We’ve been down this nasty, dead-end road before. Too many times, really, but it seems to be a hard habit for some people to kick.
Just this week we saw yet another case of the media deciding to go after one of Barack Obama’s daughters, this time Malia, who is attending college. One of the outlets, I’m sad to say, was the Daily Caller. (I say “sad” because it’s one of my favorites and we reference their work here on an almost constant basis.) I’m not even going to go into what Malia was supposedly doing that had everyone up in arms, but suffice it to say that it was nothing more than you’d see every fifteen feet wandering around almost any campus and was not grounds for any sort of “punishment” more than perhaps a stern word from her parents.
In a refreshing change, the vast majority of the responses I saw from both the right and the left were not along the lines of jumping on Malia, but instead going after the outlets who chose to air these bits of dirty family laundry. The Huffington Post notes that two other, prominent presidential daughters, Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump were quick to rush to her defense.
Former first daughter Malia Obama spent a good part of her adolescence in the national spotlight as her dad, you know, led the free world for eight years. For the better part of 2017, she’s been a private citizen.
But certain media outlets aren’t making it easy for her.
After two stories about the 19-year-old’s personal life appeared in tabloid and conservative media, voices from both ends of the political spectrum called for giving the young Obama her privacy.
“Malia Obama should be allowed the same privacy as her school-aged peers,” Ivanka Trump tweeted on Friday. “She is a young adult and private citizen, and should be OFF limits.”
Unfortunately, it was also the Daily Caller that went after eleven-year-old Barron Trump for not dressing well enough back in August.
The only real question here is whether or not we’re ever going to completely learn our lesson on this subject. Even if they weren’t inappropriate enough to begin with as subject matter, I wouldn’t even call these stories tabloid fodder because half of the tabloids would probably pass on them too. The Bush daughters ran into some trouble during their youth and that was really nobody’s business, but we certainly all heard about it.
Speaking of Chelsea Clinton, the way the press hounded her back during Bill’s first term was pathetic. I avoided her as a topic right up until the point where she seriously jumped into the American Game of Thrones in 2015. And even then I expressed some reservations about going after her but did so because she had declared herself in play. That’s how the Beltway Brouhaha is supposed to work. These kids were born into families who entered politics. They didn’t ask for it themselves. As children, they should be off limits entirely.
But even as adults, if they stay out of the swamp, who cares what they are up to? They deserve the same measure of privacy as anyone else. Now, once they decide to take the plunge and join the rest of the alligators in the Washington swamp, that’s different. (And it’s what Chelsea Clinton has done.) At that point, it’s a case of welcome to the party, pal.
This should be common sense. Do you honestly think we should be bothering Barron Trump? Of course you don’t. Do you subject Ivanka Trump to scrutiny? How could you not? She’s jumped into the game with both feet and made quite a splash. The same goes for Don Jr. and Eric. They chose to charge into battle with the rest of political armies and now they need to take the slings and arrows.
This rule should pretty much go for the rest of the presidents’ families, including siblings. (Okay… I confess. I made my share of Billy Beer jokes when Carter was in office.) If they don’t want to dive into the pen with the political pigs, they shouldn’t be covered with this sort of mud. But this is particularly true of the children. Come on, guys. Even if they get caught stealing candy from the convenience store, it’s not really a national story.