Posted by Curt on 30 November, 2014 at 3:31 pm. 4 comments already!


Noah Rothman:

The familiar circumstance in which members of the press clutch at their pearls, seek out the fainting couch, and demand satisfaction for perceived insults to the Obama family’s honor has grown lamentably predictable.

Another opportunity for the media to freely and unapologetically identify with the Obamas emerged over the weekend when President Barack Obama performed the annual tradition of pardoning a Thanksgiving turkey. It was then that an obscure congressman’s even more obscure communications staffer took to her Facebook page, which no one but her blood relatives had read prior to this manufactured fracas, and criticized the way in which the president’s daughters had comported themselves.

“Dear Sasha and Malia, I get you’re both in those awful teen years, but you’re a part of the First Family, try showing a little class,” Rep. Stephen Fincher’s (R-TN) communications director, Elizabeth Lauten, wrote. “Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar.”

“At least respect the part you play,” she added. “Then again your mother and father don’t respect their positions very much or the nation foe [sic] that matter, so I’m guessing you’re coming up a little short in the ‘good role model’ department.”

Someone spotted the post, and the media decided to play a familiar game of “#HasJustineLandedLet” – a favored pastime over slow holiday news cycles in which the press resolves to ruin the reputation of a relatively anonymous public relations figure over a previously unseen statement subjectively determined to be offensive.

A casual Google search for Lauten’s remarks reveals hundreds of articles, some examining familiar avenues of the controversy while others plumb more abstruse elements of this hullabaloo. The backlash was so fierce that Lauten was forced to apologize, but that is simply not good enough for the sadly recognizable online mob. On the popular African-American commentary site The Grio, readers are offered the chance to vote on whether Lauten should lose her job over her decision to express her opinion. By a 9-to-1 margin, readers agree that Lauten should soon be forced to join the unemployment lines.

“To most people, this was funny and humanizing—maybe even charming!” The Daily Beast’s Olivia Nuzzi wrote. “As Max Read over at Gawker put it: ‘Not even the pomp and ritual of the White House can overcome the most powerful force known to man: TEEN CONTEMPT.’”

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