We present to you… Michelle Obama's legs. (gasp!) Tired of discussing healthcare and mired in the dog days of summer slow news cycle, the mainstream media spent ridiculous amounts of time discussing Mrs. Obama's apparel while visiting the Grand Canyon. Umpteenth call-in shows, viewers' polls and candid interviews later we discovered… nobody gave a damn. From Associated Press:
When Anya Strzemien, style editor at The Huffington Post, saw Obama's shorts, she knew there would be interest.
"I thought the fact that she wore shorts was newsworthy because she's the first first lady to wear shorts on Air Force One," Strzemien said. "I was interested as a newsperson because it was a first. A lot of things the Obamas have done have been firsts."
She posted a poll for readers to explain what they thought: Most were in favor of the outfit, but others thought the shorts were inappropriate or too short.
NBC's "Today" show poll had similar results with a whopping 300,000 people responding to the vote. The blog post was the show's most commented-on of 2009, said Dee Dee Thomas, a "Today" senior producer.
"People love talking about Michelle Obama," Thomas said. "She's pushing the envelope on how we see the first lady."
And it's clear the media loves talking about Michelle Obama, too. Many news outlets rallied to the first lady's defense, noting that she was on vacation when she wore the shorts over the weekend, in sweltering desert heat.
"What should she have worn to the Grand Canyon? A tweed pantsuit? A ballgown? What do you wear on your summer vacation?" asked Elizabeth Snead of the Los Angeles Times.
But others wondered from whom, exactly, the media was defending the first lady.
"Everyone is up in arms — if by 'everyone' you mean no one, or rather a large, shadow-y group of no ones," Kate Dailey wrote for Newsweek. "August is a slow news month, and covering people who are actually shocked and outraged about health care can only fill so many minutes in the Twitterfied news cycle."
True, there were critics online, as there tend to be.
"Why not wear linen pants ... more tasteful," Charlie Smith, of Montgomery, Ala., wrote on the "Today" site. "She may have been on vacation ... but she should respect the Office of the President and the USA."
But it was clear most responses fell firmly on the side of shorts.
"First Lady Michelle Obama looks great in her shorts and it shouldn't even be a news worthy issue ... Leave her alone," wrote Joann Begonja, of North Bellmore, N.Y.
"Get a grip folks — these aren't 'Daisy Duke' shorts," echoed John Johnson of Dover, Ohio. "Looks O.K. to me and I am NOT an Obama fan by any stretch of the imagination!"
Mrs. Obama's office had no comment on the matter.
Thomas, the "Today" producer, said she wasn't surprised by the support for the outfit.
"I would be surprised to hear of any woman in her 40s who has not worn shorts," she said. "She's a mother of two tweens on vacation in the hottest place in the country."
Mary Tomer, founder of the New York City-based blog Mrs-O.org, which chronicles Mrs. Obama's style, said the brouhaha over her legs is media-created.
"From what I can tell most people are wondering how this became major news," Tomer said. "Who doesn't wear shorts while hiking in the Grand Canyon in mid-August with your family?"
Wearing shorts is disrespectful of the Office of the President? But starting a war to jack some oil isn't? Lying out of both sides of your face (daily) was fine because even though G-Dub was a liar, traitor and a cheat, at least his wife never wore a sheath dress to any of his speeches? Don't get me started.
Here's what I know… no one wanted to see Laura, Barbara, or Hillary in shorts so we thank them for their discretion. If Michelle rocks a tankini on Martha's Vineyard, all hell will break loose. Comment as you will...