On most days, I receive a photo like the one above in my email inbox, courtesy of Canadian taxpayers.
These professionally shot, high-resolution images, often by Jason Ransom, invariably showcase Prime Minister Stephen Harper as a benevolent authority figure.
Usually, they convey that he's either some sort of economic wizard or that he has a special bond with people of colour, the military, some Canadian hero, the Royal Family, or a head of state.
I never receive regular photos in my inbox of Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair, Liberal Leader Bob Rae, any of the federal Liberal leadership candidates, Green Leader Elizabeth May, Premier Christy Clark, B.C. NDP Leader Adrian Dix, or Mayor Gregor Robertson.
I imagine that editors at newspapers across the country would tell a similar tale.
Former U.S. president Ronald Reagan's chief spin doctor, Michael Deaver, knew the power of images.
One story told over the years was about how Deaver allegedly called CBS correspondent Lesley Stahl to congratulate her on a devastating story about the Great Communicator. Why was Deaver happy? Because CBS's glowing images of Reagan in the story overrode anything she said.
Harper appears to have adopted a similar approach. He bombards the media with positive images, and probably believes that it doesn't matter much what anyone says alongside the pictures.
I'm surprised that after all these years, none of the other major Canadian and B.C. political leaders are using the same tactic. Perhaps this accounts in part for Harper's staying power.