Managing the Obama Family Message
By Ben Pershing
Does President Obama use news and images of his family for political advantage? Sometimes yes and sometimes no, according to two lengthy stories on the topic released in the last 24 hours.
The Los Angeles Times writes that the "glimpses into the Obama household" that we've been given -- on the puppy, the girls' eating habits, and more -- "are far from spontaneous. Instead, they are part of a careful strategy that has helped bolster the new president's popularity and political clout." By doling out information to US Weekly and shows like "Extra," the Obamas are able to reach a different audience and ensure soft treatment. The effort, according to the LAT, is largely coordinated by Michelle Obama's office.
On that point, the First Lady's control of the message, Richard Wolffe agrees in his piece in The Daily Beast. But Wolffe also portrays the dispensation of information on the first family as less deliberate, at least in some cases. In particular, he writes that the precious moment when the whole family got together on the White House lawn to frolic with Bo the puppy was largely unplanned. And he says that Obama was particularly upset last July, when Sasha and Malia became the focus of an interview with Access Hollywood.
Posted at 4:45 PM ET on Apr 20, 2009
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