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Netanyahu needs a new graphic designer

As the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu presumably has some pretty competent folks working for him.

But he might want to rethink his graphics department.

Today, Netanyahu tweeted a PR-style image opposing the deal that the United States and other countries are negotiating to lift some sanctions on Iran. He called it an “important message” and urged his some 188,000 followers to share it. The graphic was a tad cartoonish:


For starters, we assume the top image is meant to be a mushroom cloud, but it looks an awful lot like a tree. And the lowermost one is a missile, right? Or perhaps a handle-less sword? And the font sort of makes one’s eyes hurt.

But as unprofessional as it looks, it’s at least an improvement over that embarrassing poster he paraded last year in front of the U.N. General Assembly. “Netanyahu’s bomb cartoon is the Middle East equivalent of Clint Eastwood’s chair,” columnist Jeffrey Goldberg tweeted at the time.

(Mario Tama/Getty Images) (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

We figured we ought to check with a professional to make sure that our amateur critique was on the mark, so we asked Alberto Cairo, a graphic design expert and University of Miami journalism professor to analyze Netanyahu’s presentations.

The professor indicated that if they had been the works of one of his students, they would have failed. “They look like they were made by a clown, not a world leader,” Cairo said. First, he says, the initial problem is content: Such visuals are often used in the PR and marketing world, and they are a far cry from “real” infographics, which are journalistic products that he calls a “visual representation of evidence.” (Here’s a collection of some other terrible visuals.)

And then there are the aesthetics. Netanyahu’s are “just ugly and badly designed,” Cairo said.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.

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