I’M OLD ENOUGH TO REMEMBER WHEN MAKING FUN OF OUR PRESIDENT’S DAUGHTER WOULD RUIN YOUR LIFE.
The morning after the uneventful pardoning, my news feed began blowing up with stories about a GOP hill staffer named Elizabeth Lauten, who worked for a backbencher congressman. She decided to criticize the Obama daughters on her Facebook page. Lauten attacked their fashion choices, writing in part, “Dear Sasha and Malia, I get you’re both in those awful teen years, but you’re a part of the First Family, try showing a little class. Rise to the occasion. Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar.”
Her post made the media world go apoplectic. It began a 72 hour outrage cycle. Lauten was called racist, bigoted and insensitive. The cultural zeitgeist would not be satisfied unless it received due punishment for the crime. Lauten was of course fired, even though she apologized the same day.
Her political career was ruined forever.
As I wrote at the time, “In a city where image is everything, this is about the worst thing that can happen to a person. To this day, Lauten has found it impossible to get re-hired in the public sector. The media got its scalp and the precedent was set: Do not attack a President’s children.”
Since then, the cultural paradigm has shifted.
Judging by CNN’s Brian Stelter, I’m not sure what the problem is:
Has it come this? I’m sorry, I thought this was America — are we not allowed to say “feckless” anymore? The “scooplet” is also a nice touch, since Stelter is being fed information by an affiliated network so that he can aid in their PR cleanup effort.