The Salahis and the red carpet rules
My colleague Jo-Ann Armao addressed my concerns about the seriousness of the state dinner breach by Michaele and Tareq Salahi. It’s clear that there was a major security lapse.
Much fuzzier is the question of whether the Salahis broke any laws while crashing the party. But I’ll tell you one thing: They’re guilty of breaking the Red Carpet Rules.
There are two kinds of red carpets. First, there's the step-and-repeat procession, where event organizers make high-profile guests available for the assembled photographers (often with the event and sponsors’ names emblazoned on the backdrop). It's called a step-and-repeat because you stop and pose for a photo, then take a few steps along the carpet, and repeat. Plenty of shameless people have barged their way into this invitation-only queue. Their comeuppance: disdainful looks and even the lowered cameras of the paparazzi.
Then there's what I call the all-skate -- which was the set-up at the White House state dinner. That's where bold-faced names (and bald-faced scammers, apparently) and everyday folks walk by the photographers. But unless one of the paparazzi calls your name to get your picture, you do not stop. Sure, you can look at them, but you keep moving. This is where the Salahis, particularly Michaele, erred.
Take a look at this quirky montage of the the sashay seen 'round the world. Michaele no doubt knows her way around a bank of photographers. She walks in. Slows a little as the flashbulbs go off. Looks back in case a photog was looking for a little Renee Zellweger tease. And then she comes to a full stop. Notice anything else that happens? The flashbulbs stop, too. Rule broken. Comeuppance dispensed.
If the Salahis broke a law, they should go to prison. If their transgression doesn't cross any legal lines, they should still be banished from going anywhere near the president. (Like the "Handshake Man," who was banned from Washington for five years.) Either way, they deserve more punishment than the digital wrath of photographers and lashings from acerbic bloggers (ahem). After all, getting into the White House uninvited isn’t the equivalent of sneaking into the Boom Boom Room.
| November 30, 2009; 3:31 PM ET
Categories: Capehart | Tags: Jonathan Capehart
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