Time magazine knows it can't be all serious, so in addition to its cover story on Egypt this week, they have a gushy piece on Michelle Obama's fashions, written by Kate Betts, author of the new book Everyday Icon: Michelle Obama and the Power of Style. Michelle's so chic it's historic:
Given her widespread reputation as one of the most stylish women ever to inhabit the White House, you might think Michelle Obama automatically belongs in the Madison-Kennedy lineage. But her background argues differently. No one can claim that Michelle Obama doesn't know what it's like to work or that she entered marriage because she didn't get an education and lacked economic power of her own. It is plain that she has learned as much if not more from the example of Hillary Clinton as from the example of Jackie Kennedy.
What makes Obama exceptional is that she seems so at home in both camps. So at home that the whole debate about style and substance suddenly seems passé, an anachronism of the gender wars, a false dichotomy enforced by narrow-minded men and women at war with themselves. That Michelle Obama does not see style and substance as an either-or choice is a powerful statement that the underlying assumptions about women's roles and images have changed. Embodying the confluence of substance and style, she has helped reconcile the long-standing antagonism between them. She has, in some sense, made them one and the same.
Good Morning America's Robin Roberts conducted yet another fawning interview with Michelle Obama on Friday, offering 11 minutes and two segments to such important topics as whether the First Lady will attend Prince William's wedding.
Not exactly grilling Mrs. Obama, the co-anchor mused, "We understand that Prince William and Kate, they sent out the save the date kind of notifications. Have you received yours?...Would you like to attend the wedding?"
In comparison, when Roberts interviewed Laura Bush on October 22, 2007, she quoted Archbishop Desmond Tutu: "Desmond Tutu went even farther, saying the generosity of Americans, that's what we should export instead of our bombs."
Last Wednesday I wrote about a left-wing anti-Wal-Mart group in Washington, D.C. that published a flyer depicting a crosshairs on the Wal-Mart smiley face icon and called for a "march on the developer's house" in Northwest D.C. after dark on Thursday the 20th.
[That flyer has since been scrubbed from the WalMartFreeDC.org website, but you can see a screen capture of it below the page break]
Only about 25 people showed up at the protest, so it's not precisely front-page news, but a search of Nexis found not even a blurb about the event or the decidedly uncivil and race-baiting rhetoric the group's website espouses in a rap song that warns that Wal-Mart has a "plantation mentality" that "results in black and brown casualties."
As NewsBusters has been reporting, the Gabrielle Giffords shooting blame game has been in full swing since the moment shots were fired in Tucson Saturday.
With this in mind, Howard Kurtz invited conservative talk radio host Steve Malzberg and Mediaite editor-at-large Rachel Sklar on Sunday's "Reliable Sources" to fight over whether all the finger-pointing at right-wing figures like Sarah Palin is justified or another example of media madness (video follows with transcript and commentary):
When will the government stop wasting taxpayer dollars? In a new public service announcement, Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative twists Disney’s classic "Beauty and the Beast" into an animated production telling parents how to have healthy children.
Perhaps the choice of a Disney cartoon is appropriate, since the liberal nanny-state insists on treating Americans as children. The United States Department of Agriculture, along with the Ad Council and the “Let’s Move” initiative managed to waste money telling parents that children should eat vegetables and play outside.
How could anyone oppose big government activism when both Michelle Obama and Elmo the Muppet favor it? It was unfathomable to Washington Post Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt in his December 26 article 'How did obesity become a partisan fight?'
To a doctrinaire liberal like Hiatt, it's illegitimate to question whether government should be concerned with personal nutrition. Instead, he belittles opposing views with his snarky quips. "Could anyone really object to White House assistant chef Sam Kass trying to interest Elmo in a vegetable-laden burrito? Well, yes, if Michelle Obama is for it, someone will be against it. Someone like Glenn Beck, for example, who was moved to rail against carrot sticks, or Sarah Palin, who warned that Obama wants to deprive us all of dessert."
What Hiatt failed to realize is the real debate over excessive federal intervention where it doesn't belong. After listing some of the first lady's 'Let's Move' initiative, he said 'All of this makes total sense, and historians will marvel (much as they will at climate-change deniers) that anyone could doubt it.' And since global warming is the real cause of the winter blizzard according to the December 25 New York Times so it must be true, right?
In a report at the top of the 8AM ET hour of Tuesday's CBS Early Show, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante ridiculed Sarah Palin for daring to criticize First Lady Michelle Obama's weight loss campaign: "Palin has never been at a loss for an opinion on anything, including taking a pot shot at the First Lady's campaign to eat healthy."
Fill-in news reader Betty Nguyen introduced Plante's report by declaring: "And there's a war over dessert. Yes, a food fight has broken out between the First Lady and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin." Throughout the segment, the headline on screen read: "Palin Food Fight; Dessert War."
When ABC’s Barbara Walters deems Sarah Palin one of the year’s “Most Fascinating People,” it’s a back-handed compliment. Walters knows Palin has an adoring fan base, and she’s definitely not part of it. When the December 2 special began, Walters greeted Palin with, “Many people find the thought of you as president a little scary.”
This is not what Walters asked President Obama in yet another gooey Barack-and-Michelle hour-long ABC interview on Thanksgiving night. Clearly, a large, energized chunk of the American electorate believed – and continues to believe – the idea of Obama as president to be horrifying. Instead, Walters lobbed softballs like this:
“When we come back, we'll hear about family life in the White House, just who slept through the midterm elections, the importance of SpongeBob SquarePants, and the night the Tooth Fairy didn't show up. Stay with us.”
Asking a wife if she loves her husband isn't exactly the most insightful question, but that's one of the softballs that Barbara Walters tossed to Michelle and Barack Obama during an hour long edition of 20/20 on Friday. She also asked the President if he curses and what Lincoln means to him.
At one point, the journalist lauded Michelle Obama as "comfortable" and "outspoken." Walters then cooed, "You love him very much, don't you?" (The First Lady's unsurprising answer? "Yes, I do.")
Digging for answers, the reporter investigated Mr. Obama, "Do you ever curse?...You pray?" Walters also allowed the President the chance to attack the internet, bringing up insinuations that he's a Muslim: "Why do you think it is that so many people think you're a Muslim and why is that confusion?"
The media's adoration of the first family knows no bounds.
Take the Huffington Post for example, which on Monday felt it was newsworthy to inform readers that when the Obamas attended a college basketball game this weekend, they actually wore the same colors as one of the competing teams:
If you thought the media attacks on Sarah Palin and her family were deplorable in 2008, it's clear with the 2012 presidential campaign starting and her name being bandied about, you ain't seen nuttin' yet.
Take the Washington Post's Richard Cohen for example who penned a column Tuesday concluding, "She could not be the president of black America nor of Hispanic America":
After spending much of his week accusing Rush Limbaugh of racism, Ed Schultz on Friday made the same absurd claim about former Alaska governor Sarah Palin.
Following in the footsteps of others on his network as well as the liberal blogosphere, the MSNBCer said it was racist for Palin to refer to comments Michelle Obama made in 2008 about never having been proud of her country before her husband started winning primaries.
It was also racist of Palin to mention in her book the Obamas' connection to Rev. Jeremiah Wright (video follows with transcript and commentary):
NBC's Matt Lauer and MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan last night found themselves just two of the targets in the latest "Media Mash" segment on Fox News Channel's "Hannity" show.
NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell appeared on the November 11 program to dissect NBC's biased coverage of former President George W. Bush's new memoir, "Decision Points," an ABC News puff piece on Michelle Obama's fashion sense, and MSNBC's Ratigan giving a platform to a leftist calling for violent revolution.
"Matt Lauer is absolutely delusional," opined Bozell, pointing to Lauer's criticism of the former president's defense of his signature tax cut legislation. "The tax cuts caused the recession? The reality is, the Bush tax cuts gave us four million jobs. Those are the facts; you can't go against these facts."
[Video of the segment available after the page break.]
According to Good Morning America, Michelle Obama is the second coming of Jackie Kennedy. Co-host Robin Roberts enthused on Wednesday, "...First Lady Michelle Obama is drawing comparisons to the first first lady of fashion diplomacy. That, of course, being Jackie Kennedy." An ABC graphic lauded the "American icon."
Correspondent Claire Shipman highlighted Michelle Obama's trip to India with her husband and hyped, "It's a charm and style offensive that has all of us reaching for that inevitable comparison. India just as besotted by this glamorous First Lady as it was by that ultimate style icon Jackie Kennedy, almost half a century ago."
Shipman has been reporting on the Obamas since 2007 and has made little attempt to hide her enthusiasm. On January 18, 2007, she rhapsodized about the "fluid poetry" of Barack Obama. On May 6, 2008, she gushed, "...I think it says it all that [Michelle Obama's] Secret Service code name is renaissance."
CNN has been airing a video clip today of the President and First Lady trying out some folk dance moves on their trip to India. The scene isn’t necessarily newsworthy, nor does it stand out. The President should be commended for at least trying to entertain the children and performers at a Mumbai high school. It was a fun moment. But McClatchy reporters went a little over the top with their personal dance review (clip below the jump).
They have dubbed it "the Obama Indian Tango."
It might be better known as "How Barack's Wife Got the President's Groove Back."
One of the biggest questions facing President Barack Obama in the wake of the Democrats' Election Day "shellacking" was whether he'd still have that "Yes We Can" charisma that energized people around the world. Apparently, in India, the answer is yes.
If only he had pulled out these dance moves prior to the election, perhaps the Democratic base would have been equally as energized.
Forced movie references aside, the gushing review doesn’t end there…
According to MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell, Michelle Obama "never said that she had not been proud of her country." The cable host on Friday spun for the First Lady while reporting on a speech Sarah Palin gave in California.
In fact, on February 18, 2008, Mrs. Obama addressed a crowd in Wisconsin and announced, "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm really proud of my country, and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change." [See video. MP3 audio here.]
On Thursday, Palin wondered, "You know, when I hear people say or had said during the campaign, that they had never been proud of America until, until that time, I think haven't they met anybody in uniform yet?" This prompted O'Donnell, during a supposedly straight news report, to chide, "Of course, Mrs. Obama never said that. She never said that she had not been proud of her country."
“Star power: Three megawatt political giants hit the campaign trail,” Diane Sawyer touted at the top of Tuesday’s World News, focusing on “First Lady Michelle Obama now joining former President Bill Clinton and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as the power hitters on the campaign trail.” Yet, ABC advanced the hope Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton offer Democratic election prospects, while treating Sarah Palin as an after-thought and painting her as just a self-promoter, all before a giddy Sawyer turned to George Stephanopoulos to expound on Bill Clinton’s brilliance: “Let's talk about former President Clinton's advice to President Obama – is he going to take it?”
Jonathan Karl relayed “we learn on a day that the White House also announced that the First Lady is about to hit the campaign trail. The White House calls her the ‘Closer.’ And with time running out for congressional Democrats, they're sending her in.” Plus, “former President Bill Clinton is out on the campaign trail, too, and now he's offering the President some free advice” to ask voters to give Democrats two more years and only vote them out in 2012 if they fail to deliver.
It's tough being the wife of the most powerful man in the world, just ask Michelle Obama. Carla Bruni, who seemed to reveal her distaste for the First Lady in previous pictures, reveals Michelle's whiny comments in her recent book [Aside: why is a sitting world leader's spouse writing a tell-all? What tawdriness.]
Washington Post fashion reporter Robin Givhan, best known to many as Michelle Obama's worshipful accessory to fashion, lectured Sunday to the dumpy masses of America. As most U.S. citizens have "blighted" the landscape in horrid summer clothes, they should really honor the First Lady for knowing how to dress on vacation -- even if Mrs. Obama is wearing a French-designer top that most likely cost upwards of $500 as she took taxpayers for a ride with a fancy Spanish vacation.
First lady Michelle Obama returned to the White House last week after spending her summer vacation walking the fine fashion line between comfortably casual and utterly camera-ready. Her travel attire served as a wake-up call to all those American tourists who have blighted the national landscape with their ill-fitting shorts, sad-sack T-shirts and aggressively revealing tank tops: You can do better.
Is Ed Schultz determined to make his mark as the dumbest man in media? Hardly a day passes without the lib radio host and MSNBC action hero providing more fodder for the premise.
On his radio show Monday, Schultz rushed to the defense of first lady Michelle Obama for criticism of her winging off to an opulent Spanish resort hotel during -- as Schultz and other liberals oft remind us -- the worst economy since the Great Depression.
Here's Schultz defending Mrs. Obama after first talking about a campaign ad that mocks House Minority Leader John Boehner as an out-of-touch elitist golfer (click here for audio) --
The press won't go there because, well, they love President Barack Obama and this story, accurately reported, is painful. I haven't gone there because I don't really care what's going on between President Obama and his wife. President Clinton defiling the Oval office concerned me because his actions were a big f-u to the American people and showed blatant disrespect to the office and the country. Michelle being pissed off at Barack Obama? Eh, who isn't? Also, Michelle being a petty, selfish woman? Also not news. If reports are to be believed, Michelle Obama is the reason America has the shining tower of intelligence Joe Biden instead of Hillary Clinton. Petty. They're two of a kind.
Still and all, this story has become more newsworthy as the scope and cost of Michelle's trip to Europe has dribbled out. Mickey Kaus says:
So Michelle Obama vacations in Spain with her daughter and a huge posse, leaving her husband alone on his birthday and undermining his party's political chances (bad recession ‘optics'). This is the sort of story on which I suspect there are three levels of perception:
"Uncomfortable" was the word of the day at Morning Joe when it came to discussing Michelle Obama's decision to go on a luxurious Spanish vacation in the midst of a recession—and to miss celebrating her husband's birthday with him to boot.
Chuck Todd didn't go into details, but NBC's clearly ill-at-ease political director suggested: that this was a "private decision" by the First Lady; that it wouldn't have made any difference what Pres. Obama's political advisors would have said; and that "you get the sense here that there was something more to this" than pure politics.
Joe Scarborough reinforced Todd's message: "this is part of a bigger narrative, isn't it, about Michelle Obama?"
In contrast, Mark Halperin seemed eager to get off the touchy topic. When Scarborough asked him about it, Halperin parried with a question to Todd about the positive cards the White House has to play.
For general discussion and debate. Possible talking point: the First Lady is spending beaucoup bucks on lavish vacations while the country is mired in what her husband calls the worst economic slowdown since the Great Depression!
Michelle Obama today faced a fresh wave of attacks over her lavish break in Spain with 40 friends, which could easily cost U.S. taxpayers a staggering £50,000 a day. The First Lady has been lambasted for her extravagance at a time when the economy is still struggling. One blogger went so far as to brand her a modern-day Marie Antoinette. And her critics will be further annoyed when they learn that the president's wife had a Spanish beach closed off today so that she, her daughter and their entourage could go for a swim.
Conservative talk-show host and The Obama Diaries author Laura Ingraham appeared to promote her book Wednesday night on The Colbert Report on Comedy Central. Fake-conservative Stephen Colbert suggested the Republicans didn’t have a visible agenda. But he really went after Ingraham in claiming it was somehow one of “the most hideous, hackneyed racial stereotypes” to joke that Michelle Obama ate baby back ribs.
What? All those Chili’s “I want my baby back, baby back, baby back” ads were only designed for black customers? Obviously, there are more hackneyed culinary stereotypes than that. Ingraham was clearly trying to mock how Eat Right Michelle (if you’re not lost in one of those “food deserts”) probably pigs out on less healthy food in private. Colbert ripped the author’s “diaries” as horribly written (Video below the cut):
COLBERT: What are the odds that Barack Obama’s private musings would completely and perfectly match up with the narrative the right is trying to push about him?