There is an unwritten rule among journalists that Presidential children are out-of-bounds, especially information about their travels. Or at least there was before Barack Obama became president. Until 2009, when he took office and brought his two young girls to live in the White House, the Beltway media had followed this rule. It’s not just courtesy, it’s a question of security. According to Pail Farhi of The Washington Post, this is the informal agreement:
“Presidential administrations have long been protective of the first family’s minor children, and reporters in Washington have mostly observed the taboo on stories or photographs of them outside official and semi-official events. The ban on such coverage has existed through many administrations by informal agreement with the White House Correspondents’ Association, which represents the interests of journalists who cover the president.”
But Matt Boyle of Breitbart.com violated that rule Monday when he reported that “a source” had tipped off the website about Sasha and Malia Obama’s spring vacation plans. Subsequent reports in the form of Tweets from other guests confirmed that the girls were at an unnamed resort.
And why did Boyle think it was okay to reveal where the President’s daughters were vacationing? So he could bitch about how much it cost, of course. Because no other First Family has ever done anything that cost taxpayers anything. Nope, not ever. Except when they did.
There were similar bouts of whining when foreign reporters found Malia Obama on her spring break trip to Mexico, in March of 2012. But they deleted those stories when the First Lady politely asked them to do so. Politico, who had picked up on the stories, also complied with Mrs. Obama’s requests to remove the information from their website. At that time, Mrs. Obama’s communication director released this statement:
“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.”
This double standard is beyond partisan. And, in this case, it’s downright dangerous. But people (I can’t call them ‘journalists’) like those who write for Breitbart could care less about that as long as they can get in an attack on the President or his family. They love to stir up ill-will towards President Obama, so much that they will extend their hatred to his children. That’s pretty damned despicable. Though the Secret Service reply to questions from Boyle about where the Obama girls are brings the usual, “We can neither confirm nor deny…,” you can bet they are not ignoring him.