June 17, 2008

More From Obama Lover, Michael Powell

Michelle Philadelphia

Conservative columnists accuse her of being unpatriotic and say she simmers with undigested racial anger. A blogger who supported Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton circulates unfounded claims that Mrs. Obama gave an accusatory speech in her church about the sins of “whitey.”

–From second paragraph of Michael Powell’s NYT feature on Michelle Obama

Seeming to formalize a problem where there isn’t one, today’s NYT piece on Michelle Obama (penned, yes, by “Obama lover,” Michael Powell) frames Michelle — because, I assume, she’s been adding staff and is about to host “The View” — as being embattled and in need of a relaunch.

I guess with Hillary out, Powell needs some pot to stir, subtlety reinforcing “the angry Michelle” meme by describing her as a “less mutable” black woman who “burns hot.”

With the photo framed under the title: “After Attacks, Michelle Obama Looks for a New Introduction,” the clapping reinforces the idea of introduction, but the complex facial expression — with Michelle distanced from the viewer behind the shoulder of the man in front of her — only raises more questions about where she is coming from. On top of that, the first line of the story — although addressing an unrelated circumstance — ends up editorializing on the image by describing Michelle as sporting a “trained smile” as she is asked to consider her “complicated public image.”

In point of fact, the photograph was taken back in March while Michelle Obama was listening to BHO’s speech on race, a bold and politically risky effort in the midst of the unrelenting media storm over Jeremiah Wright.  Given those circumstances, it makes perfect sense that Michelle’s complex of emotions emanates from the heat of the moment, not some alleged personality issue or supposed present-day public relations problem.

After Attacks, Michelle Obama Looks for a New Introduction (Michael Powell – NYT)

(image: Jessica Kourkounis for The New York Times.  Philadelphia. March, 2008.  nytimes.com)

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Michael Shaw
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