Sunday, December 28, 2008

Stalkerazzi: Is Obama The Next Princess Di?

Last week, a shirtless photo of President-elect Obama at his vacation digs in Hawaii made the media rounds. The pic and what it represents really rubbed me the wrong way. First of all, he wasn't posing like Vladimir Putin does with those "I Just Killed A Tiger With My Bare Hands" pinup calendaresque shots. He was walking around the backyard. It's more than a little Princess Diana-ish, and we saw how that went.

The picture felt like an invasion of privacy. Honestly, I don't need to see him shirtless. All of our lives would still be complete if we hadn't seen it. It didn't add anything substantial to the story. He's in shape. We get it. Move on. He's going to be the President of the United States so show some respect, for crying out loud.

It also made me think that if someone could get that close with a camera, what's to prevent a person like that from being a sniper sitting with a rifle? The public doesn't demand these photos. They only look because the media presents them.

From an article on Yahoo! News:

The media glare, the constant security appendage and the sheer production that has become a morning jog or a hankering for an ice cream cone – it’s been closing in on Barack Obama for some time.

Obama even took the unusual step Friday morning of leaving behind the pool of reporters assigned to follow him, taking his daughters to a nearby water park without them. It was a breach of longstanding protocol between presidents (or presidents-elect) and the media, that a gaggle of reporters representing television, print and wire services is with his motorcade at all times.

Then when reporters finally caught up with Obama at Koko Marina Paradise Deli and he acknowledged them for one of few times since arriving in Hawaii last Saturday, he sounded resigned.

After ordering a tuna melt on 12-grain bread, Obama approached reporters and placed his hand on the shoulder of pool reporter Philip Rucker of The Washington Post, who was scribbling away in his notebook.

But Obama seems to be struggling particularly hard, particularly early. Already, Obama no longer gets out for an impromptu lunch or a haircut. The barber he’s gone to for 15 years now comes to him, and he mostly orders out. Soon Obama likely will be forced to give up the BlackBerry he often kept attached to his hip during the campaign.

Bill Clinton grew frustrated that he couldn’t go out any time he wanted, and once went Christmas shopping without the pool. After he became president, George W. Bush stopped sending e-mails to his daughters because he didn't want the personal notes to become public one day.

For Obama, who received a Secret Service detail earlier than any presidential candidate since the practice began, the scrutiny is much more intense. The glare on his family is shaping up to be unprecedented, both because Obama assumes the presidency amid a 24-hour, Web-dominated media age where many traditional boundaries don’t exist and because of what he represents. He’s the first African-American to be elected president. At 47, he’s a young guy – as presidents go. He also has a youthful, attractive family that is social and active.

During the first week in Hawaii, Obama has had to deal with paparazzi waiting in the distance, photographing him shirtless outside his beachfront vacation home and later while spreading his grandmother’s ashes at the Pacific coast.
Just because you can take and publish the photo doesn't mean you should. We don't need to know what kind of sandwich he's ordering and the type of bread it's on. Honestly, the reporters think their job is way more important than it truly is if they are under the impression that what Obama had for lunch today is of any importance and a lack of noting it would constitute a dereliction of the job responsibilities.

To the photogs: You're in Hawaii. Get a life. Take your shot, go to the beach, and leave these folks alone.

To Obama: Note the networks that invade your privacy and refuse to call on them for the next few news conferences. They'll get the hint. No one is sacred. After all, look how President Shrub treated UPI's Helen Thomas (traditionally the first reporter called on for literally decades) after she asked some hard hitting questions — you know, the questions all of the journalist should have been asking in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.


Jodi said...

You are completely right about that. I'm actually quite scared for Obama. There are so many crazy people in this world. You are very right about a photographer being able to get the picture..what about a sniper. God forbid.

Marc said...

I wouldn't want to see photo like that either buddy. There are some things people just don't need to know. And the photo being taken at such close range is indeed a worry.