Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Drudge Report reportage

The Drudge Report is making merry with an offhand, joking comment that Michelle Obama made in an interview with NPR’s Cokie Roberts. Drudge links to this article, which quotes Mrs. Obama on life in the White House: “‘There are some prison elements to it,’ she joked. ‘But it’s a really nice prison.’”

See? It’s a joke.

The context, as given in the above article: “Roberts noted that Martha Washington, the first First Lady, also described living in the role as akin to being a state prisoner.” So the current First Lady wasn’t complaining: she was offering mild agreement, followed by a reminder that to live in the White House is to enjoy great privilege.

Louisa Adams, wife of John Quincy Adams, seems to have agree with Martha Washington, calling the White House “that dull and stately prison in which the sounds of mirth are seldom heard.” Harry Truman wrote of the White House that “This great white jail is a hell of a place in which to be alone.” There is nothing new about occupants of the White House thinking of the building as a prison — and with far greater seriousness than Mrs. Obama’s comment allows. You’d never know any of that from the Drudge Report, whose sole purpose is to suggest (as Drudge headlines often do) that Michelle Obama is an unhappy and ungrateful camper, or perhaps an Angry Black Woman.

[I still marvel that I got to meet Barack and Michelle Obama, back in 2004.]

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