- Sep 30, 2007
- Reaction score
From South American prostitutes to the hottest British boy bands:
This is funny as hell in about seven different ways...
This is funny as hell in about seven different ways...
Media hastily erase articles about Malia Obama’s
appearance at One Direction concert
Several media outlets have again pulled or edited already-published articles
about the activities of President Barack Obama’s daughter, even though the
stories appeared to pose no active security risk to the first family.
On Thursday, 14-year-old Malia Obama attended a concert by the British boy
band One Direction at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va., flanked by Secret
Service agents who attempted unsuccessfully to blend in with the crowd of
mostly pre-teen girls.
At one point during the concert, the boy bands’ teen heartthrobs
sang, “You’re insecure, Dunno what for, You’re turning heads when you walk
through the door” — words that managed to take on some meaning for Malia,
who looked less than enthused by the presence of multiple middle-aged
federal agents at her side.
On Friday, the story was picked up by the liberal website The Huffington
Post, which ran the headline, “Malia Obama, One Direction Fan: First
Daughter Attends Boy Band Concert with Secret Service in Tow.”
Within hours, the entire post was scrubbed from the site without explanation,
and the post’s URL was hastily changed to direct users to the site’s celebrity section.
The next day, news aggregation website Buzzfeed ran a story on the event,
accompanied by a picture of Malia in attendance at the concert. The
headline was “Malia Obama Goes to the One Direction Concert with the
Secret Service,” and the story’s picture showed Malia standing awkwardly in
front of a scowling male Secret Service agent, with what appear to be two
additional female Secret Service agents standing to her right.
By Sunday, the headline had changed to “Secret Service Agent Does Not
Appear To Enjoy One Direction Concert,” and Buzzfeed had cropped the
photo to remove Malia entirely, leaving only a narrow shot of the unhappy
Secret Service agent. Again, the author of the post, Hillary Reinsberg, left no
explanation for scrubbing Malia from the story and the picture, nor did she
provide any indication to readers that it had occurred.
“I was expecting a little more than a tiny picture of half of a guys face,”
Buzzfeed commenter Kyle Thompson wrote on Saturday, after the bizarre
change had gone into effect.
“They had originally run a story about Malia Obama attending a One Direction
concert, but apparently changed their minds when one of the first comments
pointed out that journalistic protocol is that the President’s children be left
alone, unless they are related to a story about the President in some way,”
another commenter, Ryan Johnson, explained. “One of the clumsier things
I’ve seen, well, ever.”
Major outlets like the Associated Press and AFP did not cover Malia’s
appearance at the concert at all, while community-driven sites such as TMZ
and The Blaze have kept their stories about the event posted, unaltered.
On Saturday, the Associated Press reported that the first family was
attending yet another concert — this time, they took in some Beyonce. Many
sites, including The Huffington Post, omitted any mention of the Obamas in
stories about the concert.
The media have run interference for the first family in the past. In March,
several news sites — including The Huffington Post — scrubbed stories about
Malia’s planned spring break vacation in Mexico with a dozen friends and 25
Secret Service agents.
At the time, the White House admitted it had asked that the stories be
removed only for security reasons.
“From the beginning of the administration, the White House has asked news
outlets not to report on or photograph the Obama children when they are not
with their parents and there is no vital news interest,” Kristina Schake,
Communications Director to the First Lady, told Politico.
However, unlike the spring break stories, which were published in advance of
Malia’s trip and may have posed a threat, the articles about the first
daughter’s appearance at the One Direction concert were published only
after the fact.
Additionally, despite repeatedly saying that the first family is off-limits to
reporters, the Obama campaign has used images of the president’s daughters
in advertisements urging the public to “help the Obamas stand up for working
Update (5:23 p.m.): After this story was posted, Buzzfeed updated its story
with the following: “NOTE: This story has been edited in keeping with the
tradition of respecting the privacy of presidents’ children, after both
BuzzFeed commenters and a White House official, Semonti Stephens, pointed
to the longstanding practice.”
Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith told The Daily Caller’s Matthew Boyle on Twitter
that “the point” of the original story was never the first family.
“We thought the notion of these agents being dragged to one direction was
funny — that was always the point of the item,” he tweeted. “We heard
immediately from commenters, colleagues, and the WH, and decided to do it
on our own.”
When asked to confirm that the White House was behind the removal of the
Buzzfeed story, Smith criticized Boyle for pressing him.
“Now you’re back to just trolling! It was a good media item though,” Smith said.
A Secret Service agent appears to be scowling behind Malia Obama (circled), as two apparent female agents stand to her right.
Media hastily erase articles about Malia Obama’s appearance at One Direction concert | The Daily Caller