The video of this lecture that depicts Chevron shows certain strategies of persuasion that each position pursues. In the first place, how do they seek to deploy the “truth”? In the first place, the pro-Chevron group is a stern bunch of characters. They display a corporate style of communication and presentation and seem to suggest that the truth is a bit difficult to nail down. This side of the argument locates the truth in the eye of the beholder. In a sense they want other people to see the situation in the way that they do. In another sense, they do not care how others see it as long as the company gets its way. They determine the truth.
The anti-Chevron group also claims that they have the truth. But rather than a subtle secretive style, these protesters accuse and fight against the corporation. They aim to “expose” the oil giant and deploy truth in a way that means to undermine the Chevron company. Keefe (2012) criticizes the Chevron company based on the consequences for the natural environment. This is one attacking example of how these people use the truth.
Second, what do these videos and the film Crude tell us about the politics of the image? Does an image “speak for itself”? Or do others make it speak for particular causes? Images do not speak for themselves but need context. A sad or happy picture can be variously interpreted based on the particular situation in which it takes place. Kane (1993) shows that it is not necessarily what the oil company does but how, where, and when this occurs that really matters. In short, others do make an image speak for a particular cause. This occurs with both the pro and the anti Chevron crowds.
- Kane, Joe. With Spears from All Sides. New Yorker. 1993, pp. 54-79.
- Keefe, Patrick. Reversal of Fortune. New Yorker. 2012, vol. 87, 38-49.