The mainstream media have absolutely no idea what to do with Barack and Michelle Obama. The talking heads of cable news are so accustomed to being able to control the narrative, and now that the American people have finally decided not to heed them anymore, they just don't know what to do.
Americans believed the media during the Clinton years when they were told that Bill Clinton splooging all over a blue dress was far more important than the fact that they were living in a country that was prosperous and at peace. They believed the media when they were told that because a vaguely skeevey California Democratic Congressman
had at the very least an inappropriate relationship with an intern, it meant by definition that he was her killer -- while at the same time they not only ignored an equally convenient, equally coincidental death of a young woman linked to a REPUBLICAN congressman
, but they hired him to be one of their own
. They believed the media that told them that if they dared to swim in the ocean, they were certain to be attacked by sharks
. They believed a media that told them that everyone is a predator just waiting out there to snatch their daughters -- but only if said daughters
. If said daughters were black
, the media didn't care.
What they DID care about was the fact that fear meant eyeballs and eyeballs meant dollars. And so, after 9/11, there was nonstop coverage not just of actual news, but also of speculation that cows, pens, and model airplanes might be used as weapons; coverage of threats at midwestern schools and shopping malls. If the Bush Administration put out a press release, it was covered as news. Much of it was a corporate media the ownership of which benefitted from having Republicans in power, but at least some of it was a simple case of fear sells. And Americans bought it hook, line, and sinker. And so we ended up with an unnecessary war and a ruined economy.
Perhaps the people have wised up.
Enter the Obamas
. Enter a President who isn't a buffoon and a First Lady who has no intention of being doped up on Thorazine and kept stuffed in a corner like a mannequin. Enter Michelle Obama, a woman so awesome that she ought to intimidate the hell out of the rest of us who will never in our lives be that poised, look that great in clothes, or have triceps that don't flap no matter how much work with weights we do -- and yet we adore her, and so does the rest of the world.
I know the talking heads of the media want to believe that she's the second coming of Angela Davis. I know they want to paint her as angry and radical (when they aren't calling her "trash"
). I know that they hate her for bring gorgeous, poised, looking great all the time, smart, independent, and yes, more than a bit of a smartass. It helps them promote fear, and in the world of the media, fear means money. But the rest of the world, including much of this country, is utterly and completely gobsmacked by our First Lady.
So yesterday, while the talking heads of television and the print media here and in the U.K. were trying to turn Michelle Obama's hand on the back of the Queen of England
into some kind of international incident; a a sign that Michelle Obama is just another black kid from the wrong side of the tracks, something else was happening: a resounding chorus of "Who Cares?" from both the people in the street and from Buckingham Palace left them scratching their heads, as poor David Shuster, banished to drive-time TV just when he's hitting his stride, reported while subbing on Countdown
And of course, leave it to The Daily Show
to hit the nail on the head once again:
It's enough to make you wish E.D. Hill hadn't gotten fired from Faux Noise
. It would have been fun to see what kind of Threat to the Republic she would have conjured from Michelle Obama managing to charm even the stuffy Queen of England.
Labels: Michelle Obama