Why write about Obama’s policies when you can help people stalk his family?
By Gena Mangiaratti
One of the first instructions Michelle Obama gave White House aids upon moving into the historical mansion was to let the girls make their own beds.
For the two Obama daughters, Sasha, 8, and Malia, 11, the household rules that were to be strictly adhered to in their former Chicago home are still in effect in the White House, their new home that includes a movie theater, swimming pool and horseshoe pit among other luxurious facilities.
Since Barack Obama was elected president last November, Internet and television news sources have kept a close watch on the Obamas as a family. The Obamas are a novelty — the first presidential family with young children since, as The New York Times reminisces, “John and Caroline [Kennedy] played under the desk in the Oval office.”
Citizens have seemed particularly intrigued by the adjustment the two young girls must undergo as children in the White House and the precautions their parents have taken to ensure their stability. We’ve been informed that even during her husband’s presidential campaign, Michelle never waived the 8 p.m. bedtime rule, explaining, “Bedtime isn’t going to be interrupted because he’s at a fundraiser.” The Obamas allowed the girls to be interviewed on Access Hollywood this past July, but later regretted giving such public exposure to their children. It’s clear one of their main priorities concerning their daughters is not to deprive them of their childhoods.
We’ve also been thoroughly informed of Barack’s commitments as a father. He attends soccer games, piano recitals and parent-teacher conferences. He has read all of the Harry Potter books aloud with his daughter Malia. He tucks the girls into bed. It appears that in their endeavor to raise young children, the Obamas have become something of a role model.
Many of the Obamas’ family outings and vacations are also heavily publicized. Every facet of their trips are deemed news, from family bike rides to where they lunched. The mass media has even included the family dog, Bo, in their coverage of the First Family, covering the dog in print and video in many popular news sources.
This brings up a question: It’s nice to see the presidential family being humanized, but shouldn’t there be a distinction between the coverage of the lives of presidents and those of tabloid celebrities? From learning about Obama’s family values through the media, it has become evident he is someone with whom many of us would enjoy meeting up for coffee. But how much have we learned from the media about his plans to reform the country?
As a presidential candidate, Obama was able to get many people excited about politics. So wouldn’t it do him more justice if the media kept us involved through news relevant to his policies rather than through minute details about his personal life?
Gena Mangiaratti is a freshman journalism major. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.