church and that the accused were made to wear three-foot-tall dunce caps.

Revealing details like that are not unlike Lien's observation of snoozing senators.

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