Obamas Keep Celeb Media on Short Leash

Obamas polish image through careful offering to celebrity mags
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2009 9:48 AM CDT
Obamas Keep Celeb Media on Short Leash
First lady Michelle Obama holds family dog Bo as President Obama and daughter Malia watch on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, April 14, 2009.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

As the nation gets to know the first family, it may seem as if we're watching "a reality show set on the glorified soundstage at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.," the Los Angeles Times reports, but what we're seeing is in fact a meticulously crafted image. Information about the Obamas is being strictly managed to bolster the president's popularity and keep the paparazzi at bay. Photos, interviews, and glimpses of White House life are systematically parceled out to celebrity news outlets, who in turn agree to not publish any unauthorized snaps.

Obama has taken engagement with celebrity outlets to a new level, analysts say, out of a desire to show the family as ordinary Americans and to appease intense public interest. The coverage—largely guided by Michelle Obama's office—appears to be working, with the president continuing to enjoy strong support and the first lady's popularity ratings, once dismal, now higher than her husband's.
(More Obama family stories.)

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