Thursday, January 8, 2009

Was There Really No Better News Than This?

Slideshow: Obama girls start first day of school
Play Video Barack Obama Video: Businesses fight to stay open in tough economy AP
Play Video Barack Obama Video: Obama's Call to Action ABC News
WASHINGTON – President-elect Barack Obama's two daughters were whisked into their new schools on Monday past a line of waiting photographers.
If custom is any guide, the news media will keep their distance now that they have captured 10-year-old Malia in her puffy pink jacket and 7-year-old Sasha with her pigtails, pink camouflage backpack and turquoise Uglydoll.
But protecting the privacy of the presidential children is more difficult than ever. Even if White House photographers are no problem for the Obamas, there are still the paparazzi to worry about, as illustrated by the "beefcake" photos of a shirtless president-elect taken during the Obama family vacation in Hawaii.
Then there's any seventh-grader with a cell phone camera and a Facebook page.
"It is an exaggerated example of what parents face routinely when their kids are online," said Carolyn Jabs, who writes a syndicated column called Growing Up Online. "For the Obama girls, that is a given that it will get out of hand."
Blogs have already critiqued what every member of the family wears. A bad hair day, schoolyard gossip or a manipulated photo can cause problems for any child, Jabs said. Imagine if the greater free world were watching.
"Mean things about them online are going to be problematic," she said. "They're going to have to develop a thicker skin in the way all celebrities do."
At Sidwell Friends, children are not allowed cell phones at school, which should keep the girls shielded at least through the school day. Malia is in fifth grade at the middle school campus in the District of Columbia, while Sasha is in second grade at the Bethesda, Md., elementary-school campus.
"We do hold students accountable for cyberbehavior," said Associate Head of School Ellis Turner. "I think our students understand that we expect them to be responsible Internet users."
Facebook requires users to be at least 13 and MySpace 14.
The school won't talk about special security precautions but has experience with the Secret Service from former students Chelsea Clinton and Al Gore III, the son of former Vice President Al Gore. Tuition is nearly $30,000 for its more than 1,000 K-12 students.
Amy Carter's trips to public school became "a pretty big circus" with photographers lying in wait, said Doug Wead, a former aide to President George H.W. Bush and author of "All the President's Children."
Bill and Hillary Clinton took the advice of Jacqueline Kennedy to establish strict privacy for daughter Chelsea. In the Clinton era, aides would sometimes call publishers to keep stories about Chelsea under wraps, Wead said.
The national press has generally kept its distance: NBC's "Today" show crew left Sidwell Friends on Monday even before the girls arrived. Like other media outlets, NBC will allow the girls privacy except when they are appearing in public or there is a great public interest, as on Monday.
"What we tried to do was cover the story but be respectful and discreet about it," said Mark Whitaker, NBC's Washington bureau chief.
But gentlemen's agreements mean little when any child, school employee or curious onlooker can act as his own publishing house.
"It's a new age," Wead said. "Every word is worth money. It's currency. Every photograph is worth money. It'll take a lot of cooperation and the school year's a long time."
Ann Stock, who was social secretary in the Clinton White House, said she can't imagine fellow students causing problems online. "Kids are very protective of each other," she said.
"You're talking about a school environment and I generally think that once they start school they become family and friends with each other."
The Obama transition team, acknowledging public interest in the girls, posted photographs of the family getting ready for school on the photo sharing site Flick'r on Monday.
"There will be news stories about them no matter how careful and cooperative the media is and how careful the parents are. Something they say or do will become of great public interest and delight or controversy," Wead said.
How Sasha and Malia handle the media attention will depend in part on their parents.
"The children will look to their parents for clues: 'Are we victims here or are we having fun?'" Wead said. "It looks to me that they are communicating 'We're having fun,' so that will make a really big difference for the girls."

Is this really news? I mean it can't get worse than this can it MSNBC? Oh no it gets far worse. We have to show the nation what's for lunch over the next week. Is it just me or does this whole election feel like a giant red carpet event? I mean I keep waiting to hear that Tom Hanks is the new Secretary of Deffense, 50 Cent's Window shopper is the new national anthem, and Neal Pattrick Harris is the new Surgeon General (Doogie does rule though). I mean really people let's all forget the childrens schools getting bombed in Gaza and focus on what color ugly doll the little girl has tied to her backpack. And daddy soaks it up, I think that is what pisses me off the most. I mean I'm sure the man is a good dad. Being a father myself I know the look in a mans eyes when he loves his children but come on Mr. President! Call them out, make the media cockroaches allow your children the god given right of a normal childhood. Look at the Bush girls and see what happens when you let the vampires whore your kids. And as for America? Shame on you all. Turn off the slop that they call news, write the stations complaining. They are going to hide behind the fact that it is a possitive interest story. It isn't. Most stations were actually (sarcastically though it may be ) poking fun of these GRADE SCHOOLERS!!!! Let me say that again GRADE SCHOOLERS!!!! Leave them alone! We don't need to know if they like Hannah Montana, who they have a crush on, who their BFF is, what their favorite pizza topping is or which Jonas Brothers song is on their i-pods. Next we will have fucking SportCenter at their little league games. Tell you what America if you want to exploit an Obama girl then try the one I've posted below. Hell looks like she does a good enough job exploiting herself.

p.s. to Ms. Ettinger, If you need help with your exploitation I have both a video camera and an internet connection. Just sayin' we could make some bucks.

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