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1970s / Robert Stanfield Fumble Photo
Think liberal media bias is only common to American politics? Think again! Robert Stanfield is often referred to by Canada's political right as 'the greatest prime minister Canada never had.' On May 30, 1974, during the Canadian federal election campaign, photographer Doug Ball captured his most famous image--a shot of Conservative candidate Robert Stanfield dropping a football during a rest stop at North Bay, Ontario. '[Stanfield was] knock-kneed, hands clasped awkwardly, grimacing as a football slipped between his bony fingers,' recalled Ball. It was the defining photo of Stanfield’s political career. That afternoon, Stanfield aide Brad Chapman brought out a football for some exercise, and Ball shot 36 pictures of Stanfield throwing, catching and--just once--awkwardly fumbling the football. In a glaring example of ‘image politics’ all too common in Canada, the Toronto Globe and Mail ran the unflattering picture on its front page under the headline, 'A political fumble?' No Canadian newspaper ran any of the 35 available photos of Stanfield catching the ball. The photo may have cost him the election, but Stanfield never held any grudges about the photo, which won Ball a national newspaper award. He autographed a copy it for Ball more than a decade later, signing, ‘To Doug: I should’ve taken off my tie. Robert Stanfield.’