The Media’s Hypocrisy On Criticizing Politicians’ Families


Elizabeth Lauten
Elizabeth Lauten

by Julie on Politics

Republican Party staffer Elizabeth Lauten resigned from her post as communications director for Rep. Stephen Fincher of Tennessee after criticizing Malia and Sasha Obama on Facebook last week.

Lauten’s post took issue with the Obama girls’ behavior at the annual pardoning of the Thanksgiving turkey, saying that they were dressed like they wanted “a spot at the bar” and that they should have shown more “class”.

Lauten later issued a half-hearted apology, in which she admitted that she failed to consider how “hurtful” her words could be. The apology wasn’t enough, and yesterday she announced that she would be stepping down from her job.

bored girls

Lauten’s comments about Sasha and Malia were uncalled for and inappropriate. But some liberal commentators are taking things a step further, declaring that personal attacks like this are a trademark of the Republican Party. According to Hot Air, a guest on CNN claimed that Republicans are uniquely apt to attack their opponents’ families because Republicans in general tend to be angrier and more irrational.

This is a completely ridiculous. If anything, it is Democrats who routinely smear their enemies’ families with personal attacks.

Remember the way the Bush twins were treated? Jenna faced constant ridicule for simple mistakes like sticking her tongue out at the White House press corps and for tripping and falling at a college party, leading to allegations that she had a drinking problem. Saturday Night Live even did an entire sketch mocking the twins in 2004.

And what about the Bristol Palin? During the 2008 presidential campaign, the press even went so far as to speculate that Palin’s fifth child was in fact Bristol’s.

It’s not just cable news and The Daily Show that attack Republicans families. When John Roberts became a Supreme Court justice in 2005, the Washington Post ran an entire editorial criticizing the clothing of his four and five year old children.

Elizabeth Lauten was out of line in publicly criticizing the appearance and behavior of Sasha and Malia Obama. But she was merely following in the tradition of the media and the Democratic Party.