And quite a few other examples: According to Jonathan Alter, Barack Obama “has contempt for people who don’t do their jobs.” See our previous post.
Could that explain Obama’s alleged “disdain for the press?” We have no idea. But on the front page of today’s New York Times, we find this example of the way the press corps does its job:
SHEAR AND LEIBOVICH (5/29/13): At one point, the pair took an unannounced stroll down the Point Pleasant Boardwalk before stopping at an arcade so Mr. Obama could try to win a teddy bear by throwing a football through a tire, in a game called “Touchdown Fever.” After a few misses, Mr. Obama seemed headed for another public athletic calamity, adding to a litany that includes a string of botched basketball free throws on the White House court last month, a horrifically ugly first pitch at a Washington Nationals game in 2010 and a display of bowling incompetence in Pennsylvania during the 2008 Democratic primaries.Barack Obama throws like a girl! That’s paragraph 3 of a front-page news report.
We’re just saying!
A few days ago, the Washington Post provided another example of the way the press corps does its job. Juliet Eilperin offered a thoughtful post, “A White House counsel known for her shoes.”
Admittedly, Eilperin’s analysis of Kathryn Ruemmler’s shoes didn’t appear in the hard-copy Post. But still!
Many folk have battered Eilperin for that embarrassing post. Just to take you to the next level, we’ll criticize Salon’s Irin Carmon a tiny tad for her reaction, which started out like this:
CARMON (5/28/13): Here is a tale of being a woman in public life in two tweets by Washington Post reporter Juliet Eilperin: “Read what @PhilipRucker and I wrote about Kathy Ruemmler, who went from an outsider to Obama’s chief protector.” “And then, read about Ruemmler’s fabulous shoes.”To Carmon, Eilperin’s post shows what it’s like to “be a woman in public life.” Incomparably, we’re often frustrated by such dated, predictable work.
Eilperin’s post was sad and dumb, except as a marketing ploy aimed at more fatuous readers. But silly reports about wardrobe and hair aren’t just for women any more!
Has any public figure ever been battered for wardrobe to the extent that Candidate Gore was in 1999 and 2000? Has any discussion of wardrobe ever been more consequential?
Meanwhile, during that same era, Maureen Dowd leveled several forests discussing the meaning of Rudy Giuliani’s comb-over and Candidate Gore’s troubling bald spot. John Edwards’ deeply troubling haircut was the rage in 2004. John Kerry’s tresses got a bit of play too.
When Hillary Clinton was first lady, her hair was a constant focus. But the dumbsters of the mainstream press corps widened their scope long ago—and yes, the focus on Gore’s wardrobe and hair was the most consequential such gong-show in our political history.
Young liberals like Carmon still haven’t heard! In the politics of the pseudo-left, it’s still 1955 and the story is still very simple.
Analysis of a great man’s shoes: When Frank Bruni reported on Candidate Bush, he didn’t ignore the great man’s miraculous shoes:
BRUNI (9/14/99): When Gov. George W. Bush of Texas first hit the Presidential campaign trail in June, he wore monogrammed cowboy boots, the perfect accessory for his folksy affability and casual self-assurance.Note to Carmon: That's the way you end up as a New York Times columnist!
But when he visited New Hampshire early last week, he was shod in a pair of conservative, shiny black loafers that seemed to reflect more than the pants cuffs above them. They suggested an impulse by Mr. Bush to put at least a bit of a damper on his brash irreverence, which has earned him affection but is a less certain invitation for respect.
That was the start of a formal news report in the hard-copy New York Times. Meanwhile, Candidate Gore was getting hammered all over the press because his boots were said to be suspiciously shiny.
Cokie and Steve were deeply troubled by those boots, like everyone else in the “press corps:”
ROBERTS AND ROBERTS (10/17/99): Look at Vice President Al Gore, after almost 23 years in public life, suddenly searching for his "authentic" self, and then finding it in cowboy boots and open-necked shirts.Gore’s boots were endlessly discussed, with many obvious lies being told. Gore had worn boots throughout his career. Would voters have gotten that impression from reading Steve and Cokie?
Is this the same Al Gore who grew up in a fancy hotel in Washington, went to Harvard, and now lives in the vice president's mansion, a short walk from the elite prep school he attended? Somehow, we doubt that cowboy boots and polo shirts were part of the dress code at St. Alban's.
This has been going on a long time. In our low-wattage pseudo-lib world, the children haven’t been told. Reassuringly, it’s still 1955 and the stories remain very simple.