August 9, 2010

Michelle Antoinette

Sorry for my lack of tact but the overall tone of its slide show, the hateful spirit and lack of judgment in running this caption, and the degree to which TIME subsumes itself as a right-wing mouthpiece is simply disgusting.

I’m sure TIME would respond they were simply echoing the concerns of many about Michelle Obama’s trip to Spain.  The fact they would so specifically and thoroughly turn this caption into a platform for NY Daily News columnist (and FOX political commentator, and PR exec, and former GOP campaign strategist) Andrea Tantaros, however, is the journalistic equivalent of “accessory-to-slander.”

By the way, If TIME were to argue for any daylight here between themselves and Ms. Tantaros, they lose any option to such a claim by offering up the title they chose — forcing us to give credence to, and literally consider the legitimacy of the question: “Michelle Antoinette?” (If Ms. Tantaros merely offers up the analogy, it’s TIME that morphs it into a catchy new name.)

Taking a random photo of an elegantly-dressed Mrs. Obama and putting a caption like this underneath it is framing her, as Glenn Beck did a few weeks ago, as a narcissistic material girl. The innuendo is not just in this caption and photo, though. How about this one preceding it — the part where it reads that the First Lady “isn’t just sticking to the one part of Spain.” My God, the audacity of a vacation with multiple destinations!

Now, this personal attack wouldn’t have anything to do with the popular First Lady’s ability to play a strategic role in the midterm elections — especially taking on Palin’s grizzly commando squad — would it?  And, certainly, it wouldn’t have anything to do with Daily News’ Mort (“Obama hater“) Zuckerman’s anger, as Taylor Marsh suggests, that the Administration has imparted even the slightest regulations on USA Inc.?

What’s really troubling, though, is that it’s not just the right that’s piling on here. Even Maureen Dowd uses the Spain trip as a springboard for character assassination, accusing FLOTUS of repeatedly ditching Barack — whether that involves ‘frolicking in the land of flamenco,’ making a beeline for Broadway, or doing up Beverly Hills. I guess what these voices from pundit-land are trying to tell us is that the First Lady, in spite of fighting child obesity, advocating for military families, promoting the arts, and doing all that mom stuff, is really America’s princess.

TIME MO Spain photo gallery.

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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