Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Personal Isn't Political

I marvel at the self-importance of some journalists. Politico has an article on the way Obama is reacting to the constant presence of the press corps, even as he spends the Christmas holidays at home in Hawaii. There are moments of absurd self-importance verging on parody, if only the author of this piece were aware enough of them. In fact, the following paragraph borders on the kind of thing The Onion would write.
Obama even took the unusual step Friday morning of leaving behind the pool of reporters assigned to follow him, taking his daughters to a nearby water park without them. It was a breach of longstanding protocol between presidents (or presidents-elect) and the media, that a gaggle of reporters representing television, print and wire services is with his motorcade at all times.

It is against a longstanding protocol for the President to decide to take his children to a waterpark without dragging along a bunch of reporters? Said reporters believe such calumny not only worth reporting, but assuming the President-elect did something wrong in doing so?

Here's a thought, even in this 24-hour, internet era of constant scrutiny and over-exegesis of every word and gesture. Dial it down a bit. Show not only restraint and respect, but recognize there might just be nothing newsworthy in a man taking his children to a waterpark. Even if that man is the next President of the United States. Especially since Barack Obama's children are so small, it might be considered not only respectful, but just plain good form to leave him alone in his private moments, to allow him to take his children to a waterpark without a pack of vultures, protocol or no protocol, waiting in the wings.

He has his Secret Service detail to protect him. He doesn't need you to record his private life. An individual's private life is, for the most part, pretty banal. Even the President of the United States just might wish not to be photographed scratching between his legs, or whatever. Since we are returning to the days of the New Deal in economic policy, we might just consider moving to those same days in terms of the way we cover a President's private life.

Leave them all alone. Especially as President-elect Obama wishes nothing more than to be "Dad" to his two girls. Those moments are going to be few and far between over the next eight years as it is.

Virtual Tin Cup

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