Friday, November 07, 2008

Back At It?

There are times I would like to take the people who write headlines for newspapers out to the woodshed for some serious discipline, and yesterday was one of those times.

Here's the headline that set me off:

"Sleepovers coming to the White House"

Shades of the Clinton era! Rewarding big campaign donors with a night in the Lincoln Bedroom: remember that "scandal" and the field day the press had with it?

But wait, there's more. Here's the 'sub' headline to the same article:

"The new First Family will transport some of its Hyde Park world to Washington, D.C."

Eek! Some of those people sleeping in the Lincoln Bedroom will know, BLACK. You can just see David Broder clutching his pearls and fanning his face furiously. The new Democratic president will be trashing the "People's House" AND painting it black.

Then, against my better judgment, I read the article. About one-third of the way into it the basis for the headline became clear:

While the Obama White House will surely entertain the usual dignitaries and heads of state, the most prized guests might be the girls' friends. "We may see sleepovers at the White House, groups of young girls in their sleeping bags hanging out with Sasha and Malia," [Michelle Obama friend Verna] Williams said.

The entire article is just about the adjustments the new First Family will be making by moving from their Chicago home to Washington, DC, and, to be fair, it was actually a pretty even description of what will be involved in those adjustments for a family with two young daughters. "Sleepovers" were just that, kids spending the night with their friends.

So why the angst? Well, I wonder how many readers of the Minneapolis Star Tribune didn't bother with reading the article, preferring instead to rely on the headlines alone to confirm their worst suspicions. In other words, the tricksie headlines, rather than propelling the reader to actually read the article, repelled the reader with the implications not-so-hidden in that set of headlines. Given the attacks on Obama by some of the STrib columnists in the last weeks of the campaign, that certainly is more than a mere possibility.

I have a hunch we're going to see a lot of this over the next four years. The mighty press isn't going to give up easily. Their corporate owners just won't have it any other way.



Blogger Koshem Bos said...

Obama was elected president, not selected. he can have whoever he wishes to stay in the White House, even the president of Iran. It isn't Broder's or other media morons to decide who is proper or not. I also wouldn't assume that Obama had fugitives sleeping over until and if it really happens.

When will people stop harassing Bill Clinton? He hasn't been president for 8 years; he has brought peace and prosperity to the country. I guess that was a major crime. Enough.

6:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn, you've hit another of my 'pet peeves' - the Whitehouse 'sleepovers' for contributors & friends didn't stop Jan 22, 2001, what stopped was the 'biased, liberal media' reporting on them. Here's a couple of old stories -,2933,113793,00.html

& let's not forget Jeff Gannon...

Goddamn lying crooked bastards who own the media, I unplugged years ago and only wish 'we the people' had the courage & integrity to do the same...

7:23 AM  

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