This essay examines media coverage of the Elián González custody case in order to illuminate the productive entailments of news spectacles. It defines the "afterimage" as a conceptual figure for news stories that justify reporting on important secondary stories with a hook to the primary newspeg of a media spectacle. In this case, a dramatic increase in stories on INS treatment of immigrant children and the disparity in U.S. immigration policy toward Cuban and Haitian immigrants followed reporters' connection of these often underreported subjects to the González newspeg. The essay concludes that afterimage stories result from hyper-coverage, that they complement or parallel the main plot of news spectacles, and that their circulation is enhanced or limited by cultural and reporting norms.


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pp. 27-49
Launched on MUSE
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