Sigh: The Media Still Thinks the Obamas Are Celebrities

Cortney O'Brien

11/23/2013 2:40:00 PM - Cortney O'Brien

Scrolling through a recent issue of Us Weekly, I couldn’t help noticing a page entitled, “Stars: They’re Just Like Us.” It included pictures of former fashion model Brandi Glanville doing yoga (“They Exercise Outside!”), singer Christina Milian bonding with her daughter (“They Let Their Kids Help!”)…and President Obama volunteering at Martha’s Table in Washington, DC (“They Make Sandwiches!”)

One of these things is not like the others.

Since Obama became president of the United States, the media has acted more like paparazzi than journalists. Before Us Weekly was fawning over the president's sandwich-making skills, the magazine published a flowery piece on Obama the day before the presidential election last year after asking him to reveal “25 Things You Don’t Know About Me.” His answers included, “23. When I work out, I like to listen to Jay-Z, Stevie Wonder and the Rolling Stones on my iPod.” The editors made sure to include the following note: (Us also asked Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, 65, to submit a "25 Things" list, but he declined.)

Yeah, maybe that’s because he was too busy trying to act presidential.

And, who can forget those shirtless pictures of Obama on the beach back in 2009? The New York Post cleverly said the president-elect was “Fit for Office,” and called him a “Hawaii Hunk.”

If you think President Obama is the only inhabitant of the White House treated like an A-lister, you obviously haven’t been reading the tabloids lately. The First Lady has graced more than her share of headlines.

The BET show “106 & Park” interviewed Mrs. Obama this week and, as is the common trend, the interviewers didn’t grill her on policy decisions, but asked her about her “biggest fashion regret.”

“Sometimes I forget I'm the First Lady and I'm like running around in shorts. I know the first time we went on a family vacation I had shorts on getting off of Air Force One and that created a huge stink because people were like, ‘She's wearing shorts getting off of Air Force One.’ And I thought, ‘we're on vacation.’”

The hosts then asked her to explain another in depth issue – her first date with the president.

“He took me to an art museum, and then he was talking Picasso – so he showed me his little cultural side. And then we went for a long walk and we went to see the opening of Do the Right Thing, Spike Lee. So he showed me his swag side.”

The First Lady’s retelling of their first date left the Today show cast gushing over the details.

But that's not all. The celebritizing of the Obamas continues on The Hollywood Life website, where a search of their last name produces a list of significant stories:

“Michelle Obama Shows Off Wispy Ombre Bangs & Highlights,” ”Obama Family Adopted Dog to Ease Empty Nest When Girls Aren’t Home,” and the ever-important “Michelle Obama Recycles a Dress Four Years Later for Church Services.”

When the media is not busy reporting on Mrs. Obama’s fashion or the president’s pectorals, they are inviting them on to talk shows. Here’s just a sampling.

Former President George W. Bush, like Obama, is now having fun on the late-night circuit. The difference? He’s done his duty. He’s served our country and is now serving up a few laughs. His feature in People magazine during his presidency seems to slip my mind.

We have (or are supposed to have) leaders in the White House, not Hollywood stars. With all of the issues facing us today, maybe media outlets will finally start to cover them as much as the Obamas’ personal life. But that is about as easy to guess as the First Lady’s next hairstyle.