the obamas*It was only a matter of time before the enshrined celebrity tabloid obsession would ensnare the Obama family. They have been ripe for the pickings of a media that for the past two decades has successfully parlayed gossip, innuendo, rumor, half-truths and outright lies into a hugely profitable growth industry.

New York Times correspondent Jodi Kantor put the capper on the media industry’s swap in kinky titillation by bagging a reported seven-figure deal to write a juicy tell all book about the president and her special target, First Lady Michelle Obama. The White House lightly pushed back against the gossipy tripe with a carefully guarded statement that blew off the book’s revelations as “old news.”

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This won’t stop the tongues from wagging about it as if the gossip from the dozens of the unnamed sources cited on the purported inner workings of the White House is the paragon of truth and accuracy. It’s another case of flim-flamming the public into taking a voyeuristic look into the alleged squabbles, fights, bickering, and confusion, with a strong hint of dysfunctionality that supposedly reigns between the president, Michelle and staff members. The cover to sell the tabloid hit-job on the Obamas is that the alleged personal foibles and quirks of the Obamas in some way has some bearing on the weighty matters of politics and public policy. But that’s what the book tries to do. It ridicules a Halloween party in which Michelle wore a leopard-print sweater, cat ears and sparkly eye makeup.

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This supposedly is a prime example of extravagance, frivolity, and plain goofiness that supposedly goes on behind the White House doors. The proof of this is that Obama supposedly hid the party from the press and the public. They didn’t. The press corps were invited, and the party was for the children of military personnel. What does this or any of the other gossipy tales about the Obamas have to do with administration policy and decision-making about job creation, deficit reduction, immigration reform, the war on terrorism, the Afghan war, the European debt crisis, environmental and labor protections, and transportation polices, is anybody’s guess.

Read the rest of this essay at Huffington Post.

earl ofari hutchinsonEarl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is the author of How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is host of the weekly Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour heard weekly on the nationally network broadcast Hutchinson Newsmaker Network.

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