A case study in context

If you read conservative blogs, you may have read over the weekend that First Lady Michelle Obama told CNN, “[F]ortunately we have help from the media.” This, naturally, generated some apoplexy from Drudge and others, using the phrase as proof of a “liberal” media.

And since this seemed to make the rounds fairly quickly, and will probably be used as the basis for a chain email arriving in your inbox soon, it’s probably worth taking a moment to set the record straight. Chelsea Rudman highlighted the context of the Obama quote, which should effectively end the issue.

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The long view, obviously, the bigger picture is what you’re talking about. You’re going on safari here. When you go back home, you’re going to walk into also a pretty dangerous environment, a political presidential campaign, a new presidential campaign. How is the family ready for this? It’s going to be quite vicious, isn’t it? How do you prepare for that?

M. OBAMA: You know, it’s — we’re — we’re ready. You know, our children, you know, could care less about what we’re doing. We work hard to do that. And…

CURNOW: How do you do it?

M. OBAMA: Well, we — fortunately we have help from the media. And I — I have to say this, that I’m very grateful for the support and kindness that we’ve gotten, and people have respected their privacy. And in that way, I think, you know, no matter what people may feel about my husband’s policies or what have you, they care about children. And that’s been good — good to see.

The “help from the media” was in reference to protecting the Obama children. Responsible media outlets have considered the girls off limits — as news organizations did with other recent First Families — and Michelle Obama seems to appreciate it.

That’s the whole story.

When your annoying uncle announces at the 4th of July family get-together that the First Lady “admitted” that the media “helps” the Obamas, gently remind him that’s not even close to what happened.

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