The story of Malia Obama’s Mexican vacation reveals double standards and a noodle-spined media

Over the weekend, I got a link to a story about Malia Obama heading off to Mexico for vacation with 12 friends and 25 Secret Service agents.  The story is newsworthy because it implicates taxpayer concerns:  Malia is going to a nation that the State Department warns is dangerous, and Americans are footing the bill for the 25 federal employees who are necessary to offset that danger.  I know that these Secret Service agents are on the payroll regardless, but feeding and lodging them outside of Washington, D.C. becomes the taxpayers’ burden.  (In the same way, Obama’s little basketball jaunt with PM Cameron cost the taxpayers an extra $478,000 over the regular fixed costs in the “taking care of POTUS” budget.)

You’ll notice that I haven’t included the link to the story about Malia Obama’s trip.  That’s because, by the time I received the email with the link to the Malia vacation story, the great white-out had begun.  As I, and every other sentient web-using being had noticed, the story about Malia Obama was melting away as quickly as the wet Wicked Witch of the West.  Those of us trying to find a solid link for the story felt as if we were playing a bizarre version of whack-a-mole.  The links would pop up for a second, only to vanish again.

The big question, of course, was why?  Why is an apparently properly sourced story vanishing?  If it was false, one would expect White House push-back, with the news sources either denying the White House’s arguments or issuing apologies for their error.  A vanishing story, however, has been a first.  And now the truth has come out.  The White House told the news agencies that it’s not fair to report on the kids:

The White House has admitted to telling news agencies to pull stories on Malia Obama visiting the Mexico for spring break, Politico reports.

Kristina Schake, Communications Director to the First Lady, emailed Dylan Byers:

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. We have reminded outlets of this request in order to protect the privacy and security of these girls.

There are a couple of problems, however, with the White House’s reasoning and the media’s craven collapse.  First, as I noted in my opening paragraph, it is newsworthy that the White House has opted to impose on taxpayers the very real and high costs of sending the First Daughter to a nation that’s on the State Department’s own warning list (although the region in which Melia is now traveling is not specifically named in that list).

Second, the Obamas routinely trot out the kids to score political points.  The most recent example was the way President Obama used his daughters to justify calling Sandra Fluke to sympathize with her when Rush Limbaugh suggested that spending thousands of dollars on sex aids, and then expecting others to pay for them, suggested that Fluke is not a lady, in the old-fashioned sense of the word.  Bristol Palin sums it up nicely:

You don’t know my telephone number, but I hope your staff is busy trying to find it. Ever since you called Sandra Fluke after Rush Limbaugh called her a slut, I figured I might be next.  You explained to reporters you called her because you were thinking of your two daughters, Malia and Sasha.  After all, you didn’t want them to think it was okay for men to treat them that way:

“One of the things I want them to do as they get older is engage in issues they care about, even ones I may not agree with them on,” you said.  “I want them to be able to speak their mind in a civil and thoughtful way. And I don’t want them attacked or called horrible names because they’re being good citizens.”

Most political observers also thought it wasn’t a coincidence that Barack’s and Michelle’s 2011 Christmas card — the last one they’ll be sending out before the election — prominently features their two daughters.  This was a campaign photo and it made the daughters a prop.

I don’t mind that Obama is using his daughters politically.  Politicians do that all the time, and it’s no use pretending that the Obamas don’t have two daughters out there who make perfect photographic and rhetorical props.  What I do mind is that the White House gets to eat its cake and have it.  It announces to the press “We get to use the Obama girls when it’s good for us, but you don’t get to use the Obama girls when it’s bad for us.”  And the press, meekly, goes away.

Rather than collapsing spinelessly, the press, collectively, should have said, “Sorry, but this story is already out there, so you’ll have to deal with the security consequences of sending your daughter off to a dangerous country.  As for future stories, we won’t report on your daughters if you’ll stop using them to score political points.  As long as you keep them in the public eye, however, they’re fair game for honest reporting about their activities.”

I guess, though, that my dream of an upright and honest media is as much a fantasy as that melting Wicked Witch of the West.

UPDATE:  Welcome, Instapundit readers!  The pleasure is all mine.

UPDATE II:  Welcome readers from Michael  I’m delighted to have you visit.

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  • Danny Lemieux

    As someone posted elsewhere: what type of parents send their 13-year old girl on a spring break vacation to Mexico?

    Also, in other news, FLOTUS confirms that yes, it is South Side Chicago values (i.e., trashy, grabby, self-serving nouveau riche) values that define this White House. 

  • Gringo

    When the First Lady talks about imparting South Side of Chicago values to her children, does she realize that most of the country does not associate the South Side with  the Hyde Park enclave where the Obamas have lived, but with the entire  SOUTH SIDE, which overall is a crime-ridden hellhole?
     This link will work better. [took out a blank space]


    Double standards and green curtains, just follow the Yellow Brick Road for answers.

    I AM BO…. the Great and Powerful! Who are you? Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain! The Great BO has spoken!

    “Second, the Obamas routinely trot out the kids to score political points.”

    How many points do they get for Malia’s monogram MAO (Malia Ann)?  The trip to Mexico, to Spain, to Africa will give her passport bona fides and resume for the future. She is being groomed, just as her father was.

  • Libby

    We’ve heard for a while that the White House is quick to contact media folks when they are displeased with a story – the nasty calls, the demands for editing so that it is more sympathetic to Obama. The worst case being when Mika B.(Morning Joe) read aloud the WH rebuttal sent to her in the midst of an on-air discussion. However, this case of disappearing stories is especially disturbing. What’s next – having inconvenient images photoshopped to better reflect the desired ‘reality’ according to the White House? Will they be pressuring historians and biographers to present Obama’s presidency as they see it? Where do they draw the line?

  • Indigo Red

    While wring my story yesterday on the Malia trip at about 4:30PM PST, I had several open windows each with a different source and I saw them disappear before my eyes. The Blaze reports the stories beginning to vanish at 3PM EST I did capture two stories in full screen glory which can be seen here.

    The Mexican source, Milenio , is still up and says the bodyguard contingent is a mix of Secret Service and Marines. My post started as just fluff – “Thirteen year old Malia Ann Obama ( hey! that spells MAO!), is on Spring Break with 12 friends and 25 Secret Service agents (and Marines) in tow. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried to stop her with a Traveler’s Warning to Mexico. But, seriously, who listens to her?
    Meanwhile, American peasant kids will wrestle for Easter eggs on the White House lawn.” 

    It grew immediately. Not often one can be an eyewitness to a government crime of censorship and intimidation.  

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    from Reuters….

    MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A major 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck 120 miles east of Acapulco on Mexico’s Pacific coast, the U.S. Geological Survey said on Tuesday.
    The USGS located the epicenter of the quake at 15 miles east of Ometepec in Guerrero state at a depth of 10.9 miles.
    The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the inland earthquake would not generate a destructive widespread tsunami, but there was the possibility of some local tsunami effects.
    The quake was felt in Mexico City where buildings shook and office employees fled into the street, according to a Reuters witnesses. Cell phone lines were down and traffic snarled in the capital moments after the quake.
    No damage was reported in Oaxaca, near where the quake hit, according to local television.
    Earlier it had been reported at 7.9 magnitude and initially as 7.6 magnitude.

  • Indigo Red

    After denying the first First Daughter was even in Mexico, scrubbing the web, and pleading to leave the kids alone, the White House released a statement that MAO is safe in Mexico and was never in any danger during today’s earthquake. But, please, leave the kids alone.


    The Reuters report only alluded to MAO (see post #7). “What a tangled web we weave …..”

  • schmuck281

    But you don’t understand. These are Obama’s children. Not Bush or Palin’s. It’s different.

  • 11sunflower

    I just read Bristol Palin’s blog post today about the phone call and I wish I could give that young woman a great big hug in person. The Baby Cub doesn’t wander far from the Momma Bear.  As for the obamas, does anyone have stats on where they vacationed when Pop was a senator and community organizer??  Did they bop out to Hawaii once a year? Fly to resorts to snow ski? Travel to New England for vacations? Nothing in obama’s character shows sensitivity to the difficulties out here in the “John and Jane Doe” world right now, nothing.

  • Michael Adams

    This brings to mind, as if I had not thought of it for a day or so, that every time any Republican tries to bring some responsibility to the process of writing a budget, the wailing and gnashing of teeth begin, about how “the rich need to pay more to take care of the poor.”  Poor, like Michelle, with her multi-million dollar vacations, Barry, flying on a separate plane, Solyndra, half a billion, and so on, for a cast of thousands. How long are people going to believe his s**t tastes like ice cream, asking only for a spoon?


    Barack Obama’s two years in the Senate have taken him around the world, from Russia to Iraq to Kenya — an itinerary more costly to taxpayers than any other senator who took office with him.
    The Illinois Democrat’s travels in 2005 and 2006 cost taxpayers nearly $28,000 as he studied nuclear proliferation, AIDS, Middle Eastern violence and more.
    Eight other freshman senators took office in 2005, and about $19,200 was the most anyone spent for government-paid travel, according to reports filed with the Senate Office of Public Records.

        Obama rated big spender for travel as novice senator

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  • Ymarsakar

     Where do they draw the line?

    Nowhere will it be drawn. People, no matter what side of the political aisle they are on, don’t have the stomach for this fight. Not any more. 

  • Ymarsakar

    The word “Maou” means devil or demon lord in japan and it also refers to Chairman Mao, the great Chinese traitor and purger of Ancient Chinese knowledge.

     Whichever one you choose, it fits the Left.

  • Mike Devx

    Double standards, but of course!

    Rush Limbaugh, a political entertainer, takes a call from Sandra Fluke and uses one negative word, “slut”.  The liberal world goes CRAZY.

    Bill Maher, a political entertainer, says, “Bristol Palin, she got f*!&*ed so hard, a baby fell out.”  He said that, and many, many other things.

    Which statement is clearly, obviously more hateful towards women?

    What kind of a person would consistently refer to a woman as a c*nt?  In public.  On stage.  On the web.  Many liberals, even feminists, refer to Sarah Palin that way.  I repeat: What kind of a person would do that?

    I certainly call Nancy Pelosi a lot of names.  But I would never use that kind of language to describe how offensive she is to me.  I think that language is deeply disrespectful to all women, and I’d be disrespecting my sisters and mother if I used them the way liberals use them all the time.

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  • garbear

    Oh hell blame it on Bush .It’s all his fault